But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” –1 Peter 1:15-16
Let’s gather up all the members of our church. The ones who come every Sunday and the ones who stay home. Let’s all get together and line up in a straight line.
Line up! In order from most holy to least holy!
Now clearly, Margaret should be the most holy. She’s made cookies for everyone in the hospital for the past 50 years. After that, we should put Jason in. He’s 15 years old, and he never gets in trouble. He sings in the adult choir and speaks up in Sunday School, and he’s even nice to his younger sisters.
There will be arguments, and some contentious voting, about who goes where. Who is the most holy? Is it the church member who has the most scripture memorized, or the one out in the community, loving their neighbor? One way or another, we’ll figure it out.
As we near the end of the line, there’s some predictable grumbling. Nobody wants to be thought of as less holy than everybody else. Just the same, we assign numbers for all folks in line, including ourselves. You got #234. I got a more respectable #211. If you’d like any tips on how to be a little bit holier, just ask me.
As we look up towards Margaret and Jason in front, we see them waving their number cards at the rest of us. It takes a moment to see that Jason’s number is a #3, and Margaret carries a #2.
Wait–where is #1?
#19 has some high powered binoculars. Looking far in the distance past Margaret, she sees the vaguest dot of a figure. #4 and #26 are long distant runners, so they volunteer to scout ahead.
They return, out of breath, with some news you’ve already guessed. #1, the Most Holy of all, is Jesus. His holiness is so far beyond every one of us that the numbers we carry seem silly. When it comes to being holy, we’re all at the back of the pack, together.
#310, last in line, throws down his number, and begins to walk toward Jesus. “I’ve got a long way to go. Who’s with me?”
And so, we all head towards Jesus. Little groups made up all kinds of numbers. Different paces, different obstacles, but one communal goal: Not to be holier than the folks next in line to us.
Just to be holier.
Have a great week,