The Holiness of God

In the book that I recently have published, “The Voice of Aedistamen”, there is a character in the story called, “the Ghaedish-Mor”. This name may sound a little weird and wacky to our generation. In fact, you may say that I take a kind of perverted, Celtic delight in producing guttural words that no one else can pronounce (at least those who are half ways familiar with the tongue of Shakespeare). The name derives from the combination of a Semitic word, “kadosh” meaning holy, and a Gaelic word, “Mor”, meaning, great or large. The appellation then describes the God of the enslaved people as the Holy One, or the Holy-Great One. Clearly, there is biblical reference here to the God  that Isaiah calls, “the Holy One of Israel”.

Lately, I have felt drawn to the book of the Bible that we call, “Leviticus”. It’s a book that describes in great detail the regulations for the worship of the Holy One of Israel, and for that reason can seem very dry to our culture that tends to be long on freedoms but short on accountability. However, if we look a little deeper into the foundations of this book we see God reminding His people that He is a Holy God and that their lives must reflect that Holiness. In chapter 19:2 of the book, God says: “You shall be holy, for I, the Lord Your God, am Holy.” Later, in the fifth book of Moses, Deuteronomy 32:51 & 52, Moses is reprimanded by God and is refused entry into the Promised Land, “…This is because …you broke faith with Me in the presence of the Israelites …because you did not uphold my Holiness among the Israelites. Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel.” This may seem very harsh to us today, after all that Moses went through to bring the Chosen People out of Egypt and to the very shores of the Jordan. You might think that God was unfair in treating him so. But this event described in Numbers 20: 9-11, clearly shows Moses questioning God rather than trusting in Him; undermining God’s holiness rather than upholding it. There is a lesson here for all of us believers and especially those who are in leadership over Christian communities: we must, by our lives, hold up before the world the Holiness of God. This is quintessentially expressed in the Cross and Resurrection of God’s Only Son, Jesus Christ. Nothing else will avail; “no power of hell nor scheme of man.” Only the Holiness of God can save us.

I have sensed in my own life a call to hold up God’s Holiness today. Therefore, this is a major theme in “The Voice of Aedistamen”, where the God of the enslaved people, the Ma’apone, begin to turn back to Him as they seek freedom. I have also written some songs that reflect this motif. One of them is entitled, “That Towering Cross”, a meditation on a play by the same title by an influential young writer, Andrew Kooman. I believe this a call for all Christians today, to hold up once more the Holiness of God in our communities, using whatever gifts God has given us to do this. Will you join me in this quest? There will be cost to this; it will almost definitely put us “in harm’s way”. But we will have the peace of knowing that our confession of Christ has been empowered in action; that the faith expressed in our words has been visible in a changed life.

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