Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

  • Music:

"I am practicing my purpose once again"

Tuesday morning I was randomly singing "Thou hast taught me to say: It is well with my soul" (the refrain and kind of the first verse).

As I kept repeating it, I found myself wondering, "What does that mean?" For things to be well with your soul even when everything's sucking... I feel like it's a "Well I'm saved and going to heaven, so I am comforted in that." I kinda prefer the Julian of Norwich "All will be well."

I looked up the full words (and the story) and indeed -- "My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more."


I emailed Laura Ruth about what she meant about all we humans being holy (after her Rest and Bread reflection last week) and she ended her reply saying, "What are your thoughts, please? Teach me something!" I was reminded of Liz Carr.

I said I don't really think about the concept of "holiness" that much so I wasn't sure I had much to teach, but that I think of it as this powerful descriptor of God, evoking for me images like the sacred ground around the burning bush where Moses took his shoes off, the hot coal in Isaiah 6... (I seem to have an associative connection with fire, molten metal, etc.) and while I certainly think we are all "persons of sacred worth" (can you tell I hang out with Methodists?) I like reserving that term for God, feel that it dilutes it and makes it less useful/powerful to say all humans are holy by virtue of being made in God's image. (I said, "I definitely agree that we are made in God's image, but just as a portrait of a person is not the person, so we are far from embodying all the goodness of God.")

Later I was thinking of, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! [...] Only Thou art holy - there is none beside Thee"
Holy, Holy, Holy

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!
I looked up the dictionary definition for kicks.
Online Etymology Dictionary
O.E. halig "holy," from P.Gmc. *khailagas (cf. O.N. heilagr, Ger. heilig, Goth. hailags "holy"), adopted at conversion for L. sanctus. Primary (pre-Christian) meaning is not impossible to determine, but it was probably "that must be preserved whole or intact, that cannot be transgressed or violated," and connected with O.E. hal (see health) and O.H.G. heil "health, happiness, good luck" (source of the Ger. salutation heil). Use of Holy Land for "western Palestine" dates to 1297. Holy water was in O.E. Holy smoke (1889), holy mackerel (1903), etc., all euphemisms for holy Christ. Phrase holier-than-thou in reference to supercilious sanctimony first recorded 1912 in writings of Theodore Dreiser.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper
I had commented that due to Old Testament classes etc. I think of "holy" as meaning "whole." I like this elaboration on that as "cannot be transgressed or violated" -- I mean, obviously we humans transgress/violate God's laws all the time, but it maps nicely onto my idea of God being Ultimate Good, Ultimate Truth, whatever.


I hadn't realized Sukkot happens so soon after Yom Kippur.

The top post on Velveteen Rabbi says:
During Sukkot we talk a lot about what it means to "dwell" in sukkot. We build, and inhabit, these flimsy, temporary little houses -- but we know we're (most of us) speaking metaphorically about the impermanence of our dwellings.
In a below post, she writes (telling about her experience of Sukkahfest 5769):
The man told a beautiful teaching from the BeShT about how the whole world is on fire -- which one could see as a sign of chaos, but the Baal Shem saw it as a sign of how everything that lives burns for God.
This made me think of my earlier thoughts about holiness and fire.

Later in that same entry, she writes:
The Torah reading was also a treat. The reading for the festival is a recap of the major holidays of the year: we read about Shabbat, then Pesach, then Shavuot, then the Days of Awe, then Sukkot. On the first day, Reb Jill Hammer invited up for group aliyot those who resonated with the energy of the holiday described in each section of the reading: being a seed planted deep in the ground and resting (Shabbat), being born / emerging ready to grow (Pesach), flowering and being ready to bring the fruits of one's labor to the community (Shavuot), and so on. I went up for the Shavuot aliyah, feeling like for a long time I was a seed, and for a long time I was working on emerging, and these days I'm in a position of having gifts to bring.
That last bit really resonated with me -- feeling like for a long time I was a seed, and for a long time I was working on emerging, and these days I'm in a position of having gifts to bring. Though I would say I'm personally still some mix of those three (or at least the latter two).


Rest and Bread this Wednesday, I was introduced to Andrea, and as usual had to explain about how I go to umpteen churches (3 worship services per week, plus at least one discussion group session each week).
I was saying to Keith that I feel like I should go to a temple or a mosque, but that I feel like I would be more obviously/explicitly an interloper there doing like an ethnographic study -- that in my Protestant churches I'm taking notes and am often more academically than worshipfully engaged, but at least I feel like they are "my" churches, I mean, I am Protestant, so I do belong there to some extent. (I have been to Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglican/Episcopalian services -- but somehow those still felt close enough to "mine" that I felt like I had some right to be checking them out.)
Tags: holidays: jewish, music, religion

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