Special, precious,holy- and the ordinariness of the world. The meaning of holiness.
Updated: Aug 16
"My lot is fallen on the lovely; a beautiful inheritance has become mine." (Psalm 16:6)
"They also made the headpiece, the sacred crown ring, of fine gold and wrote on it as if cut into a seal, "Holy to the LORD." (Ex 39:30)
My dear friends, dear sanctified and justified women of God,
Many years ago we had a visitor over New Year's Eve. It was a special visit, a rare visit, and we celebrated it.
In order to adapt the setting, the ambiance to the specialness, we decided to have the New Year's Eve dinner that is usually had almost without exception as a family ritual at Christmas: We opted for raclette and hot stone.
Raclette is indeed special for us, it is connected with memories, with Christmas Eve, with joy and hope and the celebration of the birth of our Lord. Moreover, it is associated with time, with mindfulness, with rest and encounter. The pleasurable, the conscious preparation, the not eating between the door and the corner, loving fellowship, in short: the mindful appreciation of the common meal is the focus.
We set the table, we opened a good red wine, we prepared sauces and dips, we created a festive table as an expression of our joy and gratitude for this visit.
However, due to cultural differences, the evening took a completely unexpected course.
While we were in a festive mood, our guest mistook the hot stone for a table grill and was unstoppable in the pace of frying away the morsels of meat. Within no time, the hot stone was overloaded with fish, beef tenderloin and chicken, and with a mixture of horror and amusement we watched as the pre-cut meat piled up on the stone- and disappeared from the trays. It no longer looked as if we could grill our pans with care and pleasure. He had symbolically tied a black apron around himself and prepared a barbecue in the best masculine manner.
From something valuable, precious, special to us, within a few minutes it became a profanity, an everyday occurrence, which brought beads of sweat to our foreheads and a certain helplessness to our eyes: how do we explain this to him now, he who simply doesn't know raclette? It was the attitude of "eat something quickly and move on" and the desire for shared time, appreciation and well, let's call it after a fine spiritual ambience, which diametrically clashed here.
Now how do we explain to him what this is for, what we are doing here? We finally found a good way, and the evening could go on -as intended.
If we take a closer look at the word "holy", we find many parallels to the very meaning that a secular action like raclette has for us:
Raclette is set apart, it serves a specific purpose.
It is not used between door and gate, but on special occasions. It hurts our feelings and our sense of aesthetics and appreciation in an indeterminate way when used as a table grill - that is, in an everyday, mundane, rather crude way that almost screams for a beer can or bottle party.
No, it just doesn't seem right to be so, so, so... careless with it.
Our raclette ritual is precious to us, special:
It connects us as a family, it's associated with anticipation, "Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, we're making raclette again!", it's something we come to peace with and don't sweat over like a Subway sandwich or Wednesday night's quick spaghetti. Over time, we've made some small changes, but always made sure to keep the sense of refinement and beauty intact. It's not used for partying, the baguettes are homemade and canned mushrooms don't make it to the table there either. No, it is precious to us and it is to be used with appreciation and love and gratitude. It is a gesture of our hospitality, our will to let others share in beauty and be joyfully united with us.
We all have things, certain days, yes, even objects that are "sacred to us".
The expensive concert guitar, never to be carelessly thrown into the corner at the campfire. The CD collection, acquired over decades and arranged alphabetically. The favorite books that you hate to give out of your hands, and get deeply offended when you get them back dog-eared. "You didn't value it, I entrusted it to you, and you disrespected it." "I gave it to you, and you didn't realize the value" "I trusted you, and you treated it like it was absolutely worthless." What weighs more heavily than all these objects, however, as much as damage may hurt us, is what we associate with them. They get their value not from the material, but from the symbolic, the spiritual value that things have for us.
How much more holy is God to us!!!
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord!"
Perfect, pure, beautiful, glorious, eternal, precious, special, exalted, elevating, worthy of all praise, worthy of all thanks, worthy of all worship. Savior. Healer. Provider. The Seeing, the Almighty, the King of Kings, the Creator, the Perfect Father, the Merciful, the Knowing, the Wise Counselor. The love that never ends. The grace, the goodness. The Lord of the heavenly hosts. The one who loves us. The one who is so breathtakingly glorious, who has proven himself worthy of all his names on us so many times!
Oh, the only answer can be to love Him. But what about us?
Yes, sanctifying certain days, we know that. Proclaiming God as holy, that also comes easily to our lips.
But we? We, the saints of God?
We who are sanctified by the blood of Christ? We who are holy to him,to God? At this point, minds not only begin to part, but to lash out at each other in wild defiance.
"We are nothing! We are sinners! We'll be lucky to be forgiven, we're children of the devil! Good for nothing! Unworthy! Rotten to the core! Jesus alone is worthy!"
