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Reverence for a Holy God and Holy Ground

Reverence for a Holy God and Holy Ground

By Mitiku Adisu
Debra-Libanos, Ethiopia

What we think of God pretty much sums up our view of ourselves, of each other, and of holy places and objects. If we hold a high view of God, it would show; and if, on the other hand, that view is low, that too would show.

For as a man thinks within himself, so he is [Proverbs 23:7].

The Holy is there to inspire awe and ultimately worship. One who has fear of God in his or her heart is sure to show respect for fellow humans as well as reverence that which is set apart for Him. Not everyone knows how to conduct themselves in the presence of the Holy. Such knowledge could be diminished or even lost where proper instruction is not passed on in what constituted ‘holy other’ and what did not.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. [Proverbs 9:10] 

It is absence of this very notion of the ‘holy’ that is at the heart of moral failures presently plaguing our society. In other words, decline in the idea of the holy correlates with why people and things become so readily interchangeable and disposable and why we are given to indifference.

Consider these:
· A young priest talks on his cell phone while carrying out his ecclesiastical duties.
· Tourists run around holy places like goats chewing gum and dangling their cameras trying to take a peek at the Tabot—their flashing cameras sacrilegiously reminiscent of the lightning on Mount Sinai.
· You need not take off your shoes any more when stepping into the House of the Lord. You are handed a disposable plastic bag so you can keep your shoes on and save time for other more important stuff. That is innovation alright but it is an innovation that makes light of the original symbolism of entering into the presence of God with no dead object standing between you and the Holy. It is interesting that some of our acts often are no more than creative disobediences.
· Where we used to be mindful of our shortcomings with respect to how we handled holy objects, now we don’t get our hands on them fast enough to turn them into easy cash.
· Some evangelical gospel singers have become so narcissistic that the line between self-adoration and the adoration of the Holy One is becoming blurred.
· Beyonce goes to Addis, does her suggestive dances in a revealing costume for a culturally blighted and youthful crowd and later on stands for a photo-op with the Holy Father. From then on there is no telling how such an ‘endorsement’ from the church could play out in risque behavior in an age of epidemics.
· The once resolute and ascetic man of God is today replaced by a free-wheeling celebrity evangelist and/or 'apostle' whose body language and speech is so superficial that the long-suffering and un-discerning audience is subjected to the tyranny of half-baked, half-theatrical theology delivered in unequal portions of English and Amharic.
· Few raise objections when a secular singer is brought in to raise fund for church building. Could this be the church’s version of outsourcing the holy?
· Individuality [you do what you want; God looks at your heart, not how you look or what you do] has become so important that it is not unusual to see someone behind church podium wearing a t-shirt or a hat with “New York” or “Pepsi” blazing on the front.
· With mooing and chirping ringtones in the middle of a sermon you would think you are suddenly transported into a barn or have not yet gotten out of bed.

We could go on but you get the point. For those of you who read Amharic here is a link to a similar article.

Copyright 2014 by The  Ethiopian Church Journal
All rights reserved.