Holiness is a deeply beautiful thing. Awareness of holiness distinguishes the sactuary in many churches from a mere stage in others. Holiness is sometimes reduced to being separate. But separate from what? From from hatred, from malice, from greed, from factions, from any number of other stains on our souls that trouble us. But separation from everything leaves nothing; there is more to holiness than that. Holiness in Scripture is often associated with beauty, and in the presence especially of nature's beauty we may more commonly feel the sense of holiness. Holiness is quiet, awe-inspiring, purifying.When in the presence of the holy, we have a natural tendency to reverence. A certain kind of separation makes space for better things, clears away the hardness in our hearts, prepares the way for the Lord. "Let every heart prepare him room."
A profane culture is a desert. There is a promotion of hatred, greed, lust, malice, factions, envy, discord, strife. "Irreverence" is seen as a virtue, used as a praise-word. Anger is used as a substitute for righteousness. I have even met people who defend hatred. (They do not profess to be Christians.) The public square is a wasteland, and the culture war has gone scorched-earth.
Even now I believe there are many who would prefer another way. A fast from hatred, a fast from greed, abstaining from malice or divisions. Offering a kind word to a neighbor.
I have listened to many people who have a feeling that the divisions among us -- simmering for many years -- are at risk of coming to a sudden catastrophe (not of the natural variety). For things to get worse, neighbor would have to turn on neighbor, friend against friend, family against family. But haven't we already? Before the match drops, may we take a moment to remember our neighbors, our friends, our families. If our generation is the one that sees the next earth-shaking event, and if we want to get through this together, mending our bridges may be a priority. (And looking down on each other doesn't make us better; it makes us arrogant.)
I believe we share a thirst for holiness. All of us cry out for the world to be filled with better things, for peace and beauty and healing. May our prayers unite us.