Reverence is the recognition of something greater than the self—something that is beyond human creation or control, that transcends full human understanding. God certainly meets those criteria, but so do birth, death, sex, nature, justice, and wisdom…
Reverence stands in awe of something—something that dwarfs the self, that allows human beings to sense the full extent of our limits—so that we can begin to see one another more reverently as well…
The practice of paying attention does take time. Most of us move so quickly that our surroundings become no more than the blurred scenery we fly past on our way to somewhere else. We pay attention to the speedometer, the wristwatch, the cell phone, the list of thing to do, all of which feed our illusion that life is manageable. Meanwhile, none of them meets the first criterion for reverence, which is to remind us that we are not gods. If anything, these devices sustain the illusion that we might yet be gods—if only we could find some way to do more faster.
Holy God, you invite us to open our eyes and really SEE, to perk up our ears and really LISTEN… to pay attention to all that is greater than us. Slow us down in this moment… to pay attention to you and your Word with reverence… that we might also learn to revere the holy in one another… and in each person, each creature, we encounter. In your name we pray… amen.
John 18:33-37 (Contemporary English Version)
33Pilate then went back inside. He called Jesus over and asked, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
34Jesus answered, "Are you asking this on your own or did someone tell you about me?"
35"You know I'm not a Jew!" Pilate said. "Your own people and the chief priests brought you to me. What have you done?"
36Jesus answered, "My kingdom doesn't belong to this world. If it did, my followers would have fought to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. No, my kingdom doesn't belong to this world."
37"So you are a king," Pilate replied.
"You are saying that I am a king," Jesus told him. "I was born into this world to tell about the truth. And everyone who belongs to the truth knows my voice."
Teacher Jesus, when the powerful tried to cut you down to size, you taught them of God’s kind of power. And when you gave your life for the world, we were connected forever to God’s kingdom. Draw us now, into your kind of power. Teach us how to hear your voice above all other voices. In your name we pray… amen.
Come, Lord Jesus by Madeleine L’Engle
Come, my Lord! Our darkness end!
Break the bonds of time and space.
All the power of evil rend
By the radiance of your face.
The laughing stars with joy attend:
Come, Lord, Jesus! Be my end!
Lord Jesus, there are so many different endings that we face, losses that have left us without closure: lost employment, the deaths of loved ones, relationships that are on rocky ground, dreams that didn’t come true. And then we have endings that feel right, like we know it’s time to move on and start again. Fill us with confidence in you. Help us to trust that you are there at all our beginnings and endings, giving us the courage and strength we need. In your name we pray… amen.