“Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever”Psalm 19:9
Reverence, enduring as it may be, is a concept seldom discussed these days and the practise of reverence in attitude or action toward anyone or any thing is a rarity in the culture in which we live.
What picture comes to mind when you consider reverence? A quaint, historical church building adorned with stunning stained glass, complemented by a hushed and holy atmosphere? A sombre, grey haired man garbed in a flowing clerical robe? I’m sure you know there’s more to reverence than this, but you might also agree it’s a challenge to define reverence in a contemporary context.
I believe that twenty-first century believers determined to live their life with a Kingdom-first focus need to familiarise themselves with the concept of reverence. Peter included the following instructions in his first letter: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet 3:15). Peter’s words, directed to local churches, emphasise Christ and the Kingdom of God as the main priority for believers, rather than concern over audience reaction to the delivery of the gospel message.
I think we understand the need for Christ to be our focus and Lord of our life, but are there additional, specific actions we must employ in order to revere him? The definition of the word includes ideas of awe and honour, to glorify and magnify, treasure and respect, cherish, enjoy and take pleasure in. Of course, this doesn’t mean we take up residence in the nearest traditional church building and commit to absorbing the hushed and holy atmosphere, as we worship the Christ vividly portrayed in the images of stained glass. . . Although, atmosphere and ambience can help us to focus our attention on God, so maybe it’s worth our while to spend an afternoon tucked in an old wooden church pew – minus our phone – and let God be God, listen to what he is saying and just . . . revere him.
How to revere our God and Saviour apart from stereotypical settings? First, I believe that reverence cannot be rushed. ‘Oh no,’ you’re thinking, ‘my whole life is one big rush.’ Our western world prescribes that we practice a busy, hectic existence. Pausing in the midst of this kind of lifestyle to glance upwards and pronounce, “Lord, you’re still my No. 1,” before focusing back on your digital screen cannot be deemed reverence. Such a statement may be the truth you live by, but the Person you are proclaiming that truth toward deserves more.
God doesn’t need your reverence but undoubtedly he is worth your time, worth the effort to prioritise your schedule around him and well worth the sacrifice of extra time in order to truly revere him, rather than fill that time-block in your diary with other appointments.