A Holy Nation
We will in our lives from time-to-time experience what I will describe as a call. A clear sense of direction of who we are and where we are supposed to be. External and internal sources will affirm this sense of call or belonging. It helps us know who we are and will further shape our lives. We might experience this sense of call in our family, with our work, and in our faith journey.
In our passage from Exodus God is calling the people to be Holy. The passage is one that could easily be missed it’s located right between two major narratives in Exodus. The escape and flight from Egypt, the parting of the read sea and the giving of the law. It’s been a long time since I watched the Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston, but I’m not sure how much attention this passage is given. Yet, I believe it is pivotal to who we are as people of faith, as individuals who view ourselves as holy.
The people in our reading from Exodus have been rescued and received salvation, but they haven’t yet received the law. It represents a moment in time for the people to understand who they are as people loved by God. That is the present moment that we find ourselves in.
Now perhaps you’ve never thought about it that way or never considered yourself holy. Religious perhaps, faithful, believing, but not holy? That’s other people. But here we are, a holy nation, a royal priesthood. As followers of Christ, we inherit these traits. Kristin Wendland reminds us that these words are addressed to specific people in a specific situation. However, they offer us a guide or a sense of how God operates. About God’s care and promise to us. It opens up the discussion for us as a community of faith about our past, present, and future. Perhaps the challenge for us is to think about how we are a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. How do we demonstrate our faith, how do we show God’s love in the world?
This passage becomes a call to our past, present, and future.
Our past a reminder of what God has done for the people. Saving them from the Egyptians. God was with them. What are the instances and times that God has been there for us as our ever present comfort.
The present moment recalls the past rescue from Egypt, even as they move toward their new future. (Kristin Wendland) It’s important then to be well grounded in the present, with each footfall we step out of the past, into the present, and further still to the future.
The future is where we find continued promise. That God will continue to be with the people. That God will keep the covenant. God didn’t just bring the people out of Egypt, but God brings them to God’s own self. God names the people as being a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.
The past, present, and future all hold reminders of God’s love and care for us. An invitation to be holy people. Not just on Sunday morning, or during the quiet time of a devotional, but during all times.
Richard Rohr writes, “Almost every religion’s history begins with one massive misperception; namely, making a fatal distinction between the sacred and the profane. Religions often put all their emphasis on creating sacred places, sacred time, and sacred actions. While I fully appreciate the need for this, it unfortunately leaves most of life ‘un-sacred’.” (Richard Rohr – https://cac.org/daily-meditations/all-life-is-sacred-2023-06-12/)
This hour we find ourselves in is one we have set aside as sacred. The hour of worship, when we give glory and honour to God. This makes sense, but Rohr is writing about how in setting time apart we forget that all time is sacred. As people of faith, who are a holy people, all time is sacred. Every moment, every action, every space, and all time is sacred. The death of Christ on the cross reconciles us to God and makes all time sacred.
We probably don’t think of all time as sacred. As modern Christians we are good at compartmentalizing our lives. Just think of what your calendar looks like with any meetings or social occasions you are attending. Perhaps we even colour code what things look like. I do that, red is for worship, blue is for meetings, green is for study and so on. But we aren’t to live that way. We don’t hide the light of Christ away so that people can’t see it. All time and space is sacred.
To take it a step further how we show who God is in the world is an important one. As followers of Christ, we aren’t called to compartmentalize our lives. We aren’t just Christians or living out our faith on Sunday morning. This time we set apart for worship isn’t the only time that is holy during the week. If we believe that Jesus died to reconcile creation to God, then all time, all space is Holy.
How do we demonstrate God’s love for us to the world? How do we acknowledge that all time is sacred? Paul, in his letter to the Romans, gives us perhaps the most concise statement of faith we could ever need. “But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Further, Paul tells us to boast or rejoice in both our hope and suffering. That through all of this Christ is revealed in us and through us to the world.
This is good news that we can share with the world. This is good news that we need to hear, over and over again. That God loves us so much, that Christ died for us. That God took on all the pain and suffering in order to demonstrate a better way. We rejoice in that new and better way that is built on the foundations of grace, mercy, and love.
If all space and if all time is sacred, then at all times let our love for one another prevail.
Thanks be to God, for taking us as Gods own and loving us so. Amen.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cobourg is part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The congregation was established in 1833 and continues to serve the community.
St. Andrew’s supports the gathering of community agencies, providing space for the Affordable Housing Committee. Rev. Ellis’ voice is key in advocating for improvements in awareness, empathy and action on key determinants such as housing, income and food security.
Donate to St. Andrew's
Thank you for visiting St. Andrew’s. It’s our prayer that this sermon was helpful to your walk of faith. We would ask you to prayerful consider donating to the mission of St. Andrew’s. You can make an online donation through our website.