I've been thinking about "holiness" lately, what it means, and how I want to become more "holy" in my life.
But "holiness" is a difficult word to define. The word itself derives from the Middle English word (from the Danish), "Haly" or "Helieig" or "Hal" which means WHOLE. The notion of purity can be found in the concept of holiness - something that is WHOLE, made up entirely of one thing, is also pure, it is purely that one thing. In the Judeo/Christian tradition, holiness has always referred to a sense of elevated-separateness. The things that were/are holy are elevated and separated and set aside for a special purpose. The "Holy of Holies" was the place in the temple set aside and elevated for God. It contained ark of the covenant, which itself contained the most holy and set apart rules of the Jewish faith - the ten commandments. More importantly, however, the "Holy of Holies" was a space for only Yahweh Himself to occupy. Like the name itself, "Yahweh" there was an emptiness and a fullness to holy space in the temple. It was purely for God - it was Wholly for God.
This past week, my wife Star and I were reflecting on the fact that we have been married for 10 years - a wholly unbelievable fact to me. We were remembering that after we had purchased and planned for all of the accoutrements of our wedding ten years ago (the cake, the dress, the flowers, the place, etc...), we remembered that we had forgotten to buy a wedding ring for me. So, we went to the nearest jewelry and asked the store manager to show us his wares. We wanted him to sell us something that was pure, that was complete, that was HOLY. I told him I wanted a pure ring. The manager's face bunched itself up in a smirk and said, "You don't want a pure ring. Pure gold, for example, is too soft. It's too pliable it's too moldable. You want a ring that's a blend. You want a brass/copper/alloy metal which will be stronger." "No," I said, "I want a pure 100% gold wedding ring, I want 24 carrot gold. I want a Holy ring."
Well, ten years into the wearing of my wedding ring, I can say that the manager was correct. My ring has been bending back and forth, getting nicked, getting slivers and cuts in it for ten years now. Actually, I can't even take it off my finger, because my ring has bent all around my finger. But I love my ring. I love my Holy wedding ring. I love that it bears the marks of ten years of my marriage. My pure, holy ring bears the marks of a good life.
Jesus is the holiest thing I know. Jesus is the Holy of Holies. He is pure. He is complete. He is true. He is good. He is completely without sin. He is Whole. And like my pure wedding ring, he is also soft. He still bears the marks in his hands and his feet and his side of the things that we did to him while he was with us on earth. He bears the marks of the cross. He is soft enough to cry at the loss of a friend or laugh at the birth of a child. Jesus is holiness itself.
All for Now,