‘Be just and fair to all. Do what is right and good, for I am coming soon to rescue you and display my righteousness amongst you’…since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, so their descendants will be holy – just as the entire batch of dough is holy because a portion of it was given as an offering. For is the roots of a tree are holy, the branches will be too.’Isaiah 65:1…Romans 11:16
What is the true spiritual journey? Well, if these last few years are anything to go by, it’s complicated; although I’m sure actually it’s very simple if I ever truly get to understand it. Christlikeness.
There is this great children’s book by Quentin Blake called ‘Mrs Armitage, Queen of the Road’. Mrs A gets given a car by her uncle, who is off on a crazy adventure to become a biker. Initially she is very pleased with her gift, however after a great many mishaps, gradually bits of the car are knocked off. After each mishap, instead of mourning the loss of the bumpers, doors, wings etc, she simply says to her faithful dog Brakespear, ‘we didn’t need it anyway’, until she is simply left with the chassis. She then meets up with her uncle and his biker friends, driving this complete wreck. However, instead of it being seen as a wreck, they actually applaud it’s fine, bike-like’ lines and off she goes with them into the sunset. Clearly, she wasn’t actually the ‘sensible car’ type of woman that both her and her uncle had mistaken her for, but a wild, carefree biker…..’Queen of the Road! Mrs Armitage has simply found her true self.
For many years I’ve wrestled to find a definition of holiness that is meaningful to my life; holiness often seems so distant doesn’t it? We are often presented with two opposing thoughts. One says that perfection is a distant dream, a project of the fullness of time that we can only attain to, but simply cannot truly grasp in this life. The other, that because we are ‘made holy’, we can almost deny our sinful nature and its faults, and simply enjoy the spiritual truth of who we have become spiritually. The first is a bit depressing, the second perhaps lacking authenticity and out of touch with our humanity.
And yet, what if I’ve simply been missing the point altogether. Whilst sat chatting about this the other evening to someone that has become a good friend to Nicole and I down here, a penny dropped. The book-ends of our spiritual life could be defined as the moment at which we were made in his image on the one hand, and the moment that we fully return to it on the other. And yet, the image of our personal creation is not one of a bearded Jewish Rabbi dressed in a linen smock; it is me.
Walking into my destiny then becomes far less about what I do, and far more about who I become. For it is the real me that has been fashioned for his purpose, and he made no mistake in creating me. Therefore holiness becomes far less about my behaviour (although that’s important of course), and far more about becoming the perfect version of myself, the point at which my humanity transfigures into the divinity that I share as I partake in his divine nature; as me. Finding our true selves therefore becomes the route to finding his purpose for our lives, as anything else will simply be a reflection of the purposes of those around us. The inner journey, therefore, becomes the only journey that will lead us into the spacious place of being free to simply being ourselves. Being ourselves then becomes the most powerful way that we can reflect his holiness….and we all become Kings and Queens of the Road.