What is sacred to you? Are there actions, behaviors, or things that you categorize as sacred and untouchable?

Things that people find sacred include marriage vows, children, sabbath practices, the language we use when we speak of God…we can attach holiness to any number of things. When we hold something as “sacred” we indicate its value and the prominence it takes in our lives.

The temple in Jerusalem was sacred to Jesus. It was his father’s house. It was a house of worship. It was a place where God resided. It was not to be violated or used for any other purpose than the worship of God.

John 2 (Contemporary English Version)

13 Not long before the Jewish festival of Passover, Jesus went to Jerusalem. 14 There he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves in the temple. He also saw moneychangers sitting at their tables. 15 So he took some rope and made a whip. Then he chased everyone out of the temple, together with their sheep and cattle. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and scattered their coins.

16 Jesus said to the people who had been selling doves, “Get those doves out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace.”

I remember a story that a former colleague once told of watching someone violate the sanctity of his church. It was at the end of a wedding, when people were still milling around the sanctuary waiting for pictures to be taken. (As a side note, I must confess that pastors often struggle with weddings and how they can become mere commercial venues for folks who have no notion of the sacredness of the space.) Such was the case that day, and my friend watched in horror as the father of the bride strode up the steps to the altar and lit a cigarette from the Christ candle. I haven’t seen this friend for over a decade, but I bet he still tells that story with the same sense of revulsion he felt when he observed it the first time.

Jesus felt the same revulsion at the loan sharks and money changers who charged exorbitant rates to lend money to people so they could buy overpriced animals for slaughter in the house that he loved. His actions that day remind us that we don’t have to put up with such violations in our sacred spots, whether they are physical locations or places in our hearts and minds. If someone is violating your spirit with their inappropriate words or behavior, throw them out of your life.

17 The disciples then remembered that the Scriptures say, “My love for your house burns in me like a fire.”

18 The Jewish leaders asked Jesus, “What miracle will you work to show us why you have done this?”

19 “Destroy this temple,” Jesus answered, “and in three days I will build it again!”

20 The leaders replied, “It took forty-six years to build this temple. What makes you think you can rebuild it in three days?”

21 But Jesus was talking about his body as a temple. 22 And when he was raised from death, his disciples remembered what he had told them. Then they believed the Scriptures and the words of Jesus.

This last part reminds us that even in his zeal to rid the temple of the merchants, Jesus ultimately acknowledges that he is the true temple. He is our church. He is our sacristy. He is our altar. Even after a temporary tear-down, he was rebuilt and raised from the dead. His words and his sacredness can never be defiled!

No matter what we build with our hands, the House of Jesus lasts forever.

Sacred Space by Kitty Hawk United Methodist Church

Wholly People

What does it mean to be holy? In its simplest form, the word holy means to be set apart. Holy things are sacred, special, and outside of the norm of the secular world. God is holy. Worship is holy. Prayer is holy. Sacraments are holy. You are holy.


Think of it this way: being made in the image of God and redeemed by his blood, we have inherited a holiness that we are called to live up to on a daily basis. Being holy humans means we are called to reflect God’s holiness in everything we say, do, and think. Justice, righteousness, equity, unconditional love, forgiveness, honesty, mercy, and especially grace should be the attributes of holiness that we endeavor to live out every day.

That is what a holy human looks like. Unfortunately, those who are wholly human often succumb to anger, name-calling, deceit, bias, pettiness, prejudice, and vengeance.

Leviticus 19 (Common English Bible)

The Lord said to Moses, Say to the whole community of the Israelites: You must be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy.

In our pursuit of daily holiness, God is our measure and standard. Here are his rules for holiness:

15 You must not act unjustly in a legal case. Do not show favoritism to the poor or deference to the great; you must judge your fellow Israelites fairly. 16 Do not go around slandering your people. Do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed; I am the Lord. 

17 You must not hate your fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your fellow Israelite strongly, so you don’t become responsible for his sin. 18 You must not take revenge nor hold a grudge against any of your people; instead, you must love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.

This instruction to the Israelites on how to live together is an important reminder to us as we move forward as a nation. Where is your citizenship? Is it with your political party or is it in heaven?

In a few weeks America will declare a winner. Regardless of the outcome, we are to remain holy and not hold grudges. We are to love our neighbors who vote differently. It is against God’s word to slander each other. We absolutely must NOT hate our fellow citizens in our hearts. It may be in our human nature to do these things, but as God-followers, these things cannot be our response to the election. You are commanded to love your neighbor as yourself.

Wholly human or holy human? The choice is yours.

Holy Moment by Wende Pritchard