Advent | Day 5
Thursday, December 1
- Psalms 18.1-20, 18.21-50
- Amos 4.6-13
- 2 Peter 3.11-18
- Matthew 21.33-46
There is a gospel song that says: “Holiness, holiness is what I long for. Holiness is what I need. Holiness is what You want for me.” The song projects the searching and longing for holiness as two-fold. It is something the individual desires. It is what God desires for humankind. Holiness is the making of that which is impure into something that is without blemish. It is the journey of taking that part of us or that element of our world and crafting an object that is pure. Holiness does not mean that the work is completed, but that the process of becoming like God is just that—a process.
In the epistle of 2 Peter, the author asks, “What sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness?” (v. 11) While addressing a community dealing with internal distress, the writer attempts to counter false teachings by encouraging believers to be holy. Since “the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and the heavens will pass away ” (v.10), people of faith were to live set apart from a tainted world. This did not mean that they were to escape the world, but they were not to succumb to its guile and hypocrisy.
People of faith today are to do the same. We must live a holy life in the middle of hostility. However, any attempt to do so is not easy. When people dare to measure each other according to quantitative guidelines and not quality of life and service, living a godly life is difficult. What gives us the right to measure or judge each other? When women and men try to thrive in antagonistic environments filled with deceit and duplicity, living a holy life is a challenge at best. When at every turn there are complications and those who are complicit in evil, the journey to being like the Creator is indeed arduous.
Yet, just as believers of the first century “waited for the coming of the day of God” (vs. 12), we wait. We wait for the baby born in Bethlehem to make right that which is wrong. We wait for the Savior to deliver us from all evil. We wait for the Light to come and shine where darkness dares to overtake us. Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder
Assistant Professor, School of Religion
You can access an online version of the 2011 Advent Guide (presented annually be Belmont’s School of Religion) at: http://issuu.com/office.communications/docs/2011_advent_guide#download