… a Scout is reverent.
“Rise up, rise up! With wings like Eagles.
You’ll run, you’ll run, you’ll run and not grow weary.”
-U2 Drowning Man
What does a U2 song have to do with Boy Scouts? Let’s wander through some thoughts from your Troop Chaplain.
With Scout Sunday falling this week, I’ve been thinking about about reverence. Every time we say the Scout Law, we run down things that the scouts are. I know plenty of you are kind, brave, loyal and trustworthy. Thrifty… eh, maybe?! Clean… some of you could learn to shower during the week at summer camp and once in a while I do hear the utterances of language that is not Scoutworthy, but we can work on that as we go.
But reverent? I feel in my couple of years as the Chaplain I haven’t encouraged you enough in the ways of reverence. But what does it mean to BE reverent?
Let’s look at U2. A long time ago (1976 to be exact) across the sea (in a city called Dublin, Ireland), there lived four boys who were not much older than you boys are now. In fact, Larry Mullen, Jr. was 14 when he held auditions at his house for the band that which would eventually become known as U2. They won contests, they thrilled crowds with their hard, driving rock music in a country (and world) where bubble-gum pop bands like Wham!, Culture Club and Duran Duran were all the rage.
Of the four of them, three were rather devout Christians. They attended youth groups and bible studies together. One of them, the guitarist we know now as “The Edge” thought about leaving the band because he felt rock music wasn’t the place to be if you wanted to profess a life of faith, and dedication to God. Personally, I’m glad he stuck with rock music and found ways to express his faith.
Their early records were full of images of faith, God, religion, worship. The song I quote at the opening uses the same biblical scripture from the Book of Isaiah that is known as the “Eagle” passage. I’ve read it at a few Eagle ceremonies in the past in my invocations. And U2 wrote this song when they were high-school aged young men.
So now I ask you guys … you gentlemen who are about the same age as Larry, Paul (Bono), David (The Edge) and Adam. What are you reverent towards? What or whom do you revere? Some of you have a faith base, a specific church, a strong sense of belief. Others of you haven’t even begun to form these thoughts.
As your chaplain I do not encourage you to a specific belief set.While I do have my own specific belief system my job is not to tell you what to believe and revere, but encourage you in the ways of discovery towards these things.
The time surrounding Scout Sunday is an opportunity for you to talk with me, your Scoutmaster, your parents about faith, and I encourage you to do so. Attending this service with your friends, fellow Scouts, adult leaders and hopefully your parents, this good snowy weekend is a good time to start to ponder these things. God, nature, community, family… hopefully these are things that you already hold dear or will begin to hold dear in your heart.
Hopefully you find this encouraging. You may not become internationally renowned rock stars as you set upon this path, but hopefully you will begin to cultivate reverence and when you speak this word in the Scout Law, you’ll feel it.
Yours in Scouting,