There were lots of religious conventions Jesus turned upside down. The last shall be first, for example. Or the rich shall be poor. If someone strikes you, turn the other cheek. But I'd never really thought about the concept of HOLY being flipped.
Rev. Bill MacLellan talked to us this morning about the power of holy. We read from Ezekiel where some of the laws regarding clean and unclean are described. They are numerous and they are specific! These rules, says Ezekiel, "shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean."
Rev. Bill reminded us that we know about the concept of holy. It's something to be guarded and protected, something that can be broken. We tell our kids, don't run or speak too loudly in the sanctuary, it's a holy place! But Jesus taught us it's the other way around - the holiness has the power to break the unholy.
Jesus was not afraid to get his hands dirty. We read about him getting close to the man with so many demons his name was Legion (Luke 8:26-39). And we know there are so many other examples of Jesus spreading holiness, rather than trying to keep the holiness pure and separate. He dined with sinners and he spoke with tax collectors and prostitutes. Jesus knew that the holy wouldn't get tainted by touching the unholy, instead it would overcome the unholy!
Christine talked with the kids about a vanilla bean, and how it looks unremarkable but flavours so many of the good things we like to eat. And similarly, a little vanilla in a cake doesn't change the nature of the vanilla (it's not the vanilla that tastes like cake!) instead it's the cake that is improved by the vanilla.
Did you read the Lighthouse article in the most recent Presbyterian Record? I happened to read it with my coffee before church this morning, so it may have reflected strongly on how I heard the sermon. But I heard Rev. Bill telling us that we don't need to fear preserving the HOLY, instead we need to open the doors and let the Holy out. We have been given great gifts of mercy and love and forgiveness and it's important that we spread our arms wide to share the love of God.