Life in Community: The Way of Holiness

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 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 1:13-16 (NIV)

There is an assumption that to be holy, one must be alone or at least surrounded by other people who like to be alone. When we think of titles like “Holy man” or “Holy one,” images of quiet men in robes living on a mountain top come to mind. While I would never dismiss the discipline and dedication that is shown by that lifestyle, I am not sure that it is the pinnacle of holiness.

Jesus, The Holy One, was engaged and connected to those around Him. His moments of solitude and prayer are notable, but they were not where He stayed. His ministry is marked by movements from isolation to intervention; from stillness to action; from quietness to proclamation. It is obvious that Jesus did not need His time intervening, acting and proclaiming to spend time alone, but used His time of isolation, stillness and quietness to prepare for moments of engagement.

Our movements should follow the same pattern. Our solitude, silence and prayers with God inform and transform us to then move into the world. Holiness may be forged in the disciplines that set us apart to God, but it is expressed in the activities of community and fellowship. My daughter has been learning to pray regularly, read her devotions, seek God in quiet moments and learn what it is to be His child, but I want her to know that these are just doors to living a holy life with and among others. She needs to understand that to “Be still and know that I am God” needs to lead her to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19 NRSV)

2 responses to “Life in Community: The Way of Holiness”

  1. Chris, this is an excellent post. I am reminded of Mark’s comment in Mark 3:14, “He appointed twelve . . . that they might be with him and that he might send them out . . .” We need both to be “with him” and “sent out by him” if we are going to be his disciples; or to use language closer to your post, we must have holy moments alone with him and holy moments engaged with others. Thanks, Tim.

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