“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.” (Rev 4:8)
Holy, holy, holy is the lord almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory’. (Isaiah 6:3)
These verses from the prophet Isaiah and from the book of revelation are echoed in lots of Communion liturgy:
‘Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory’
Holiness means to be set apart. God called on Israel to be holy, to be set apart from other peoples. God called for the Sabbath to Holy and to be set apart, a time where no work should take place. God is holy, God is uniquely set apart, because of his uncreatedness.
God calls us to be holy, to be set apart, and this is what we enact as we move through the communion liturgy. We sing or say ‘holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might’. This comes just as before we ask God to enact change. We invoke the holy spirit over the bread and wine, and over the people. We also repeat the transforming words of Jesus: ‘this is my body … this is my blood’. We call upon God’s promise of transformational holiness. (Paul Kennedy)
Augustine of Hippo an African bishop (354-430AD) tells us that this is not just about transforming bread and wine, but rather it is mainly about our own calling to be holy, to be the body of Christ.
If you, therefore, are Christ’s body and members, it is your own mystery that is placed on the Lord’s table! It is your own mystery that you are receiving! You are saying “Amen” to what you are: your response is a personal signature, affirming your faith. When you hear “The body of Christ”, you reply “Amen.” Be a member of Christ’s body, then, so that your “Amen” may ring true! (Augustine, sermon 272, a sermon on pentecost)
We are called to be holy, as we move through communion, we affirm our decision to become the body of Christ, and we are transformed