Intimacy with God, originally uploaded by Christopher Rauch.
Can reverence coexist with intimacy? are respect and reverence on the same continuum? I remember fear going hand in hand with respect, As in my early relationship with my father, but this was hardly reverential. A popular (it seems) statement is that "fear" in the bible can be more accurately translated as reverential trust, but it seems to me, that contextually, this can not always be the case... for instance there is a passage where Jesus admonishes his listeners to not fear who can only kill the body, but rather, sensibly enough, to fear or fear more, the one who can destroy the body as well as the soul. Also, there is a passage where he warns in the parable of the servant who is forgiven a great debt...of the wrath that awaits if we do not forgive others. To substitute reverential trust for the mainstream concept of fear, makes both of these passages unworkable, does it not? I have a yardstick in my relational concept of the earthly father/son relationship that provides a basis for me to intuit/remember fear and intimacy side by side, though most definitely...the more fear... the less intimacy.
It is difficult to reconcile reverence with intimacy...I associate intimacy with words like comfortable, relaxed, and familiar. I do not associate these with reverence. Can a man choose his feelings? We can act reverential, but this seems religious, and legalistic instead of relational. I seem powerless to choose my feelings. I cannot even choose to feel fear, but simply act wary if I think I should be cautious. My God, the God of the Bible, is so difficult to pin down and to understand. For so many years, to feel like I know someone has been equated with having a feel for their character, a knowledge of what they may say or do in certain situations. I am comfortable with the notion that paradox is inescapeable when considering the Maker of All Things, but still...Reverence is a form of Awe...or is it?
This is difficult to think through and duty calls (sleep calls, too). Perhaps it is like a father who requires his sons to call him "Sir" (my own father did not do this, though for a brief period I addressed him as "Sir" because one of my friends did this with their dad, and I thought it was cool.) Resolution eludes me... but I feel that it is perhaps arrogant, this angst I feel. To insist fruitlessly that God interact with me according to the template of my experience and expectation.