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Kedushah - Awakening to Wonder...
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Awakening to Wonder

Further thoughts on Holiness...

by John J. Parsons

Lev. 19:2 - You shall be Holy

"You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy."
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Lev. 19:2

In Hebrew, the word "holiness" is kedushah, from a root (קדשׁ) that means "sanctity" or "set-apartness." The holy connotes the sphere of the sacred, mysterious, and utterly wonderful - separate from all that is profane. As such, it is lofty and elevated (Isa. 57:15), beyond all comparison and utterly unique (Isa. 40:25), gloriously awesome (Psalm 99:3), full of light and power (Isa. 10:7), and is chosen and favored as God's very own (Ezek. 22:26). Indeed, holiness is itself a synonym for the LORD God Himself, who is called HaKadosh barukh hu, "The Holy One, blessed be He."

In the Torah we are invited to awaken to the realm of the wonderful and beautiful, to the awe-inspiring and sacred, which is to say, to open our eyes to the Divine Presence (Isa. 6:3). The LORD calls out: "Be holy as I am holy" (Lev. 19:2). Walking in holiness doesn't mean wrapping yourself up in some protective cloak of religious rituals, however, as much as it means accepting your own atonement: reconciling who you are with your past, finding healing and love, and walking in genuine hope... Turn your thinking around on this: holiness isn't as much "separation" from the profane as it is "consecration" to the sacred, and in that sense it is a kind of teshuvah, a turning of the heart back to reality.... Negatively put, "being holy" is turning away from the darkness of fear, despair, and anger; positively put, it is embracing the worth and value of life, respecting the Divine Presence, and walking in the radiance of God's love. Hashivenu Adonai....

There is a wonderful verse in the Torah which states that the LORD "dwells with us in the midst of our contamination" (Lev. 16:16). Even though we are unclean (i.e., made impure by sin), the Divine Presence is not removed and the means for reconciliation is provided for us... Aren't you glad that the love of God doesn't "stop there" (i.e., with a verdict about our sinful condition) but goes beyond the offense to provide remedy and hope in Yeshua our Savior?  Love takes what is unclean, common, and profane and elevates it to a place of being sacred and beloved...

May we consciously remember spiritual truth; may we awaken to reality and take "every thought captive to the truth of Messiah." And may God help each of us heed the call to walk in holiness by the power of His unfailing love and grace.  Amen.

Hebrew-English Transliteration:

Hebrew Transliteration

kedoshim teheyu ki kadosh ani Adonai elohekhem

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