This article was written for the March 2010 issue of The Messenger, the newsletter of St. John Lutheran Church, Sterling, IL.
In the last month, I’ve been thinking a lot about passion. What is that we are truly passionate about? What motivates us? What gives us zeal for life and a willingness to serve?
The English word “passion” comes from the Greek word “pascho” (PASS-ko) meaning “to suffer” or “to endure.” Notably, when we refer to the sufferings of Jesus on the cross, we call that the “Passion of Christ.” In short, the word passion points us to what we are willing to suffer for. If we are passionate for something, we are willing to suffer or endure many things for it. Especially as we send this newsletter just around Easter, we ought to remember that the passion of Christ was for us – that Jesus was willing to suffer the cross for our sake. So my larger question is: since Jesus endured so much for us in his Passion, what will we be passionate about in thanks to God?
I think we need to be passionate about the same thing Jesus was passionate about: people. Jesus went around healing people, teaching people, and blessing people as he proclaimed the Kingdom of God. If we’re going to be Jesus people, we should be passionate about the same thing. How can we reach out to people, take care of them, teach them, and be a blessing to them? How can that ministry be extended beyond the walls of our community at St. John’s and into the wider community in the Sterling-Rock Falls area?
I’ve found that I have the most passion when I am involved in a regular discipline of prayer. As the Lord says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” (Matthew 7.7). Simply choosing a discipline of regular Scripture reading and prayer will grow your relationship with Jesus and connect you to God’s purposes for your life. I think this is the starting place for us – to be more connected to Jesus in prayer, so that we can be about his work in the world.
At Easter, we proclaim: “He is risen! Alleluia!” This is the great Good News of Jesus. It’s my prayer that this Good News changes our lives, changes our priorities, and points us all outward into the world. Our community is filled with people hungry to hear some Good News. Let’s be filled with Jesus’ Passion. Let’s share it with them!
May you know the joy of the Resurrection in the season of Easter!
Intern Ted Carnahan