In our culture people don’t often call things holy, except in an irreverent way; “Holy cow!” “What an unholy mess!” or Robin’s famous line, “Holy cliffhangers, Batman!”
Yet we have a book, or maybe more than one copy of a book, in our house called “The Holy Bible”. What does it mean for a book to be a holy?
One woman told me that she went to a home where a small Bible was used under a table leg to keep the table from wobbling. Another man once told me of seeing a family use a big bible on a chair for a toddler to sit on, so they could reach the table. In both situations the observer told me how uncomfortable they felt, seeing the Bible put to a use like that… “It’s wrong! I was brought up to believe that the Bible is a holy book!” they said.
I think there’s a basic understanding that if you call something “holy”, you treat it with respect and reverence. In ancient Israel, the ark of the covenant was holy, and it was kept in a room called “The holy of holies”. It was so holy no one was supposed to touch it! Unfortunately in our world, too often people treat their Bibles that way, they don’t touch them for years!
Hopefully for us, calling a Bible holy means that we see it as a gift from God, a useful and important book in our lives. This Sunday I’m going to be talking about holy books; our holy books and the holy books of other religions. How do you treat someone else’s holy book?
This week’s prayer: Thank you for giving us the gift of the Bible; help us to realize what “holy” means!