Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy. – Exodus 20:8
What does being holy mean?
Sometimes it’s defined in negative terms. The old “holiness” movement conveyed that if you didn’t play cards, drink, and go to movies, you were approaching a holy life.
It’s also been defined as something non-human. Some of the earliest verses regarding the sacred in the Old Testament reflected keeping your distance. God is so other-worldly-holy as to be inaccessible, and if you got too close you would suffer the consequences (Exodus 19:23-25).
Between these two extremes, though, lies a positive understanding.
How do you keep a Sabbath day “holy”? You stop ordinary life. You use that pause to look for God in your midst. You then give thanks in some small or big way. And the only way you can be holy in that way is to be humble.
I’ve come to believe that the best synonym for being holy is being humble. Think of others as better than yourself, as Paul said (Philippians 2:3). Really believe that our thoughts are hopelessly biased and that we need each other to get the full picture. Ask questions and listen more; “seek first to understand then to be understood.”
When we feel, act, think, and speak remembering we’re frail creatures of dust clinging to a grain of sand planet spinning in an incomprehensibly gigantic universe: then we proclaim that God is God and we definitely aren’t.
That’s when God grants us holiness, and we can start to truly love our neighbor as ourselves.