A holy roller.
A holier than thou attitude.
Holy cow. Holy cats. The catch-all..... Holy crap!
It is hard to locate these days. Holiness. Its meaning. Its message. Is it even real anymore? Does it exist? Where do we find it? How? Why even bother? Looking -- that is. Even if we find a bit of holy, will we know it when we see it, or hear it, or touch it, or are touched by it? Will we even recognize the experience? Will holiness sneak up on us, and reveal itself to be true?
I recently asked a small group of adults gathered for a spirituality workshop -- on the topic of “HARVESTING THE HOLY” -- to offer their own definition of the term. They struggled. Squirmed. Showed discomfort. Giggled like young girls or horny boys. Admitted they had somehow lost or misplaced the meaning of holiness. They said they knew it once. They had grasped it for a time. But now it was gone. Vanished. Without a trace.
I then asked them to sit quietly for about twenty minutes. I invited them to picture HOLINESS. To imagine a moment that was holy. To flesh out what holiness might mean to their very own soul. They followed the lead, and soon came began to respond. Their musings went all over the place. There was no pattern. No singular direction. No real theme, except maybe Life itself, beautiful old everyday living.
One spoke of making love in grass as being holy.
One spoke of holding their child for the very first time.
One spoke of listening to their dying mother sing all the verses to “Amazing Grace”.
One spoke of watching an autumn leaf twirl to the ground. Seeming to descend so slow, and yet, it was but a few seconds until it arrived below. Like her life, she said. She just can’t catch it. Her days press the accelerator and speed away.
One spoke of an ice storm and a sunset which turned the sky and earth into a twinkling spectacle of pink and orange sherbet.
As each moment was shared, it was followed by ooohs and aaahs, as if we had gathered for a fireworks display. Which, in a sense, we were. Watching these explosions of holiness illuminate our spiritual sky.
It was contagious, as is most pure spirituality. The more we shared, the more we recalled or realized or imagined. This concept, holy, which we once believed to be quite scarce, was now in bountiful supply. It was everywhere. All of the time. Available now. To all. Just like the Kingdom of God. Holiness, it would seem, is in our midst.
We were stunned by the transformation. Baffled by why we ever thought all things holy were in retreat. Keenly aware that holiness is simply a matter of perspective. A way of seeing, and being seen. It is possessing eyes which believe and then see.
What started awkwardly, and with painful delay, soon became an avalanche of sharing. We swapped holiness stories all day long. Moments of holy swarmed about the workshop and its participants and the day itself.
As we left the retreat center, the sky had grown Payne’s grey. A sunset emerged from behind these dark clouds. All was gilded and glowed. And then, there it was, as if on cue – a vivid full arced rainbow. I know. Too good to be true. Too, well, almost corny. Hallmark-cardish. One of the participants gasped, and said, “Holy shit!” We all laughed out loud as we walked to our cars. One might say that holiness can be witnessed in just about anything – okay, that might be stretching the point a bit.
By the time we drove away, the rainbow and sunset were gone. I suspect our souls, however, were wide awake. Looking in and out and beyond. Listening hard. In touch. Ready to receive another shot of holiness. Life, when seen from the right angle, is holy. Every morsel of it. It is all capable of shimmering. Igniting. Serving as a burning bush.
It would take time to fall asleep this night. We were too full, or at least, too open to being filled. Rest only came in anticipation of the holy potential of dawn. A day. A divinity. A miracle awaiting us on the morn.
Before you go to bed tonight. Define holiness. Give examples. Let your soul soak in the sacredness for a time. Then rest. A holy rest. All weariness will vanish – again, without leaving a trace.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.