“Have we lost what it means to be reverent?” our friend asked the other evening when we were sharing about the joys and challenges of being grandparents.
This topic came up because I had shared that I didn’t want to be a “crabby old lady, frowning at random little children who are misbehaving” when we attend gatherings of the church.
If you are looking, you will always be able to find some poor, unsuspecting child who is;
* running in the church building
* laughing when it is time to be quiet
* picking up all the bulletins that have just been set out
on the seats
* taking the last 6 donuts from the adult Sunday School
class refreshment counter
Yet the point our friend was making – that is very significant – is that we seem to have lost a sense of reverence for being in God’s presence.
God’s word tells us that where two or three are GATHERED IN HIS NAME God is there with us!!!
Do we value that? Is it of utmost importance that we recognize the presence of the GOD OF THE UNIVERSE?!
Biblical folks were struck speechless, glowed, blinded, and transformed after an encounter with the living God.
We may be checking our Facebook page or texting when in corporate worship. What is that telling our children or grandchildren?
The definition of reverence is a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration.
How do we practically demonstrate reverence when we have small children (grandchildren) that we include in times of worship?
Several practical things came to mind. You may think of others but here goes:
1) be intentional about times of corporate worship. We are there to WORSHIP GOD! not a multitude of other things.
2) turn off all electronic devices and have family members do so as well. You will survive, trust me.
3) quiet yourself. This may not mean not talking to anyone, or it may. It does mean being quiet enough to sense the Lord’s presence.
4) focus on God’s presence through the prayers, worship songs, preaching and teaching, testimonies, etc.
5) take every thought captive. When my mind starts to make a grocery list, stop, re-focus.
6) ENJOY the time of corporate worship. This will be the most important aspect of communicating reverence to our children and grandchildren. When they SEE that we find joy in God’s presence, it is contagious.
I do believe that pastors, elders, Sunday School teachers, but most of all parents need to communicate clearly with children what it means to be reverent. Children will value what they see the adults they love and respect value.
Jesus was going to the temple to pray to his Father. At the entrance he saw crooks selling animals for sacrifices at exorbitant prices. He flew into a rage because they were making His Father’s house of worship into something else.
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”
Jesus took reverence for His Father and His house of worship very seriously.
So must we.