a phrase in the New Testament (1 Peter 3:16), I’ve been pondering the vital
importance of reverence and gentleness.
is about acknowledging our limits. I
don’t know everything and can’t do everything.
Sometimes, I am wrong about what I think I know, and I make a mess out
of the things I do. There are
gifts and talents I don’t have, questions I am not smart enough to ask, much
less to answer, and needs I have which I can’t possibly meet on my own.
me to celebrate the capacities and abilities of other people. They deserve my
respect, delight, and gratitude for who they are and what they can do. Because their limits are not the same as
mine, they teach, help, and inspire me. They open me to the wonder of God’s creativity
and artistry in their lives.
respecting reality—seeing the truth, shaping our lives to match it, honoring
the demands of the present moment, and coming to terms with the lives we have
in the here and now.
all, reverence means being awestruck over the greatness, graciousness, and
goodness of God. We listen for God’s
voice amid all the others, enact God’s ways in our daily lives, and reflecting the
divine spirit of love and life in our relationships with other people.
reverence, because it takes us beneath superficiality to the sacred dimensions
of life. We also need gentleness, crave
tenderness, yearn for understanding, and long for compassion. Unfortunately, we have a way of forgetting
how healing a lingering gaze, a soft voice, a light touch, common laughter,
shared tears, a whispered prayer, and a slower pace can be. There is far too much rush, hurry, pressure,
and force in most of our lives. There
is, though, sweet music in tenderness, renewed life in gentleness, and restoring
love in compassion.
As amazing as it is, I
trust it to be the gospel truth that Jesus has reverence for us. He treats us with respect, honor, and
dignity. He has given, and is giving,
his whole life to convince you how much we matter to him and to the world. He wants us to matter to ourselves.
And, Jesus has gentleness
for us. In every moment of our lives, he
says to us: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am
gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke
is easy, and my burden is light.”