The Holy Room

October 11, 2017
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Listen while you read: "And Can It Be That I Should Gain"1 (Lyrics)

Leviticus 22:32b – I must be acknowledged as holy … I am the Lord, who makes you holy. (NIV)

I'll never forget the "Holy Room" in my childhood house. We didn't call it that, but that's how it got treated. Although holy means sacred and consecrated, it also means set apart and separate from common use. This is the definition that I have in mind as I draw on memories of our "Holy Room" in an attempt to highlight the distinctiveness of our Lord and of our calling, "Be holy, because I am holy." (1 Peter 1:16b NIV, from Leviticus 11:44b)

Our "Holy Room" was special and distinct. Here were displayed treasured items like china, lace, and heirlooms. We kids were kept out — for a good reason: We'd desecrate it! Our hands were often dirty, and our respect for this room was far from pure. We'd turn the couch into a trampoline, and it would go downhill from there. I think of the psalmist's words: "Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart." (Psalm 24:3b-4a NIV 2011)

On special occasions, company visited in the "Holy Room". They wore their Sunday best — in other words, not their barn clothes. This was farm country. Farmers had only two kinds of clothes: the "holy" and the common. Wearing Sunday clothes helped us to preserve the sanctity of the room and kept the visit special and distinct from the everyday life of hard, dirty work with animals and land. The rest of our house was common space, for common purposes — tainted with the marks of everyday life: dents, dirt, straw, dog hair, and toys.

In Old Testament times, all kinds of things were set apart as holy: ground, a mountain, days, artifacts, food, and above all, God's people. Distinctiveness was to immerse every aspect of life, even their clothing. Distinctiveness was the mark that reminded them who they were: a people set apart in identity and purpose, to reflect the holiness of God. That's how the Holy One would be recognized among the nations as utterly distinct from their cultural deities and practices.

Today, believers are also marked by distinctiveness, not through a law code, but through God's Spirit setting them apart by salvation and empowering them to reflect God's holy nature.

We kids obeyed the "Holy Room" laws because we had to. We never complained, but neither did we care about the reason for the rules: to protect something lovely and to honour the wishes of the lawgiver (our parents). Actually, we preferred common living, which in itself was quite fine.

However, it's not fine when professing Christians prefer the common ways of the world, unconcerned about everyday marks of ungodliness in their character or faith communities. Scripture repeatedly emphasizes holiness. For example, "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14 NIV 2011)

Prayer: Refiner's fire, my heart's one desire is to be holy and set apart for You, that I may reflect the beauty of Your holiness. Hallowed be Thy name! Amen.

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About the author:

Diane Eaton <>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the good word, Diane.

    A very thought-provoking message Diane. Thanks for sharing.

    Thanks Diane
    Such an interesting interpretation of what I recall being called, “The Parlour:”

    What a wonderful devotional. The story of the “Holy Room” of your growing up and the connection with the Holy Room which we live as Christians is perfect. Thank you.

    We too had a room that was ‘set apart’. This is a beautiful comparison and lesson to all of us to remember that we too are ‘set apart’ – and our behaviour and our way of relating to others should make that obvious.
    Thanks so much Diane.

    Thanks Diane, for reminding me of houses I’ve visited. Ushered into the parlor, I always felt odd sitting in that spotless, rarely used room. I was always much more comfortable visiting at the kitchen table with my hands wrapped around a steaming mug of coffee. May we always invite our Lord to be with us around our kitchen table, i.e., into the heart of our homes and lives.

    I am sincerely thankful for your devotional this morning. It is my prayer that I may reflect the fruits of the Holy Spirit through this day and every day. I want to honour God but the tempter is sly and can catch a person off guard. I was so blessed to have a precious Godly mother. I am nearly 87 now and her teaching helps me more now than ever before. Thank you for your inspired message. I’m always blessed by your messages.

    Dear Diane,
    Loved this. I keep a sitting room and a dining room ready for company at all times.
    It’s so nice to have a place to sit to visit or to solve a problem with a family member, or work on a project, or play the piano for a bit. I do not understand people giving up a formal dining room!
    Thanks for your devotion. Your point on “holiness” is well taken!

    Dear Diane,
    This devotional reminds me of my grandparents’ big farm house where the dining-room was the regularly used living room, and the smaller “parlor” was separated from the dining-room by double sliding doors. The piano was in the parlor that also accommodated the tightly fitted-in chesterfield and easy chair and one or two slim wooden chairs. Here we had hymn-sings on Sunday evenings when relatives from several families visited and a few more dining-room chairs were added to the now-opened sliding-door space.
    You get the picture: the hymn-sings made the parlor “holy.”
    Keep writing, Diane.

    Hi Diane: I really enjoyed this devotional. Your description of a “holy room” was very evocative for me, and recreated images from my own childhood.

    Hi Diane,
    One of my wife’s aunts had a holy room, only used on Sunday when there was company.
    So, we are familiar with this subject.
    Thank you for writing.

    Hello Diane,
    My grandparents had a “Holy room” too so I can relate. Your comparison to our Holy God is so appropriate and how we must take time to be holy and worship Him.
    Thank you so much.

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