I have a crush on Real Live Preacher.
Oh, it’s not the kind of thing that would endanger my marriage or give RLP’s wife cause to be nervous if I were ever to visit their church. It’s the kind of crush you get when someone is smart, and good, and holy. It’s not so much that you have a romantic attraction---it’s that the person inspires you and makes you want to be a better person yourself. You can’t help but love someone who does that for you.
I’ve got a number of people like that in my life---though most are more “real” than RLP. There’s my friend, Prisca, who radiates the Holy Spirit. She’s only in her twenties, and I thought you had to be a lot older than that to be holy. But she prays a lot, and that probably explains everything.
Then there’s my grandmother, Katherine. If you looked up the word “selfless” in the dictionary, you’d probably find her picture. She’s never been much of a churchgoer, but if ever anyone embodied Jesus’ admonition to serve others, she does.
Lisa, the priest who brought me in to the Episcopal church, is another one. Lisa’s unwavering support for the marginalized in our church led me to believe that God could welcome me---weakest of all believers---back into the fold. I enjoyed just sitting in the same room with her, because she gave off these waves of love and peace.
My friend, Kelly, who is a single parent with a serious medical condition, can still find the time and energy to laugh and cry with people whose problems are much less serious than her own. And when you ask her how she’s doing, she always answers “Fabulous!” because she has decided that every day she wakes up is a good one.
None of these people would describe themselves as holy, and the ones I know in real life would scoff at the label. I'm pretty sure RLP would too. But holy is in the eye of the beholder, and I reserve the right to call them as I see them.
Real Live Holy People make you want to do better and be better. For people of faith, they point the way to God, because they embody Divine Love in the here and now.
I remember that RLP wrote about wanting to take his shoes off when he saw that Love manifested by a member of his congregation.
I often get that feeling reading his writing, or talking with my friends. Being in their presence is a prayer itself. They remind me that God is love and love is why we’re here.
Maybe we all manifest holiness when we dare to love others. I hope so, anyway. That would mean that, some day, someone might see something holy in me.
Almighty God, Father of all mercies...... we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.