The title of my blog, “Blogitations on the Holy Life,” is meant to be a 21st century play on Jeremy Taylor’s, “Holy Living, Holy Dying,” from the 17th century. Reading Jeremy Taylor’s devotionals were crucial for me in my development as a person of prayer. Part of Taylor’s entire project is to give his readers the tools and wisdom needed to live a holy life and to die a holy death.
This isn’t a new concept in Christian practice. Indeed, it wasn’t even a novelty for Taylor in the 17th century. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'” And here again we see that the author of 1 Peter isn’t inventing the idea of holiness, but he is taking up the strain from Leviticus in which the people of God are called to be holy.
Let’s take a breather here. It would be awfully easy for us to read this passage and become overwhelmed by the nature of this exhortation. “I am supposed to be holy? How could I ever do that?” If you have your bible with you right now, I want you to take a pen and write “y’all” where it says “you.”
This exhortation is aimed at the body of believers, the Church, not solitary individuals. Together, as the Body of Christ, we are to become holy as Christ is holy. Through our common prayers, worship, and mission we are in the process of becoming the holy people of God. This isn’t something you can do on your own, so don’t try.
I am putting this into practice right now by praying through the Holy Comforter parish directory in addition to my prayers for the people of St. Alban’s. Sure, I don’t always know who I’m praying for, but I’m praying for holiness. That together, God will form us into the holy people of God.