“You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God is holy.”
Well, that sounds simple enough.
I’ve read this line more than two dozen times over the past three days. I’ve read commentaries, I’ve pondered it, I’ve rolled it over and over in my mind, and only this morning did I realize that it didn’t say, “Be holy like I, the LORD your God is holy.” The bar is set high here in the opening verse of our Leviticus lesson this Sunday, but it isn’t quite as high as my pleaser personality is trying to make it.
What it doesn’t say is important. We aren’t called to be as holy as God, but rather to be holy because God is holy. As followers of the Son of God who are created in the image of God and imbued with the Spirit of Holiness, we are called to be holy, that is to say, set apart, just by our very nature. As we live into our identity, we necessarily become holy. It just happens as a result of getting closer to God. You know, the one who is wholly other, that is, holy.
It is a high bar, to be sure, but the good news is that God is walking with us.