Scoutmaster Musings - Reverent


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Scoutmaster Musings

Reverent
From the Scout Handbook - "A Scout is reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others."

As a scout experiences the wonders of the outdoors, stormy weather and calm blue skies, pounding surf and trickling streams, bitter cold and stifling heat, towering trees and barren desert, he experiences the work of God. Appreciating life in its multitude of forms, from the smallest insects to gigantic wildlife, a scout comes to terms with his place in the world. Though humans are the dominant beings on our planet, we need to play the role of steward rather than king - tending and caring for our world instead of taking all we can for our own comfort.

As technology continues to become more and more prevalent and people visit the wild places less and less, our connection to and understanding of our natural environment lessens. We take shelter, food, comfort, and entertainment for granted rather than needing to work for it. When we never have to harvest an apple from a tree, kill a fish or animal for meat, or put on layers of clothes to stay warm, we lose the sense of awe and respect we should have for nature.

Many outdoors people claim that the wilderness is their 'church' rather than a specific structure or organization. These people revere in the awesome power of God by being in the thick of natural creation. The reverence expressed for the world and its creation is common ground that all scouts can reach when struggling to understand the last point of the Scout Law.

No matter the specific religion or denomination, being reverent toward God should include our natural environment. In nature, there is no good or evil, just survival. Animals don't have the human vices of lust, pride, envy, gluttony, greed, sloth, and anger. We can learn a lot about simplifying and enjoying life from observing the wild creatures. We can also learn how our ability to care for and serve others puts us above the simple animals.

While in the wilds, a scout may come face-to-face with God. He may feel God around him in the wind, the water, the earth, and the open, wild beauty. When the scout returns home, he needs to continue that respect and awe toward God by participating in the practices of his religion. Becoming a complete citizen includes fulfilling expectations of the church to which a person belongs. What a great opportunity to share with other youth and adults in his church, when he returns from a backpacking trek. Faithfully performing his religious duties demonstrates his reverence while in civilization.

Respecting the beliefs of others can be a challenge. It does not mean to accept and believe those other beliefs. It means to allow other people the freedom to believe what they have found to be true in their lives. In a scout troop associated with a specific church, practices of that church can be used on scouting activities with everyone having the same belief structure. But, in troops with scouts from various beliefs, we need to be careful not to promote specific practices of one group. For example, requiring scouts to remove their hats at grace may be appropriate for some religions but may be a demonstration of disrespect to God for another.

Reverence fosters joy and a cheerful heart, able to appreciate and care for the good in life.

A Scout is Reverent.
Posted: 15:34 03-04-2008 315
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