When Reed was little, 5 or 6, he was attending Sunday school at the church where I was an intern. During Lent, they told Reed that Jesus had died because of him. They proceeded to list the sins of 5-7 year olds: not listening to your parents, lying, being mean to others, etc. Reed was really upset by this. As we started driving home, he asked me if he had killed Jesus. So we had a talk about how Jesus came to be killed on the cross. Reed and I talked about what would make Jesus so dangerous that people would want him dead. So I asked Reed to tell me what he knew about Jesus’ life and he told me all he could remember about Jesus and I told him some more stories. We then talked about how when Jesus was with people he was asking them to live in a way that was different from how the king wanted them to live. He was encouraging people to challenge the way things were and the king didn’t like that. What made Jesus so dangerous -- was the passion of his life.
As we enter Holy week, we begin to think about the passion of Christ? What is the passion of Christ? Passion, according to the dictionary, is an intense or powerful emotion; an eager outreach of the mind toward some special object; an abandoned display of emotion; or the suffering of Christ, especially his agony of the garden and on the cross; a narrative, musical setting, or pictorial representation of Jesus' sufferings. What made Jesus so dangerous was his passion. Jesus lived a life that brought the least, the last, and the lost back into community. “Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds he had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless” (Matthew 9:35-36). Matthew provides us with these summary paragraphs between which we experience Jesus teaching, proclaiming, and healing. Jesus’ passion is to share with others a piece of God’s Kingdom here and now.
Jesus’ passion is to be our passion. When people come to our congregation, do they experience Jesus’ passion? I believe that our ministry provides a place for Jesus’ passion to be experienced. We are the place where the hungry come regularly; those beaten down by life seek a word of comfort, the gifts of energy assistance, and financial help and encouragement from Side by Side. The little children are welcome in our daycare, our Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, and in our worship. We share the beauty of music in our worship and in the choir that meets here. We bring comfort with the prayer shawls we give. Our passion for ministry to Lake Geneva provides a glimpse of God’s Kingdom here on Earth.
Join us as we celebrate the passion of Jesus this Holy Week.