I was walking the other morning and asked for inspiration as I set off, not knowing what to write to you. Then I hear “Your passion your promise your end.” This line from the song Yes I Am by Melissa Etheridge, stuck with me. I have been thinking a lot about passion. We are in the season when we are to take time in our ordinary lives to allow God to enter as we journey with Jesus in his passion and suffering. Yet the passion being experienced around us has little or nothing to do with lent or Jesus. “In these days and these hours of fury.”
"They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists" & “I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
“They were having terrorism problems, just like we do, and he caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous damage and killed many people. And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs’ blood — you heard that, right? He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood. And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person, he said: You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened.
Our great African-American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”
“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.” & “I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
“The poorly educated love me.”
“In these days and these hours of fury.” I turn on the news, read the paper, listen to the radio and there is fury everywhere. These words of fury have me wanting a different way.
I hear Etheridge sing, “I believe when the truth comes up empty.” “I will stand firm in the tempest.” In the midst of this passion for hate and violence how do we take a different path? How do we stand firm in the tempest, the storm? How are we to speak passionately about the one we are called to follow? How do we share in the passion of Jesus?
For me the passion of Jesus is more than his last day on Earth. The passion of Jesus is what he felt strongly about, how he showed us how to live our lives and be with other people. I want us to remember the passion Jesus showed. Remember when Jesus is in a sacred place meant for prayer and he see people buying and selling and the poor being taken advantage of. Jesus moves through the place of prayer turning tables and driving people out. Remember when he is in the local church and a person filled with evil screams at him and Jesus drives the evil out of the man freeing him. Remember when Jesus was approached by a foreign mother who begged for her daughter’s life. Jesus is mean and yet as this women begs and pleads for her daughter and changes Jesus’ passion for his people (Jewish people) to include foreigners, outsiders as being welcome into God’s loving embrace and healing grace. Remember when he is tested about the Sabbath. The religious folk place in Jesus path someone who is hurt, who needs our compassion. The religious want to use this moment to speak of following the law as being what makes them spiritual. But while disappointed with these good religious folk, Jesus looks at the man who is broken, hurt and he heals him. Remember when there was one challenge after another with the people raising issue after issue to trap him, test him, show that Jesus isn’t following the law. They pushed him on divorce, on taxes on, on religious authority, resurrection, offerings, prayer, poverty. Jesus answered the challenges with a vision of God who is focused on different questions and answers. Remember when the man came who wanted to know the best way to live and Jesus asked him about the commandments and the man said he followed them all and Jesus told him, with compassion in his eyes, there is one thing left for you to do – sell everything you have and follow me. The man went away sad for he couldn’t let go of his possessions. Remember when people bring a woman caught in adultery to Jesus and quote the law saying she should be stoned to death. Jesus asked the crowd if you have never sinned then cast the stone. Jesus invited the woman to go on her way and sin no more. “Your Passion, Your Promise, Your End.” I want us to be reminded of the passion we are to have. The passion that heals the hurting, welcomes the outcast, feeds the hungry, challenges the powerful, and shares compassion extravagantly.