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Holy F-

If you’re sensitive to language, you may want to pass this one up.

As vulgar as it is, the phrase that comes to mind when I’m blown away by some idea or a bittersweet melody or a sunrise is “holy fuck.” I never say the thing, having grown up both southern and legalistic. But apparently that’s the height of my internal expression in the presence of wonder. I wonder if I’ll think the same thing when I finally see Christ: “Holy fuck. It’s him.”

And what a pairing, really. “Holy”—set apart, like God, good, valuable. And “fuck”—perhaps the least valuable word in all of English. It can be used in almost every context, and it’s misused for most of them. It refers to one of the highest and most intimate of activities but in such a lewd and godless way that it strips the act of all truth and beauty.

It sure seems like a very human pairing to me. We, the image bearers of God, fell from great height into great depth. In Christ we are redeemed, but we still hold onto our sinful bodies, until he returns. We are “holy fuck,” aren’t we?

So when I see Christ and can’t help but think, “Holy fuck—it’s him,” I will point both in my thoughts and my being simultaneously to his highness and to my lowness. Here is Christ, and here am I. And as the two words belong no more together than Christ with me, any onlooker, including myself, can really only revel at the God-born mystery that binds us. In that force, that energy, that gravity of God’s unstoppable love, he takes something so essentially human and in joining himself to it makes it something wonderous.

Perhaps someone should write a new worship song. “What can wash away my sins? Holy fuck. It’s him.”