Transmitting holiness?

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Ezekiel 44:1-45:12; Psalm 64:1-10

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Ezekiel 44:19 (ESV)
And when they go out into the outer court to the people, they shall put off the garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers. And they shall put on other garments, lest they transmit holiness to the people with their garments.

This is an interesting instruction for the priests. Or rather, an interesting reason for the instruction to change out of their holy robes, lest the holiness gets transmitted somehow to the common people. Commentators have varying views on this. One thinks that many people would want to touch the priests, which could become very chaotic. Another commented that if the holiness of the priests’ garments were transmitted onto the people’s garments, then the latter’s clothes would have to be confiscated for holy use! While we don’t know the exact reasons for this command, what is clear is that there is a distinction between what is holy, and what is not.

Today, pastors don’t have one set of clothes for conducting the worship service, and another for meeting the people afterwards (phew!). In fact, all Christians are now the priesthood of believers (1 Peter 2:9). What we wear today are “holy” not because they were sprinkled with holy water, but because we who wear them are vessels of the Holy Spirit. Holiness was never meant to be skin deep, but a transformation of our hearts. Today, we don’t transmit holiness by passing around holy items. Rather, we do so through pure words, and blameless lives. Yes, by all means, infect the world with your holiness!!

Lord, make me holy, as You are Holy!!

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