I remember the first time I was given the chance to be the acolyte at our small Lutheran church in Georgia.
I was probably about thirteen and was good at chasing butterflies.
I was distractible.
This was in the days before ADHD…but I remember myself as being the classic undiagnosed case.
But when I was given the opportunity to carry the flame up to the front of that little white church, my focus was laser like.
I think that I must have felt like I was some sort of facilitator…like I was the one who was going to bring the Holy Spirit into the church and allow the service to begin.
I remember each measured step, watching the flame at the end of that brass…what was it called? I know it wasn’t called the fire pole…it must have had a name…that wick…watching it like what I was doing was important.
I was still a child but what I was doing was important.
What I was doing was worthy of reverence.
Maybe a better way to say it is that what I was doing demanded an attitude of reverence. I don’t think anyone reveres me.
I think that’s a pretty powerful feeling to be able to give a child. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot that we find ourselves able to sincerely revere these days.
To allow a child to feel their importance in the Creation is a good thing.
To be able to teach them to revere their connection to both the Creator and His Creation is even better.
We’re kind of a nation of smart a**** these days.
(That’s the kettle calling the pot black, of course. I’m very guilty of being a smart aleck most of the time.)
I don’t think that reverence has much meaning these days.
It isn’t a “kinda like” or “yeah…they’re OK” or “I guess it was good” type of response that I think we’re after here.
But that’s the response we give. It’s like we’re afraid to fully commit to something that’s worthy of more than complete commitment.
The definition of revere says “show devoted deferential honor to”.
Who knew that was what I was doing when they let me slow down long enough to carry that tiny flame through that small church?
( And as an aside, that was probably one of the only times a group of adults felt comfortable with me walking around inside any building with something on fire. It was probably a big moment for me for a number of reasons.)
“Devoted deferential honor”…that’s a pretty heavy thought.
I can do irreverence in my sleep. That world view comes easy. It’s easy to relax into gentle sarcasm and pointed humor, deflecting lack of substance with self-deprecating observations.
It’s not hard to suspect that most of the world is a curious place lacking the worthiness that would allow me to respond to it in a way that shows respect.
To give myself over to love in a way that would allow me to fully revere…to show reverence in the best and most complete sense of that word….now, that is something to shoot for.
When you’re a child, you probably don’t know what the word “reverence” means.
But…maybe that’s when you understand it the best.
I don’t really know…but I’d like to.