Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the daily challenges.  This week’s topic is part of our series called God Is… where we’re trying to learn about God’s character and nature through some key stories in the Bible.

Our daily challenges are meant to help you explore what it means to follow Jesus, even if you don’t have a lot of time. We have a rhythm that keeps us in sync, even if we’re not a community that meets together in person regularly. Every Monday we introduce the week’s idea. Every Tuesday we study it in the Bible. Every Wednesday we see how that challenges and transforms our thinking on the topic. Thursdays we try to apply and live it out. Friday is a day for prayer and reflection before we take a rest on Saturday, and Sundays we meet together with others in community.

This week we’re learning how God is Holy.

Now there’s a word that you don’t hear used outside of religious circles.

I typed holy into Google, to see what automatic suggestions would come up.  Holy Grail was first, then Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, Holy Bible, then the Holy Grill restaurant in Calgary.  All of these are exclusively religious terms, even Holy Grail, which is the name of the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper.  All except Holy Grill which is just a play on words on Holy Grail.

It’s easy for people who grew up knowing the term to assume they know what it means, and to assume that others will know what it means!  But when you think about it, it’s a pretty technical and narrowly used term, beyond sayings like “Holy Smokes!” or accusing someone of being holier than thou.

Complicating things is that there are two ways to use the term.  If you say a church building is a holy place, you’re saying it’s sacred, or dedicated and set aside for God and worship of God.  Same if you talk about the Holy Bible, or holy water, and so on.  These are regular objects, specially set aside for God.

We show a special respect to places and objects like this.  God told Moses once to take off his shoes since he was on holy ground.  I recall playing hide and seek in a church once with other kids, and not wanting to go near the altar.  I had a sense it was special, a place I shouldn’t go without reverence.

But what about saying God is Holy, like we’re exploring this week?  It doesn’t make sense to say God is dedicated and set aside for God!  No, things of God can be holy only because God was holy first, and in that sense, saying God is holy means he is perfect, good and without sin.

God wants his people to be holy, as well, and to become more and more like him.  In Leviticus 19:2 God said, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

Does that give you hope, or fear of inadequacy?

Question: When you hear the word Holy what do you think about?   An expression, person, concept, place, etc.?  Make a list of everything that  you think of as holy.  Why?