Pause for Thought

Holiness by Jo Goodridge
 

The Bible is not just a book, or a collection of books, but a special book. It is known as the HOLY Bible. The word HOLY in Greek (hagios) means “different from” and so the Bible is different from all other books: it is separate, it stands alone. It contains revelations of God and the Bible, like all great works of religious art and history is full of holy things, ideas, people, places etc. to the extent that the very land of Israel, different from all other lands, because of the life of Christ, is known as the Holy Land. The people who occupied the land were God’s chosen people….Holy to the Lord…and their capital, Jerusalem, is known as the HOLY city. Within the holy city is the Temple and within the Temple is the HOLY PLACE, different from all other places, and beyond it, heavily veiled by a magnificent ornamented curtain was the HOLY of HOLIES…so sacred that it could not be entered except once a year by (the said to be) THE holiest of men, THE High Priest.

The Temple wasn’t built for organized worship, but as the DWELLING PLACE OF GOD. So the young Isaiah, entering the Temple, feels the awesome power of God’s presence And cries out “ Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, Heaven and earth are full of your glory” God is thrice holy: perfectly holy...different from all other gods, different from all creation. He is ALONE: High and Lifted up.

So Christians worship GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who the apostle Paul describes as “the image of the invisible God”.  When, therefore, we see Jesus through the Gospels, we see something of what God is like:

 

A God of HOLINESS and righteousness

A God of love and compassion

A God of forgiveness and healing

A God of reconciliation and truth

As a teenager attending Sunday worship in a small village Methodist Chapel I recollect with delight the impact the very place had on me. The pews were made of wood, golden in colour and the pulpit was beautifully carved and on each side there were lamps and behind, on the wall were the words “WORSHIP THE LORD IN THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS.” Entering the chapel was like Moses before the burning bush “take off your shoes: the place whereon you stand is holy ground” There was no talking once we entered. People bowed their heads in silent prayer and waited for the preacher to enter the pulpit. One felt like Jacob, “How awesome is this place. It is none other than the House of God and the gateway to heaven”. Indeed it was. 

 

It is often said, and it is true, Methodism was born in song, but we must remember too the words of John Wesley:

METHODISTM WAS RAISED UP TO SPREAD CHRISTIAN HOLINESS THROUGHOUT THE LAND. This way of life he pioneered and the results were amazing. No compromising with the standards of the world. Where ever John Wesley went on his great mission of awakening people to the glory of God: holding true to THE WORD OF GOD, lives were changed and by the end of the 18th century over 100,000 Methodists embraced the way of HOLINESS. He stated many times “where HOLINESS is not preached and proclaimed there is a decline in morals, courtesy and respect” The time has come for the Methodist Church to take a radical look at itself in the light of all that is happening and seek once more to uphold the way of HOLINESS in every area of its life.

And that is our calling. We are called, as stated in the Epistle 1 Thess.4:1-7 to be Holy and wholesome in the way we conduct ourselves and be an example to those who need a shining light to bring them to God and to His way of living.
 

Joe Goodridge

 

 

Godly Play UK www.godlyplay.org.uk