I always found an echo of my voice interesting as a kid. I remember taking a trip in 5th grade to Mammoth Cave, KY. Throughout the cave there were opportunities to hear your echo. I would say, “Hello!” and my voice would bounce back, “Hello!” It was neat to hear this as a 5th grader. As a Christian though, we have something higher and more precious to consider. We, as the Christian Church, are God’s echo. Specifically, we are God’s echo of his own holiness to the world around us and back to God in praise and worship. We are told in 1 Peter 1:14-16, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” We are called as followers of the Holy God to echo back as a testimony his own holiness in our lives.
This past week in our Wednesday Bible Study (link here), we discussed this text among many others. Another one that stood out to me personally was 2 Peter 3:11, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness.” Peter in that text is calling on us to think about what sort of people we are to be as followers of the Holy God. As those who claim the name of Jesus, what should our conduct look like? As those who claim to know and love the Holy God who is sovereign over all, how should we respond to COVID-19? Are we echoing back to God his own holiness as a testimony to the world around us? I hope so. I hope that this virus, despite all his ugliness and grief, will cause believers to pause and consider what sort of people they ought to be in holiness and godliness. And, realize more and more that our lives are to be God’s echo of holiness. This idea of God’s echo came from the former Anglian theologian John Webster who wrote in his book Holiness that as the Christian Church we are “bound to [God] as the echo of and testimony to his own proper holiness. (59)”