• Pastor Nancy Raabe

Holiness


June 1, 2020


Strive for peace with all people, and for the holiness without which no one will see God. (Hebrews 12:14) When I ponder this verse, the first stanza of my favorite Advent hymn springs to mind: "O Lord, how shall I meet you, how welcome you aright? Your people long to greet you, my hope, my heart's delight. Oh, kindle, Lord, most holy a lamp within my breast to do in spirit lowly all that may please you best." (ELW 241) Tens of thousands of people across the country protested peacefully last night. Snaked among them, the forces of evil were still on the loose, oblivious to the message of the protests and working only to destroy. It is heartening to read that awareness of these dark forces is growing, although much remains to be known about how these multiple acts of arson and wanton destruction are being coordinated and driven. The great Pentecost prayer begins, "Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful people and kindle in them the fire of your love." These words are especially poignant as we watch cars, buildings, entire apartment complexes -- those under construction since they are the most vulnerable -- go up in flames. What is the fire of God's love? It is the passionate desire for peace that comes through holiness. Each human being is created holy, made in God's image, knit together in the womb through God's impeccable workmanship (Psalm 139:13). The Holy Spirit beckons us daily to renew this awareness of our holiness. We could start each day with the words of "O Lord, How Shall I Meet You" and cycle each month through Paul Gerhardt's four stanzas. Every day is Advent--we are waiting, Lord! It is the nature of the life on earth that people are tempted by pride to turn away from God. Some do, forgetting their holiness. Satan is still on the loose, although Christians know the glorious "rest of the story." Even so, each human heart turned humbly toward God radiates holiness into the world. Strive for peace with all people, no matter what. May God in Christ through the Holy Spirit heal our broken world, Pastor Raabe

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