The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

H is for HOLY!

[This is the MILLERWRITES contribution to the 2012 Blogging A to Z April Challenge  Here is my INTRODUCTION to this particular series, and an opportunity for you to influence which alphabetically aligned weird words I will comment on this month.  THANK YOU for stopping by!]

Today's post is the one I have been long waiting for!  No, not because this is the day I would end the first sentence, a preposition with.  I have an even greater reason.  The word HOLY is probably the one most people hear in regards to churchy things more than any other of the 'weird words'.  We sing about how God is HOLY and we strive to become HOLY and when we Christians dare to opine about someone's bad judgement or obviously anti-social behavior we are accused of being 'HOLIER than thou'.  Interesting that the same people who use this red herring subject changer which supposes that only the A number one, top dog HOLY person can observe and declaim sin, are the same ones who deny God (GOD, EVEN!) the authority to speak to such matters.

Let's look at the famous hymn, that most of us are probably familiar with.  But first, here is the verse from Isaiah chapter one that probably inspired the hymn's theme.

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

All well and good, but if we don't really know what HOLY means then it just becomes an adjective for God that simply circles us back to the same image or sense of God that we had in the first place.   Like if I told you that my shoes were bisglock.  Every time I see you I would say do you like my bisglock shoes?  And you would learn to say "They sure are bisglock shoes!"   And then if someone asked you about my shoes, you could only say "Mike's shoes?  They are certainly bisglock."  The two words would become absolutely associated but you still don't know if bisglock means too tight or poorly polished, or ragged and rugged or always untied, or made in Bisglo by Bisglobians!  It's time to clarify.  Don't sing the above song again, until you can make at least a mental habit of substituting OTHER wherever you sing HOLY!

Yes, our God is not like anyone you know.  He is OTHER!  Consider this overwhelmingly good news about God from Numbers 23:19 

God is not human, that he should lie,
not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?

God is NOT like you and me!  He is OTHER!

Saying God is HOLY is still a great idea.  But let it carry its real meaning when you do.  After all, who would want a God who was like one of us (and who would want one of us who is not like God?)?  We need and long for the higher standard that only an OTHER mighty God can speak to, and act on;  An OTHER God who does promise, and does fulfill!


  1. This is a really great post. I love Christan blogs that have some brain matter involved. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge blogs this month.

  2. wonderful explanation of the word holy :)

    1. And thank you! (Why am I suddenly hungry for a peanut butter sandwich?)

  3. What a great theme for the month. I don't know that "other" is the word I would have used, but I do understand what you're saying.

  4. While I'm not a Christian believer, I'm thrilled to read the ideas of somebody who doesn't apparently believe that the Divine was created in his own (narrowminded) image, but is something bigger, beyond our imaginings.

  5. When I think of the word Holy, I think and feel the word, "pure." Nice post, Mike!

    1. Pure is included in the word 'other' when we think of something who is other than what we are. IMpure.

      Thanks for reading!

  6. Hmmm... so when it says, "Be ye holy as your Father in Heaven is Holy"... can you substitute the word "other" in that case as well? Or does it just apply to God?

    Actually, I just checked the verse I was thinking of and it says "perfect", not "holy"...

    Never mind, lol!

    Nice blog,

    Dave the Goof

    1. I think the King James does say "Be holy", and yes, we are called to be like God, which is holy, or 'other than' the world at large. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. To me, the word Holy, means set apart. When we become Christians, God sets us apart to be different from those who are non-Christians. We still make mistakes, we still sin, but we are forgiven. That is the big difference. We realize that Jesus died in our place, and accept that fact and receive His truth. God alone is truly Holy and we strive to be like Him. Thank you for your post. Best regards to you, my friend. Ruby

    1. Yes Grammy (may I call you Grammy?), 'set apart', 'different', a 'peculiar people', 'other'; all come to the same thing. Like a ship at sea, we must be 'in the water', but not 'of it'!
      Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog!

  8. Great post! One of my favorite hymns! Thanks for sharing! Have a great April.


    1. Thank you Dusty! And thanks for reading.


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