Response to a Word: Holy

Upon hearing the word “Holy” many images and associations come to mind. Immediately, I think of high gothic arches and stained glass windows, but right along with this I think of dour figures who, with long faces and religious contempt, hold the world and all people at a distance. This word also prompts a vision of angels dancing in flight before God’s brilliant light, but it also prompts fear, since it is by God’s holiness that I will be judged. To this day when I hear this word I think about rules and regulations, dos and dont’s, and yet over the years I have come to believe that the word “holy” is best seen in those who live in pure love. Other than this, anything that aspires to be holy is like the Devil grasping for the throne of God.


Holy: 1) specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority. 2) dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion. Origin: from Old English “halig”, from German “heilig”, related to the Latin word “sanctus”. The Primary (pre-Christian) meaning is not possible to determine, but it was probably related to the Old English word “hal”, which means health, and conceptually refers to something that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated.

4 Responses to “Response to a Word: Holy”

  1. » Response to a Word: Holy  

    […] Original post by Anthony Velez   […]

  2. Anthony Velez  

    OK, I don’t know who put the above response on my blog, but I checked it out at the web site it refers to and it seemed innocuous (that’s right I said “innocuous”) enough. So, I allowed it!

    Simon, did you post this in trying to fix my blog? The sight that it takes you to is “another WordPress weblog”, and it is a bit odd. Thus, I thought about you. : )

  3. tom  

    Holy – To be set apart. This is the definition I have come to love. I love it because it speaks to God’s work, not mine. God does the setting apart. God takes people and things and stuff that really aren’t holy in the glowing cathedral sense and God sets them apart and they are used for amazing purposes. The Bible is chalked full of these not so holy folks. Lately I have been working hard at seeing the holiness in people. Seeing what God could do with them as God sets them apart.

    I am also begining to study John Wesley and his concept of Holiness. As I dig and understand more I will commment.

  4. Anthony Velez  

    I heartily agree with you in emphasizing the graced nature of holiness, that is it a work of God. I know it was somewhat indirect in my little response to the word, but that was the idea behind my stating, “Other than this, anything that aspires to be holy is like the Devil grasping for the throne of God.” That which begins with the self will end with the self, since we were not designed by God to have life within ourselves. Consequently, when all the resources of the self are directed toward obtaining something which for all appearances looks good, righteous and holy, it can never really obtain it since the reality of these things are marks of God’s work, even God’s very own life.

    John the beloved once said that “God is love” and I conclude from this that those who trust God to work in their lives will become the embodiment of his work and will dwell in the life of God, which is to say, they will dwell in love. This is why I think that holiness is something that cannot be easily defined by or obtained through rules and regulations, since such things can too easily be practiced through our own strength. Love, true love, on the other hand, is divine and not human in origin.

    Anyways, I really like your idea about seeing the holiness in other people, particularly when it’s synonomous with trying to see what God is doing in them, and what he could do in them. I am looking forward to future comments that come from your reading of Wesley.