In the Old Testament there were all sorts of reminders of God’s holiness and his holy requirements for his people. There were holy places and spaces…holy things and holy people. The temple was holy and so were parts of the temple like the altar. The priestly garments were holy as were the priests themselves. Then there was the Most Holy place that required holy people to do holy things on one particular holy day wearing particularly holy things to gain access to that extra holy spot.
God gave them visible reminders of the fact that things were different with them than it was with the nations. Along with that, God was unlike the “gods” of the nations and was to be approached in his own peculiar ways, each one a powerful and often visible reminder of holiness. When you put on the priestly garb that Aaron had to sport, I imagine it was impossible not to think of holiness…or when you entered through the curtain to the Most Holy places, I am sure holiness was on one’s mind.
High church captures a lot of this…visible reminders of holiness. Low church, such as those of us in Churches of Christ, don’t have robes and incense, extra holy places and people and things. Instead, we have emphasized that we are all holy people and priests (1 Peter 2:9) and in doing so are tempted to lose all sense of holiness. It is like when you like a book so much that you underline nearly every single line…you finally realize that underlining everything is really underlining nothing. Because we are ALL God’s priests…His saints and his temple where his Spirit dwells, I think we have a harder time conceptualizing holiness. At least I do. I cannot speak for you.
It is important we recapture our understanding of holiness. We don’t have to wear special robes to do that be we do need to recognize that we are special people and that worshiping God is a very special thing.