It is always a holy moment for Beth and me. With our kids, Brittany, Ben and Marshall, living just around the corner, they often make their way over to our home for dinner or maybe we go over to their home for ‘Taco Tuesday’. Often we prepare the meal together. When all is ready we sit around the table sharing a bottle of wine and breaking bread together, talking about life, reviewing the happenings of the week, discussing our crazy schedules and the drama of daily existence.
These are some of the holiest times of the week for me. Holy…set apart, cherished, belonging to, sacred. Holy…these meals are a little slice of heaven on earth where I experience face to face the love of others, the love of God, and the love of life.
Sure, I know as a pastor I’m supposed to be all about holiness, but guess what? You are probably more of a holy person than you know too. You need holiness. We all do. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel put it like this: “Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.”
Often when many people think of holiness they think of chanting monks with smoky incense, a whisper quiet church service, or the faithful streaming into mosques and temples for Sabbath, a holy day. That fits. This week Christians around the world will celebrate an entire Holy Week. But to be “holy” is always about so much more than ancient doctrine or religious practice. Religion at its best is holy. There are wonderful, meaningful holy moments that happen in church…sometimes when the sanctuary is full…sometimes when I am the only one there.
But life is holy too. I believe deep down we all desire this holiness. Something holy is always calling out to us. We just sometimes forget. And it’s no wonder. We are so busy. We are up early in the morning, then rushing off to work or school. We push through all the meetings and emails and texts and demands of the day. We come back home in heavy traffic, grab a quick bite to eat, then off to other evening commitments and finally back home to bed. And then we do it all over again. Such busyness is the enemy of holiness. Busyness tries to convince us that meaning comes from doing. Busyness sweeps us along in waves of frenetic grasping, from one thing to another and another and another. Busyness splits life into a million pieces. Busyness is the golden calf the world worships.
If we pay attention, however, we can see that holy moments can and do happen all around us, anywhere at any time. Holiness recognizes that our souls need nurturing too. Holiness dares to say “Enough!” You’ve experienced holiness in your life, those times when life feels sacred. Like those family meals. Like weekly worship or daily prayer. Like watching your children and grandchildren. Like sitting still and allowing the silence around you to fill you. Like watching a magnificent sunset. Like holding hands with the one you love.
The key words: “…if we pay attention.” That’s the hard part. It means intentionally claiming precious moments for rest and thought and relationships. It means recognizing that there may be something greater than ourselves in the universe, that maybe life isn’t all about me. It means understanding that there is more to living then just satisfying every desire, scratching every itch, or feeding every appetite. Yes, holiness is hard work. Holiness takes practice.
God knows we all need to be holy, and not just for one week or season or holiday, but also for this day. Indeed, every day can be a holy day if we pay attention. For when we do every moment has the potential of being holy.
You are loved,