The Sunday Disconnect


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” —Proverbs 9:10, NIV

“When we use the phrase ‘the fear of the Lord’ it does not mean that we should be terrified of God,” said the preacher. “We are talking about reverence, about respect.”

The parishioner sitting halfway down the sanctuary breathed a sigh of relief. It was almost audible because it was being echoed by half of the rest of the congregation. They all “respected” God and kept Him in a special place in their lives. Every Sunday morning they would bring Him out, dust Him off, and let Him ride with them in the backseat of the car all the way to church.

“The Hebrew has several meanings for the word ‘fear,’ as we have it here,” continued the speaker. “Most of us are not familiar with this third meaning, but it contains a wealth of meaning that we should think about. That word is ‘piety’ and it is here that we come to understand that our actions speak louder than words. To be pious is not only to revere God but to be zealous for God, to live a holy life, to fulfill one’s duty as a Christian, to be spiritual, to be a saint. To fear the Lord is to live every detail of life with God’s character and will as the guiding principles of those details.”

With a heavy heart that grew lighter in proportion to his distance from the church, the parishioner loaded his God into the car after the service. This time he put Him in the trunk. He and the family were going out for lunch and then some shopping at the mall before the football game started on Sportsnet. He’d have to make a mental note of where he had left God so that he could find Him next Sunday when he went to church. Oh, he thought, not a problem, we’re going to the lake next weekend. I won’t need Him.

The pastor locked the door to the building as he left. He waved as the last of his congregation sped away, noting that the trunk was slightly ajar. I hope George hasn’t lost anything valuable, he mused.

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