Monday, March 16, 2009

Holiness & Love

In the modern world it seems so difficult to walk with absolute certainty in the narrow way of ecclesiastical decision and yet remain in the broad open spaces of the universal love of Christ, of the patience, mercy, and philanthropy of God for the weak and ungodly. Yet somehow or other we must combine the two, or else we shall follow the paths of men. -D. Bonhoeffer-

I went to visit an old friend last night at a bar in Tempe. As I sat there with a couple of my friends talking with him, I could not help but notice all of the other people there. So many different types of people. Some of them were calmly sitting & enjoying conversation. Others were already on the brink of having to crawl home from having too much to drink. It was in that moment I recognized what Bonhoeffer was talking about. I am called to live a life of holiness. "Be holy as I am holy" commands Peter quoting from Leviticus. I am called to a radical life of discipleship where my only drive is to live a life worthy of the calling of Christ. Yet in that pursuit of holiness I am simultaneously called to love people with every ounce of my ability. In fact the two are so intertwined that in order to do one I must do the other. Unfortunately, I think too often I try to approach life by aiming for just one of those, and end up accomplishing neither. Yet the call does not change or ease up just because I have difficulty in fulfilling it. I admire Christ so much for the having the ability to sit at Matthew's house, drink water at the well with the loose woman, and all of the other situations in which he was both pursuing His path of holiness while dispensing love and grace. He was able to live about reproach while never being accused of not loving 'sinners'. Would people say the same thing about me?