“Holy” is not a word we use in conventional English…but I think the concept of holiness is one that we use all the time. The closest categories we articulate are: “worth” or “beauty,” maybe even “glory.” So some people who really like a particular brand of computer attribute great worth and beauty to it…. J.J. Abrams said in a TED Talk that his particular laptop inspired him, ‘what will you write that is worthy of me?’ I like computers too, and I think there are computer geeks who can relate. But what he’s really articulating is not about “beauty” or “worth” of the laptop, but a sense of what was to him, its holiness…
I happen to have that same brand of computer, and I like it, and it cost a lot of money (more for me than for him because it’s a greater portion of my income), and I too think it is well designed, etc etc…. BUT, to my middle-aged self, right now, it’s just a computer. Mine has crumbs on it, buggars (not mine), cat schmoo, the works; my screen has finger prints on it. I have a stack of old laptops gathering dust in the closet. I see it’s worth and “beauty” but it’s just a thing… What Abrams’ computer had meant for him at that time was something more…. I’m not saying this to criticize him, I’m a LOST fan too; but to point out that the concept here is not really about appreciating “beauty” or “worth” but holiness.
Check out the picture.. You may not know what this is… It’s is an aluminum valve stem for a motorcycle…it’s the part of the wheel where you put in the air… A regular valve stem costs a few cents, but a nice aluminum valve stem can cost around $20 depending on the make (this one cost maybe $4). But for people for whom a motorcycle is not JUST a motorcycle, but something… holy, and special – then a regular $0.50 valve stem just won’t do. Of course if you ask someone who spent $20 on a valve stem, they’d tell you it is precision machined and superior to the $0.50 valve stem found on virtually every other vehicle. But the real reason doesn’t have to do with logic or performance, the real reason has to do with a sense of the thing’s (in this case, the motorcycle’s) holiness. It is set apart, it’s not like the others, it is…holy.
Now because we are spiritual creatures we always hold something(s) holy in our hearts: I hear the way people pronounce the name of certain companies they would love to work for, or schools they’d love to attend, or things they’d like to own…. It’s the sound of our tongues pronouncing holy names… there’s often a pause right before you say it… Harvard. I went to [pause] Princeton. I have an interview at [pause] Google. I had to get gas for my [pause] Audi. If you are indoctrinated into the religion of this world, you cannot help but hold certain things holy, you’ve been trained in these religions all your life.
What happens in the life of a Christian is, we start to see God as Holy, Holy, Holy. In Hebrew that is literally Holy x 3; the word repetition intensifies its meaning. It’s not that I don’t care about your month in Paris or your Louboutin shoes – I still see the aura of what the world thinks is holy, but God becomes even more so. You wouldn’t go to an interview at Harvard or Google without being well rested and prepared – even if it was just a casual meeting with some higher ups, most people feeling the holiness of those names would go and put forward their best effort. In the same way, people who see God as holy holy holy treat the things of God with utmost importance: like they’re meeting their favorite celebrity, like they’re meeting a recruiter for their favorite company, like they’re meeting the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with, like they’re going to pick up their new car, like they’re going to meet the one who is their dream come true. The crazy thing in this backwards upside down world of ours is that we value things of no value and lust after them – meanwhile God is free for the taking.