“...I, God, your God, am holy...” Leviticus 19.2 (MSG)
i can’t sleep.
when i tell God, “you are holy,” do i really know what it means? in an age when holiness is religiously overrated, does this word “holiness” still arrest me? when i hear that holy means “set apart”, “consecrated”, does something even remotely stir in me?
then God hit me with this - “holy” means “different.”
different. as in, God, you are holy - “God, you are different from me.” God, i'm so out of your league. God, you are perfect! i’m not; God, you are patient! i’m not; God you are powerful! i’m not; God, you are gentle, i’m not; God, you are generous, i’m not; God, you deserve that all humans, stars and planets would bow down to you, i don’t; God, you are you! i’m not you. no one else is, nothing else is, no one or nothing has or ever will be like you.
he’s different from me. the God whose mere voice created sound waves to reverberate molecules into existence within nullness. he’s different from me, the God who thinks and reacts in ways i could never even do on my own. he’s so different from me, the God whose very nature flashes perfection at my own inadequte old nature. he’s different from me.
and this difference is the very foundation on which the whole matter between God and man has always been, and is as it is right now, and will always be – why he was able to create everything, why he was able to give me my freewill, why i was able to hurt him so bad in ways he had always known i’d do to him but he could never do to me, why he needed to stoop down and reach into that ever deep pit i’ve fallen into and hew me out of it with all his might, why he was able to squeeze me out of my mess and back into his fort, why he was able to render my old humanity nonexistent and replace it with his very own nature, why everyday there is a need for him to transform my mind into thinking the way he does, why his very word is more than powerful enough to bring me to life, nourish, sustain, grow, develop, defend, fight for, recreate, revive, renew, fire up, settle down, encourage, bring to places, compel, secure, humble, stop me wherever i am and just let me bow down before him – all because he’s set apart, consecrated, different. different from me. different from everything.
SHOOTING AT THE DIFFERENCE
now this made me wonder how man has been fighting to invalidate and abolish this difference between him and God. since adam and eve, that first choice to disobey God was about “being like God.” the tower of babel was all about reaching heaven in a way God did not want humans to. human kings, kingdoms and leaders from pharaoh to rehoboam to hitler to lenin have tried to rule humanity by replacing God with a person, an animal or a heavenly being or a piece of metal, a race, a concept – all to destroy his very difference from everything he created, which is the basic reason why he’s supposed to be the one ruling. even all unbiblical beliefs from popular religious dogmas to eastern religions to satanism are aimed at destroying that very difference between God and man by espousing the rule of self, cleverly disguised as paths to eternal freedom and self empowerment. “you will be like God…” and still some – some just totally ignore the concept of a “different” God – one they cannot manipulate – and turn him into a commodity they can encash, claim good things from, twist the arm of, and invoke like a genie anytime good fortunes are needed.
what made me equally wonder from this “differentness” is a matter so dumbfounding, stupefying, dreadfully horrible, utterly absurd and astonishingly unthinkable – that this very different God from all he created, from man himself – this different God transformed, mutated, recreated, refit himself to become man! that very thing he’s so different from! to buy me back from the choices i’ve sold myself to, to brand me as his own again, he himself built that instant superconnection from him to me so i could reach him the way he has always meant me to touch him. to be able to relate to him again, to be able to stay in a place again with him and just stare at each other and let everything else fade away. and all the while he kept his integrity, his wholeness, his differentness from me. it was all pure him, nothing added, nothing removed, nothing marred, nothing defiled. the differentness between him and me has never been so stark, so pronounced, so remarkably emphasized as when he became what he was so not. now, i have just had a newfound understanding of what he has done – what he really has done! that differentness, that holiness, that just brings me down to my knees in front of him, losing all words, nothing good enough to express my gratitude and respect and honour for such holy, different God.
no wonder the very first thing jesus asked for when he prayed was for God’s name to be respected. “hallowed be your name!” God! may you be respected whenever and wherever that name is mentioned! jesus asked for that “deleted” and/or damaged concept of difference between God and man to be properly and immediately programmed once again to human minds – for it to command the respect and reverence among anyone and anything and everything that his presence pervades.
once this concept of a holy, “different” God sank deep enough into me, everything really took on a totally new meaning – everything! work, play, service, interests, skills, family, hobbies, reasons, frustrations, achievements, failures, faults, offenses, motives, lyrics, pictures, stars, planets, water, fish, colors, everything! changed! forever changed. each and every single bit of my existence, my thoughts, my breath – is now stamped with such great respect, such great gratitude, such great honour, such pure and great homage to the one who truly, truly deserves all. just the mere mention of his name as i start my day already wells up a rushing gale of waters within me in gratitude. God! thank you for even letting me address you this way! such awe and wonder literally pulls out physical heaves and lumps in my chest.
oh God, may your name be respected – in my life, in everyone around me, in everything around me. as they see me, i really hope they can’t help but have such a profound respect and honour for you. everyone has to know about this… everyone has to be captivated by you – their hearts arrested by your holiness, seized by you… everyone has to, has to - be ruled by you.. respect and revere you.
now, the songs i sing are just so much more meaningful, directed, fresh and deliberate… every mention of “you…”, “God…”, “jesus…” is just so meaningfully different now… “there is no one else for me…” “all my delight is in you…” “you’re all that i seek…” “cover the earth with your glory…” “everyday, it’s you i live for…” “blessed are those who dwell in your house…” “one day in the house of God is better than a thousand days in the world...” “find rest, my soul, in christ alone…” “there is no one like you, there will never ever be anyone like you…” “i will worship you for who you are…” “humbled i bow down in your presence at your throne…” “in my life, be lifted high, in my world be lifted high, in my love be lifted high…”
now my mind, my being, my perspective has been instantaneously changed. now i know where i stand before such mighty God, now i know my real place in this world, my meaning, my significance – all these “me”-ness really revolve around, take existence, begin and end in “him”. now the branch knows why it has to be connected to a vine, now the stream knows it has to flow from a mountain, now the tree knows why it bears fruit, now the earth knows it has to be held together by a supreme being, now the wandering heart knows that it’s time to come home, the pilgrim has found its destination. the holy, different God, has finally found his rightful place in me. and respect and honour will forever be gushing out of me to him every single moment of my life, everywhere i am.
copyright © 2007 by romel r. saplaco. all rights reserved.
do not use without permission.