Parish of Belmont, Anglican Church Newcastle, NSW Australia

Holy – Holiness

sanctusGod is described as being Holy, and the source of all holiness. Without God nothing is Holy. Each week in the liturgy we sing/say “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might”.

There are two levels of meaning. On the one hand the Hebrew and Greek words suggest ‘separation from the ordinary’ and ‘given to God’. The word coming from the old English is about wholeness, completion and perfection. A holy person may be seen as one whose focus is on God, whose purpose is for God, yet with a real sense of balance and completeness. A holy place may be set apart from ordinary places for a specific focus and awareness of God.

Holiness is primarily a quality of God. The Hebrew word which we translate as ‘holy’ means ‘that which is separate, at a distance from the ordinary’. It is a quality that causes humans to tremble with awe/fear in the experience of God’s presence (Isaiah 6:1-8).

Holiness should not to be confused with morality, although a real sense of God’s holiness will result in moral outcomes in the lives of his people. As God is holy, so are the people he calls to be his own, i.e. we are different, distinct, even if to human eyes this is not apparent.

As God is the source of all holiness, it is a sense in which we are able to allow God to be seen in our lives that will reflect the holiness of God as distinct from anything we ourselves do which shines light on ourselves.