This month marks 9 years I have served as a certified, professional, card carrying, member of clergy. I even have a license. (it is in my wallet next to my ID in case I get pulled over on the freeway. #dontjudgeme)
But what does it mean to be a reverend in 2015?
Reverence: “a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration.”
Does that mean at least part of my job description is to demonstrate “reverence” on a professional level?
“Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”
I wonder if anyone ever considered Jesus Christ “irreverent.” Turning water into wine at parties, surrounded by sketchy friends, recruiting disciples with shady backgrounds…
The certified, professional, card carrying reverends in Jesus’ day were called Pharisees and acted much like a religious police and Jesus drove them crazy. Jesus was a religious professional too, but his approach to “reverence” was much different.
“When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
I wonder if Jesus considered the Pharisees IRREVERENT. I wonder if he saw them as leaders who had lost their “deep respect and awe” for the mission of God. Maybe, to Jesus, the most IRREVERENT thing to do would be to PULL AWAY from sinners? Like withholding a cure from a sick person. Maybe, to Jesus, the ULTIMATE REVERENCE… that which would demonstrate the deepest respect and awe for the mission of God, would be the PURSUIT of sinners.
Maybe to God, the most REVERENT thing we can do is take the sacrifice of his Son seriously and PURSUE the sinners he gave his life for.
My prayer for you and me in 2015, is that we grow less concerned with the “dirtiness” or “sickness” of others rubbing off on us, and more concerned if his holiness and cure are rubbing off on others. REVERENTLY concerned.
For me, that may mean attending more parties, making more sketchy friends and recruiting more shady sinners to Freedom Church…
Because I am a reverend.