What counts as holy?

by Fletcher Lowe

“Engines and steel, loud pounding hammers, sing to the Lord a new song;

limestone and beams, loud building workers, sing to the Lord a new song.

He has done marvelous things; I too will praise him with a new song!”

So goes verse 4 of a great new (1968) hymn Earth and all stars, sung to an equally new and lively tune!

Included in this hymn are those for which we are singing a new song: hail and rain, loud blowing snowstorms; trumpet and pipes, loud clashing cymbals; classrooms and labs, loud boiling test tubes; daughter and son, loud praying members, sing to the Lord a new song!

How incarnate in daily life can we get!! Behind each element listed are people making things happen.  And behind each of those people, known or unknown, is the Incarnate Lord to whom new songs are being sung!!

What a view of life – no thing is out of bounds for us to sing praises to the Lord.

But that is key to who we are as followers of the Incarnate One: that God in Christ became a common and ordinary human being, grew up in a common and ordinary village with common and ordinary parent, met and preached to and healed and worked with common and ordinary folks. He blessed common and ordinary bread and wine: the holy communion, the holy common-union; the union of the hoy and the common in such common and ordinary things like bread and wine. Who are we to deny the sacredness of any things, any human being?

No day (e.g., Sunday) is more holy; no building (e.g., a church) is more holy; no person (e.g., clergy) is more holy; no food (e.g., Eucharist) is more holy. The Episcopal Church’s definition of a sacrament is “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” Church-wise we may limit sacraments to Baptism and the Eucharist and maybe five others; but outside the church every thing can be a sacrament, an outward and visible sign that can bring us inward and spiritual grace – including rain and hail and loud blowing snowstorms.  For our God is the Incarnate One, “the Word [who] became flesh and pitched his tent among us” (John 1:18).  And that sense of en-fleshment opens up everything to be godly. “He has done marvelous things; I too will praise him with a new song!”

limestone and beams, loud building workers, sing to the Lord a new song.

He has done marvelous things; I too will praise him with a new song!”

So goes verse 4 of a great new (1968) hymn Earth and all stars, sung to an equally new and lively tune!

Included in this hymn are those for which we are singing a new song: hail and rain, loud blowing snowstorms; trumpet and pipes, loud clashing cymbals; classrooms and labs, loud boiling test tubes; daughter and son, loud praying members, sing to the Lord a new song!

How incarnate in daily life can we get!! Behind each element listed are people making things happen.  And behind each of those people, known or unknown, is the Incarnate Lord to whom new songs are being sung!!

What a view of life – no thing is out of bounds for us to sing praises to the Lord.

But that is key to who we are as followers of the Incarnate One: that God in Christ became a common and ordinary human being, grew up in a common and ordinary village with common and ordinary parent, met and preached to and healed and worked with common and ordinary folks. He blessed common and ordinary bread and wine: the holy communion, the holy common-union; the union of the hoy and the common in such common and ordinary things like bread and wine. Who are we to deny the sacredness of any things, any human being?

No day (e.g., Sunday) is more holy; no building (e.g., a church) is more holy; no person (e.g., clergy) is more holy; no food (e.g., Eucharist) is more holy. The Episcopal Church’s definition of a sacrament is “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” Church-wise we may limit sacraments to Baptism and the Eucharist and maybe five others; but outside the church every thing can be a sacrament, an outward and visible sign that can bring us inward and spiritual grace – including rain and hail and loud blowing snowstorms.  For our God is the Incarnate One, “the Word [who] became flesh and pitched his tent among us” (John 1:18).  And that sense of en-fleshment opens up everything to be godly. “He has done marvelous things; I too will praise him with a new song!”

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