Well, yes-that's true. That's the way it was. Before the cross.
When you had not yet accepted Jesus' sacrifice for you, you lived under Satan's dominion.
But even then you were a creation of God, and to call it "good-for-nothing, worthless, filth, sin, worthless" is an insult to His intentional, planned, very good creation itself. It is not Satan who created you. It is not Satan who artfully planned you, who determined the hour of your birth, who determined where you should live.
Your behavior and attitude, your heart was darkened and bound in wrong ways- blinded, hardened, not seeing the glory of God.
You did not understand him, did not accept his grace. You rejected his outstretched hand and declared him a figment of your imagination or worse. You sat on the throne in your life, you determined what was right, what was wrong, what was appropriate.
But with the laying down of this false life, your sin was washed away from you. You have been washed clean and restored, in Christ, and Christ lives in you through the Holy Spirit.
You are sanctified and justified, born again in His Spirit. You are set apart and added to God's people. You are a fellow heir of Christ, belonging to the holy priesthood, and called to be a living epistle of His glory, grace, and love. You are sanctified, and do not sanctify yourself. You are being transformed and purified, filled and owned day by day by the Holy Spirit within you. You are the temple of God, it has pleased Him to live in you and work through you. Again: Not your achievement here...THAT is your new identity. And yes, it is given, but it is immovably placed in you as the final answer.
It is the grace of God.
"You shall be holy as I am holy".
"You are to be special. You shall be precious. You shall be pure, you shall be exquisit. You shall make a difference to the world with its coarseness, its blunt senses, its harshness, its fast pace. You should be people through whom it becomes easier to believe in me. You shall reflect me in my saving, healing, nurturing, providing, sublime and uplifting nature, in my perfection of love. You shall become a source of hope for others. You are to reflect me as I am."
We are dearly purchased, we are not purchased off the scrap ramp for a few cents. We are not paper cups, we are crystal glasses, we are not spare ribs, we are fillet of beef.
When you look at your fellow Christian, do you see how precious he or she is to God?
Do you see the crystal glass or do you accuse him of being a cheap to go cup? Do you scoff at God's child as unworthy, as dirty, unclean, as a nothing- or do you see the value, the holiness that -as a gift of grace- was put into him or her as a new identity? As in you?
You are precious, valuable, special to God. He does not like to give you out of his hand, and when he entrusts you, he expects you to be treated with care, delicacy, and deep respect. He guards you like the apple of his eye, protecting and shaping you with infinite care. If you are not treated well, belittled and hurt, he is angry, sad, because your worth is Christ's worth. God never forgets what it cost him to make you his personal property. It cost him everything. When he looks at you, he sees you in your final version, in the perfection to which you will be changed. You are sacred to him.
I bet that you are precious, valuable, unique, special, chosen, a joy, something to be protected and highly valued-you've rarely heard that. To understand it, to flourish in that love and to the praise of God, that is the goal of sanctification.
For our God is holy. Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace. Healer, Provider, Father, Savior, King, Glorious, Beautiful and ...Love.
Sanctification, the path to which we are called, is recognizing, understanding and marveling at God's perfection. It is accepting the new value,and discarding all ways that are profane, crude, contemptuous, crude, drive-driven and self-aggrandizing. The acceptance of our value and the discarding of all rebellion, all self-contempt, accusation and condemnation of God's creation.
It is a quiet path. It is a long way. It is a blessed path. On which we learn that raclette is not a tabletop barbecue. We will. That is what the Finisher of our faith has promised us. And so long understanding, a little humor and explaining can be very helpful.
Poetry - Greek "ποίησις" (poiēsis) means "creation", the "creating". A work of art of God, with all its depth, which you can only fathom if you take the time to fathom it and understand it with all your senses.
You are a poem of God. It can hardly be said more beautifully.
Holy are you, Lord.
Sibylle/ Daughter of Zion
As always, weekly impulses for this article can be found on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Sibyllezion and the associated Facebook community Zionstochter. New heart. New Spirit. New life.
This article is part of the series of articles accompanying and preparing for the Zion Daughter Zoom online study "Becoming as you see me/ (Becoming myself)" Stacy (Stasi) Eldredge , 08/22-10/22. More details on this homepage and on the Fb Zionstochter page. -
The Bible, Luther Translation, here https://www.bibleserver.com
Holiness word meaning : Wikipedia, Urtext translation, https://www.sonntagsblatt.de/artikel/glaube/was-das-wort-heilig-bedeutet
Comparism Coffee to go cups and crystal glasses : Becoming myself, Stasi Eldredge, Page 92, analogy to her writing.
Praise: "Psalm 1" Sons of Korah