In the whirlwind on Sunday–after the landmark vote that called Kathy Bouchard to serve as our Associate Pastor but before I rushed through airport security to fly to Denver and join up with our high school mission team–I checked the Worship Info worksheet staff shares and saw that this Sunday, I’m preaching on the gift of the Holy Spirit of Reverence, or Piety.
Thanks a lot, past Arthur!, I thought to myself as I hopped into Gary’s truck. You must understand–I think I’m the least reverent person I know. I used to refer to myself as the Irreverend. (I’m currently dating someone who jokingly uses the nickname “The Anti-Social Worker,” so I’m in good company.) At my admissions interview at Brite, I was told I present myself with a complete lack of false piety; and I think part of that is my problem. Can piety be true in who and how we are?
Can the Holy Spirit gift us reverence in our irreverence?
I am writing this at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, from the second floor of the Tennyson Center for Children in Denver, Colorado. It’s a breath mark, a brief pause, after a seven and a half hour day of working alongside classes of kids who are survivors and thrivers in terrible life situations. It’s been challenging–everyone has stories, and I’m sure you’ll hear some that will knock your socks off, in more than one way. And in this breath mark, the youth (and sponsors) are all pretty wiped out, because the work they are doing is holy and they’re seeing it. We will leave this place in a few days changed and having effected change; grown and having effected growth; loved and having effected love. And when it’s tied to the Gospel, the point of all this, we can look back and forward and maybe experience reverence.
Of course, I’ve told the youth I’ll just be preaching on the pie part of piety, listing the different kinds and varieties I can think of in lieu of a sermon this week. The irreverence at times cannot only not be helped, but is needed. But truly, we’ll all be together again in worship Sunday, and searching out how and why and when we can seek to be reverent, and what it ultimately means if the Spirit thrusts it into our souls.
The mission is going fantastically, these youth are amazing, and three cheers for Zane and Melissa for being pinnacles of leadership. It is a pleasure to serve, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.