Posts Tagged ‘holy place’

I have already written about seeing the invisible as well as the Invisible God. Hebrews 12 prescribes another piece of the process: Holiness.

Hebrews 12:14
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

I think it’s a little like being color blind. The closer I come to holiness, the more expansive my color wheel, my prism. When my eyes are clouded by 3-D things, problem mentality, and “what about me?” syndrome, I’m putting myself into a black and white world.

The movie Pleasantville, or even the Wizard of Oz, dramatically captured this difference. Colors look more vivid when they are juxtaposed against shades of gray. Don’t get me wrong, artistically, I love black and white, whether its movies or photographs, but I am talking about a different kind of non-color here. I’m referring to a non-holy world that is flat with unrelenting sameness.

To see God through the lens of holiness, we are promised the universe and that is hinted at through the glory. In American Sign Language, the gesture for holiness is a large arch over the head with the fingers fluttering.

But of course, the real challenge is entering the holy place. I’d say there is a type of nakedness this is a prerequisite for entry, not just the shedding of our outer layer of clothing, but also the skin of expectations and labels and the outer muscles of self-determination. We started walking away from the holy place the first time we said, “No, I want to do it myself.”

I cannot touch the holy because it’s not here in this world.

Holiness is wholeness (completeness, synchronization, transparency); it’s the paradox of loving those who should not be loved, living from inside out, choosing peace over violence, forgiving the unforgivable, mirroring Jesus, and echoing the Holy Spirit.

Wholeness is also brokenness. What is broken? the hard heart, the frozen spirit, the rigid memory, the fear of death.

Holy seeing is not for the faint-hearted. It takes courage and imagination to see what we do not recognize, to see and not identify, to see and embrace.

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In many ways, this phrase just rubs me the wrong way. I want to put my hands on my hips and say, “MY place?” Who are you to say what my place is? But then, I take a breath, and think: isn’t it true . . . isn’t htere a moment in time in which we are touched by God? That’s the place we start.

I Corinthians 7:17a
Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.

Whether I like it or not, I started out in a place in life: daughter of immigrants, relatively poor, gifted with some wit and bits of talent. When I recognized the Christ spirit within me, I was on quite a downhill spiral. I was actually losing place. I was falling into a different place, casting away my God-given talents.

So, my place in life is not just my class and race, it’s the entire package of who I am in a moment. It’s not that my place may not change, but it’s not for me to destroy what has been given.

Paul writes that it’s the commands of God that must be followed, that being more essential than place. (For me, these are the two great commands of loving God and others.) When doing this, THEN, place may change.

Today, I am in a new “physical” space, in a workshop for writers. Today, I sense my place in time and Christ is about to take a turn.

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Hebrews 10:20-22 says “…by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain [that is the separation between us and the Most Holy Place of God], that is, his body [the curtain], and since we have a great priest [Christ Jesus] over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.”

We have access to God. We are no longer separated by a “curtain” – the symbol of the previous covenant and law. By Jesus’s sacrifice, by the blood of the ultimate lamb, we have been covered and we can “get in.” The work on His side has been done. We must enter!

And it is as we enter that we can truly “know God.” If you want to become like a person, you’ve got to get to know them. If you want to become more “Godly” then you’ve got to know Him…. intimately… and that kind of knowing happens in the Holy of Holies.

We have all heard the old story of how you really don’t know a person until you’re married to him. How true. All those dates and talks and experiences were wonderful during the engagement, but the real “knowing” happens in the bedroom, the bathroom, the living room, and the kitchen (maybe I should include the garage in this list too). You have to live with a person day to day to really begin to know them, and even then, there are secret corners. That’s how we humans are.

But God, through Christ, has invited us into his deepest places. He has invited us to know Him. He has promised to reveal Himself to us. But we must enter.

P.S. As we begin to truly know Him, others can begin to know us…. and as they begin to know us… they meet Him.

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