(The response to God's call...)
"Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sin."
"The basis of separation is the seeing of what God requires, the seeing of what God is after. If a man is not clear about God's requirement, he will have no separation."
"He delivered us and saved us and called us with a calling in itself holy and leading to holiness, a life of consecration, a vocation of holiness which was given in Christ Jesus before the world began."
2 Timothy 1:9
"You are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the people to be Mine."
"For God's people in the Old Testament separation came to be not so much an external set of laws that one 'obeyed' but an entire way of living, which one guarded or kept. The Law structured life, it thereby also structured space and time. We will have a surer sense of the lived experience of the Law if we try to imagine these dimensions as ancient Jews did.
Space was understood to be ordered along a gradient of holiness with less holy as the world beyond territorial Israel, (the Diaspora); more holy, the land of Israel; still more holy, the city of Jerusalem; and within the city, graduated zones of holiness order -- the temple mount from the least holy (the court of the Gentiles) to the most holy (the Holy of Holies) where only the chosen priest could enter and that only once a year. Holiness for the Jewish people was a system, not an abstraction; it was the measure of separation from the common, of being apart for God."
"Does it seem but a small thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel to bring you near to Himself...?"
Numbers 16:9, 10
Does it seem a small thing to us? Are we paying attention? And what is He separating us from and how are we separated? For us, too, holiness must not be an abstraction; it is "the measure of separation from the common, of being set apart for God." It is a sacred space within us, within our minds, our hearts, our spirits, where God is King; He speaks, we believe; He commands, we obey; He calls, we separate and come out; He disciplines, we endure with thanksgiving; He reprimands, we repent and change. Then, it is that space within the reach of our arm, the space that encompasses our lives in the world (in the world but not of the world), a sphere we also set apart for God. Here, too, His will is our command -- His will is done (on earth as it is in heaven). And His kingdom comes on earth in that space that belongs to us.