If there is one advantage to having a nurse for a mom, it is that you are vaccinated against seemingly innumerable nasties that would love to invade your bloodstream. (I suppose it might be difficult to understand that advantage, depending which end of the needle you’re on…) Particularly, being a school nurse, as new recommendations and requirements come down the pipe, I would be getting my kids stuck with those also, except that they are now out of my household and that maternal syringe isn’t quite long enough.
As I write this (December, 2016), there is an unfortunately significant mumps outbreak in one of our major college towns here in Missouri, most assuredly fueled by parents’ decisions to not vaccinate their children when they were younger against this very preventable disease. When you have 18 to 22 year-olds crammed into college dorms and classrooms, transference of nasties is bound to happen.
Not that I would intentionally expose myself unnecessarily, but I have immunity to so many things at this point (both naturally via my chosen vocation, and pharmaceutically by choice) that I would have little hesitation living in that area. In fact, at one point in my young life, my vaccination records had been misplaced, and I had to go through the whole process again! I’m even immune to small pox, that dreaded killer from so many years ago, now wiped out (we are told…) so that children no longer even receive that inoculation.
Not me, however. I’m old enough that my arm bares that familiar signature scar. It’s my living proof of protection, and I’m glad to have it, and thankful to my parents for the inconvenience they had to go through to keep me healthy!
So I found this obscure little passage in a vision God gave His prophet Ezekiel fascinating:
“When they [the priests] return to the outer courtyard where the people are, they must take off the clothes they wear while ministering to me. They must leave them in the sacred rooms and put on other clothes so they do not endanger anyone by transmitting holiness to them through this clothing.”
Huh? Now, I can understand not wanting to transfer germs from one person to another, but at first glance I would think that having some of that holiness “rub off” on me might be more than a little advantageous! So what’s the deal?
The people of Israel understood this concept recounted in Exodus 19, as they stood before a mountain trembling with fear (both the people and the mountain) when they told Moses to go talk to God for them. They knew they couldn’t handle the weight and power of such manifest holiness. (One of the few smart things they acknowledged during this part of their otherwise tragic history in the wilderness.)
So I think my culture has an inadequate understanding of the ferocity of holiness. It’s not our behavior, although most certainly it has a far-reaching effect on those decisions. But on a deeper level, there is a danger when we come in contact with true holiness, and the Hebrew people could sense that peril to their own lives. To put it more simply, holiness causes death to that which is not holy.
Death to sin, deceitful ambition, guile, jealousy,…and the endless list of spiritual “nasties” that have flourished since that first selfish bite in an otherwise perfect garden infected us all. We didn’t just need a preventative shot—we needed a full blood transfusion!
“God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.”
Jesus provided that immunity for me…and He also has the scars to prove it.
Ezekiel 44:19, 1 Peter 1:2 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.