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Mary Kassian: I loved thunderstorms when I was a little girl, though we only got a few of them each summer in western Canada where I grew up. But whenever I heard the skies begin to clap and rumble, I’d quickly go and grab a blanket and head outside.

There was a narrow strip of dry concrete just outside the front door where the overhang of the roof kept it dry and kept the rain from falling. There I nestled into the corner and tucked myself in and settled down to watch the show.

Sometimes I’d stay in that cocoon for hours, fascinated by the jagged light flashes that would split open the sky. After each flash, I’d count, “One, one thousand; two, one thousand; three, one thousand,” until the inevitable rumble interrupted my tally.

My mom would usually poke her head out of the door to check on me, and she’d give me a big mug of steaming hot chocolate. And, if I was lucky, there’d be a big, puffy marshmallow floating in the froth.

The spectacle of lightning absolutely amazed me. To me, it was better than any New Year’s Eve fireworks display. I was wowed!

I recall one big lightning storm that fired down hail stones the size of golf balls, and some of them, the size of hard balls. I thought it was hilarious. I went out to my dad’s garage and threw on a raincoat, threw on his hard hat, and took a metal garbage can lid as a shield, and I sprinted around the yard collecting specimens. (laughter.) I insisted that we store the large ones in the freezer for months so I could show them off to my friends and brag about all my exploits.

In retrospect, my attitude was rather callow. Have you ever heard that word? Callow? It means immature or inexperienced. A callow is a young bird that’s just hatched and is bald. It hasn’t grown any feathers yet. I was naïve. I didn’t grasp the immense power of lightning, and I didn’t appreciate that it could be dangerous, even deadly.

Years later, while camping in the mountains, I found that out. I was caught in a horrific thunderstorm. The lightning and thunder were violent and incessant. There was no counting between the flashes and the boom—ear-splitting booms. Water streamed into my tent. The wind threatened to rip it from its pegs. I scrambled to collect all my water-logged gear and evacuate.

As I crawled out of the collapsing canvas, a massive bolt of lightning struck a tree nearby sending fire and sparks erupting. The bark was exploding and branches were catapulting to the ground.

That was the first time in my life I was scared of lightning—first time that lightning frightened me. It was so big and mighty. I was so small and powerless.

After that night, I wasn’t a little callow bird anymore. I had grown some feathers. My attitude toward thunderstorms had matured from one of mere admiration to include fear, awe, and deep respect.

I think that Christians in this culture often have a callow attitude towards the Lord. We love Him, but we don’t fear Him. We’re entertained, but we don’t stand in awe. We call Him friend, but we don’t respect Him as Lord.

Fear, awe, and respect are all synonyms for the virtue I want to discuss this session—reverence.

Older women, likewise, are to be reverent in behavior (Titus 2:3).

Now, the dictionary defines reverence as a feeling or an attitude of deep respect. Older women are to be deeply respectful.

If I were to ask you, “What’s the most important virtue for women?”

You might say, “Well, to be kind.” Or some of you might say, “To be loving.”

I doubt that …