We are just over half way in the journey to Easter. It feels to me that Easter Sunday is approaching very quickly. I was thinking this morning about how quickly it really will be here and how I want to be ready to experience as full and exciting as a celebration as possible when Easter does finally arrive. Today’s passage is helping me in preparing.
I think to fully experience the joy and the excitement of Easter, I must first sense the gravity of my sin and the greatness of God’s grace. This is what Paul is after in Ephesians 2:1-10. I would encourage you not to just read through the passage, but to linger in it… allow it to focus your heart on who we are, who God is, and who God desires us to be.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Sunday in children’s church we read a passage from Isaiah 6. After reading the passage and trying to imagine Isaiah’s vision, we had a conversation about holiness…. Isaiah saw God and encountered His holiness. When he did, he realized he did not stand a chance at remaining near God- he was so unholy. But he was not left that way. God had him purified. God desired not to destroy him because of being sinful, but God desired to make (and made) him holy. And when Isaiah was made holy, he could then respond to God.
This last week the theme through the Lent readings was holiness. Here are a few things that stood out to me. First, God is holy and I do not recognize this as much as I should. God’s holiness should be an overwhelming, awe inspiring realization… as it was for Isaiah. Second, I am very, very far from holy…. yet God desires to make me holy that I might be drawn near. God is not out to destroy me, but to make me holy that I might be a true worshiper. And this was my final thought as I thought as I reflected on the week, this is a journey. Just as I keep thinking of Lent as a journey towards something (Easter), every day is part of my journey towards holiness. Every day I am hoping to be overwhelmed more by God’s holiness; to realize my own lack of holiness; and to be made more holy by the One who desires to draw me near. It’s all part of a journey. And it’s an amazing journey.
“What a contrast between God’s character and ours! While human beings are disobedient and rebellious, God is gracious, merciful, and loving.” –Yusufu Turaki (Nigeria)
Great and holy God
awe and reverence
fear and trembling
do not come easily to us
for we are not
Old Testament Jews
or sensitive enough.
for slouching into Your presence
with little expectation
and less awe
than we would eagerly give a visiting dignitary.
neither Jehovah nor a buddy-
neither “the Great and Powerful Oz” nor “the man upstairs.”
to want what we need…
and may the alter of our hearts
tremble with delight
I really like music. I like listening to all kinds of music and I like when I can make music. I just really like music.
I think one of the things I like so much is how powerful words seem to become when they are pared with music. There is just something about the combination of melody and lyric. I think there was a day and age when poetry did what song does for us now. I believe in our time, our poetry is our song. So here is a song that just moves me to the core.
The first time I heard it, I was forced to stop. The words totally caught me. What made me stop was this thought: I spend a lot of time focused on God’s love (which is a really, really good thing), but I spend very little time amazed by the holiness of God. If I begin to bask in the holiness of God, though, the God’s love becomes even more amazing…. But do I really allow the reality of God’s holiness to wash over me? What about you? What do you think?….