Reverence for God is an important value to have

Published 7:51 pm Wednesday, July 3, 2019


Religion Columnist

We are so richly blessed to be American citizens, and our nation is an amazing blessing to the rest of the world.  It is unprecedented that any country can rise to the place of power on the world stage as quickly as our nation has. I believe the reason our nation has experienced so many blessings, so much freedom and affected so much of our world positively is because of the strong Christian faith of so many of our leaders over the centuries. 

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I first encountered the word “reverence” when I joined Scouts U.S.A.  (The new name of Boy Scouts of America since girls have been welcomed.) It is the 12th point of the scout law, a list of 12 values that each Boy Scout is challenged to live by.  The scout book describes reverence toward God as, “A scout is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.” 

As a teenager, I was involved in a scout troop that went on a camp-out, canoe trip or hike every month. That meant we were usually out on Sundays, but we always took time to worship God on our outings, which emphasized the importance of all 12 points of the scout law.  Though all of the scouts would usually complain about chapel services, I remember them being very meaningful with forests and lakes decorating our sanctuaries. It seemed God was present, in a special way, in those simple services with volunteer worship leaders.

Over the years, I have seen numerous lists of moral values that are central to living a life of integrity. Surprisingly, reverence is not often on those lists. Yet, without reverence for God, all the other values can be reduced to useful tools, to find success in life and respect from others.  But, when we choose to be reverent toward God, all the other values we choose flow through our lives as an expression of our faith, and thanks to God for his many blessings.

Throughout the Bible there are calls to show reverence to God.  The second and fourth commandments call us to worship God only and to keep the Sabbath holy. Jesus regularly worshipped in the synagogues as he traveled and preached, and commanded us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

In the 1960s, most states had “Blue Laws” which were designed to enforce religious standards.  Sundays were church days, with no competition from commercial and recreation interests.  I have also heard, and read, of many people who learned their most important lessons of faith from public school teachers, who would lead prayers and Bible readings as part of the opening ceremonies of a school day. The media was sensitive to people’s religious interests, and the movie industry produced movies with religious themes regularly.

Those “Blue Laws” were removed from the books as the 60s came to an end.  Today, we must make time to worship and pray on Sundays, or cultural pressures will fill our time with other activities. Our legal system continues to seek to remove signs of any religion from public life.  And even today, many of the great religious movies we watch were produced years ago. Add to these dramatic changes, the fact that the high-tech world is not a spiritual world. Christians today must choose to be reverent, or reverence toward God will surely fade away in our lives.

The loss will likely be very subtle, like the eroding of any other value we cherish, but the consequences of letting our faith in God become weak will lead to spiritual suicide, and a loss of meaning and purpose in life. How reverent are you toward God? How often do you set aside cherished time to let God come into your life, and give you meaning and purpose for life? Do you try to be reverent by doing things privately? How is that working in your life? Is your spiritual life full and rich, or shallow and weak? What changes does God want you to make to be more reverent?

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