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A Passionate Faith

March 17, 2013

Poem for Easter (Steve Turner)

Tell me:
What came first
Easter or the egg?
Crucifixion
or daffodils?
Three days in a tomb
or four days
in Paris?
(returning
Bank Holiday Monday).

When is a door
not a door?
When it is rolled away.
When is a body
not a body?
When it is a risen.

Question.
Why was it the Saviour rode on the cross?
Answer.
To get us
to the other side.

Behold I stand.
Behold I stand and what?
Behold I stand at the door and

knock knock.

That is a poem by Steve Turner. It says so much about a passionate faith, in such simple words. Passion is important. Paul was a passionate man. Paul’s passion shouts out from the pages of the New Testament.

Paul was passionate about his faith even before he became a Christian. He was a Jew among Jews. He was at the front of the queue when it came to persecuting the Church. Paul was there at the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

Then after the Damascus road, Paul’s passion for God was directed towards building up the Church. In Philippians 3, you can almost hear a breathless and excited Paul:

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.”

“ I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

“forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.”

Paul is often portrayed as the dry theologian among the first Apostles. But he was more than that. Paul was a Christian who brought every part of himself to God, his mind, and also his passion. So, we too can be passionate about our faith. This isn’t very Anglican. The Church of England has often prided itself on being the Church of Reason. We need reason, but we also need passion. Passion, like the passion of Paul that drove him all around the Roman world telling people about Jesus. The passion of Jesus when he drove the money changers out of the Temple.

There are times for reason. There are times for quiet faith. But if I am a passionate person, then there are times for that passion to be used for the Gospel. If I can’t get excited about all that God is doing through Jesus, then how can I expect people outside of the Church to take Jesus seriously. The passion that comes from being filled with the Spirit is important too, not just reason.

But there is also another sort of passion. The sort of passion that was forced upon Jesus and the sort that is forced upon us. The passion that Jesus endured on the cross, is a passion that all Christians are called to share. This is a passion that I try to avoid. It means pain and loss. This sort of passion could cost me my life. But unless I embrace the passion of the cross then I have no chance of ever really understanding the faith that I’m called to live. I need to be passionate about the good times but also about the pain and suffering. How else can the pain be transformed by God into joy and celebration?

So I need to spend time thinking about the Passion story; about the arrest, humiliation, torture, condemnation, ridicule, pain and death of the crucifixion. I need to let each step of that road to Golgotha be a part of me and die with Christ. Then I can share in the resurrection with Christ.

I want a passionate life, a passionate faith, a passionate death.

Poem for Easter (Steve Turner)

Tell me:
What came first
Easter or the egg?
Crucifixion
or daffodils?
Three days in a tomb
or four days
in Paris?
(returning
Bank Holiday Monday).

When is a door
not a door?
When it is rolled away.
When is a body
not a body?
When it is a risen.

Question.
Why was it the Saviour rode on the cross?
Answer.
To get us
to the other side.

Behold I stand.
Behold I stand and what?
Behold I stand at the door and

knock knock.

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