I told a couple friends recently how essential I think it is for us to recover the word “holy” and the notion of “holiness.” For years (the reasons why are another story), these words made me grimace. And it’s not lost on me that sometimes the people who use this language the most seem to know the least about it.
One friend replied, “So when you think of holiness, what do you think of?”
Here’s my answer:
I think of fire that burns so hot you crave to be near it – but you tremble too at its ferocity. I think of those stunning moments (at the edge of the Grand Canyon, at the birth of your child, in the terrible reckoning with how the pain you carry-and the pain you inflict-reveals wounded love) pierces you so profoundly that you know something deeper than you have ever known it before. And you have no words. But somehow in that strange, unspoken knowing, healing happens.
I think of becoming truly human, more alive as the fire burns, the piercing cuts, the balm heals.
And God is the fire, the one who pierces, and the balm.