Friday, April 14, 2017

the passion

Passion   pash-un    noun

any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.
strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor.

Word Origin:

1125-75; Middle English (< Old French) < Medieval Latin passiōn- (stemof passiōChrist's sufferings on the cross, any of the Biblical accounts ofthese (> late Old English passiōn), special use of Late Latin passiōsuffering, submission, derivative of Latin passus, past participle of patī tosuffer, submit;

1 Corinthians 13:1
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not PASSION, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not PASSION, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not PASSION, I gain nothing.

This morning, on the day of the Passion of the Christ, I am reminded of the similarities between the word passion and the word love.  I realize that these words are not interchangeable, and that the origins of the word passion have to do with suffering - specifically Jesus' suffering. But the link between these two words is undeniable, and there is a lesson hidden there for us. True love bears the cost of loving - it is willing to suffer for its own existence. Love is closer to passion than we often allow. Love is no meek and mild thing. It is willing to fight. Love suffers long. Love is never safe.

Somehow, we have swallowed the lie that the best thing we can give our loved ones is safety. Our entire world has become consumed with providing everything that is SAFE for our children. In the Broadway musical, Hamilton, there is a song sung by new parents to their young daughter, Theodosia. One of the lines says, "I'll make the world safe and sound for you." The entire song captures the feelings of every new parent. A feeling that is born out of the best intentions. "If I sacrifice everything and work hard, I can give this amazing human being the very best life. I'll fix the world so they can have a life of comfort."

What we don't realize in that moment is that a life of comfort will never satisfy. It only robs us of our true self. If I tell my children "everything they need to know" and discover for them "the best way to live a happy life," they will never find joy in it. It becomes a prison. We were created to explore, discover, and take risks.

At the same time, any church that claims to "have all of the answers" and tells its congregation, "Come learn from us - we will teach you what to believe and how to live," destroys the very life it is trying to save.

Passion requires risk. Passion ceases to exist without the potential for hurt and suffering. Why do we think we should protect against the potential of suffering when God does not? God did not spare his own Son. He does not spare our suffering either. He knows the potential for suffering is required for passion to exist.

Eugene Peterson, in his book, Run with the Horses, writes about a Czech philosopher, Vitezslav Gardavsky, who said, "The terrible threat against life is not death, nor pain, nor any variation on the disasters that we so obsessively try to protect ourselves against with our social systems and personal stratagems. The terrible threat is that we might die earlier than we really do die, before death has become a natural necessity. The real horror lies in just such a premature death, a death after which we go on living for many years.

Passion requires courage, It requires risk. In honour of the One who lived with ultimate passion, embrace something dangerous today. Take a risk. Be vulnerable. Live uncalculating. Unleash your heart. Ask God to show you the desires he Himself has put within your soul. Find a church that inspires you to the search. Listen to people who push you to greatness. Nothing is safe. Life is meant to be lived passionately. God is meant to be pursued relentlessly. Reject ideas that put God in a "safe box." Spend time with those who will include you in their Great Pursuit of Him!