sightoftheheart (sightoftheheart) wrote,

Performance =/ Presence

When I mentioned freedom last week, I probably didn't mean it.* I probably meant holiness. The Jewish idea of holiness that gave the definition to the new testament ideas of the saints of X and that we share in Christ's holiness was this: a thing was holy if it was set apart to God's use.

The old testament, or covenant, or will (the Hebrew word means the same thing), marked an invasion of a Holy, wholly Other God into natural history*. Qodesh (the word that we translate as holy) was an adjective of things, of places, and of times. National Israel was the holy people of God, his instrument whereby he displayed his righteousness. Very rarely is any given person referred to as qodesh. A related word, usually translated as clean, was the adjective applied to garments and to persons.

The new covenant speaks of those who follow Jesus together as those called to be the "holy ones," the hagios. The saints of Jerusalem, Corinth, Philippi, Ephesus, Colosse, Achaia, Rome, are those to whom Paul addresses his letters, of whom Luke writes in the Acts of the Apostles, who James, Jude, the writer of Hebrews, and John the Apostle are correcting and encouraging.

There are a couple of interesting things here. One is that hagios is inevitably plural. The corporate life is the occasion for people to become holy places or things, set apart and utterly given over to God's use.

The other is how often the Third Person of the Trinity has as his peculiar appellation "Holy." Distinct from all other spirits, He is the one of whom the word that means completely used by and useful to God singularly applies.

Of course, being completely given over to God's use will be problematical if God is nonexistent, spiteful, weak, many, or stupid. I suppose the truth of Him I first learned was his existence. After all, all other truths of God as a person must flow from that fact; one can have no relationship with a person who could never be present. (The Greek idea is of the incubus or succubus; a fond and foolish image.)

Nevertheless, the first truth I remember learning was God's wisdom. If anyone, He must know the Best. The Creator is the one who must have Creation's purpose in mind. If creation is infinite, He might be the only one to know the precise outworking of the Best; even though finite beings might be able to follow his overall structure and initial movements, the complexity of a world beyond us would be, well, eo ipso beyond us.

I hope to take this up later this week. At worst I will continue Sunday, in'sh Allah.**

*Maybe I did mean freedom. I can't speak well [about almost anything] about what I might understand by this freedom.

**Is this blasphemous? I do mean "if it is the will of God," in the full humility and dependence of a creature and a student. My understanding of that will is far from the understanding I have of His will as distorted in the Koran.

Is it sacrilegious? I don't agree with a lot of the culture connoted by this language.
Tags: contemplation, ideas, life journal, philosophia, unfinished
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