So long apart

Sunday, January 24, 2010

You and I have been so long apart, dear blog.
Sometimes quiet is good, you understand.

I read something tonight, though and it is stirring in me. It's from Peterson's "The Message". I've been avoiding the "translation", because I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but after hanging out for a spell in Matthew tonight with the Lame Duck Jesus (Jesus after he announces to his disciples he will be crucified and heads to Jerusalem for the festivities...what a fiery and humorous character he becomes!), I am a "Message" translation appreciator. This is the part that seeped into my pores tonight.

"When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: "Teacher, which command in God's Law is the most important?"Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

At church we've been hearing and talking all about each others passions. The idea is that a church body shouldn't just be all about the pastor's passions for world missions or in-depth Bible Study or church growth. We all have something beautiful and Christ-like to contribute and the more we know each other and embrace each others passions, the more we can love each other and grow together into Christ's idea of the Kingdom. I totally love the approach and relish the privilege of really getting to know what makes our friend's hearts beat, you know? (Have I mentioned how much I love my church?)

My problem is that, I don't have a passion to share with my friends. Or...it's that I am passionate about too many things, all of them really. We haven't discussed a single passion yet that I haven't said, "Oh. Yep, that's me for sure." It's just my personality to do things passionately. But I've discovered something, just this year. My passions have only ever led me on very painful, dead-end trips. And they were good passions, really.
-A passionate desire to lead worship that found me 5 years ago in a dr's office with a permanent vocal chord dysfunction...no explanation...just no more singing.
-A passionate desire to be a youth pastor that found me 17 years from my starting point with the firm conviction that church leaders aren't really ever going to notice that women might be good at it too.
-A passionate desire to foster deep, committed relationships that found me 4 years ago in the worst betrayal of friendship a family could ever know.

So, can you really blame me if I don't want to get up on a sunday morning and share one of my current "passions" with my dear friends in order that they may know me and embrace what I embrace. What if they did decide to take it to heart and travel my passions as I travel theirs and we all wind up on another one of these dreadful dead-ends. They really are dreadful.

So I plan, for this series of talks, to just listen really well and really enjoy knowing who my friends are. They are really super, and I plan to embrace and support their passions with my acts and words. But I find myself thinking about the topic all the time. What would I say? What am I passionate about now? If I actually had the courage to name a passion today, would I just be jinxing myself to another painful dead-end? (I know that's superstitious...and I'm not...but you have to know that after so many dead-ends, a person's gonna start asking the jinxing questions!) And that's why my favorite verse in the Message translation is sticking to me tonight. Instead of saying I should love the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind, it says I should love him with all my passion, prayer and intelligence. So now I wonder what that would look like. What if I made my passion to Love Him? I've always loved Him. That's why I was passionate about worship, about youth ministry, about relationships...because I love him. But what if my passion was really about no other thing than loving him? What would that look like?

I plan to ponder that for a little while. You ponder it too. Let me know what you think, would you?
~J

1 comments:

Bo said...

Ah, the dreadful dead end. I'm familiar with it. As in like-the-back-of-my-hand familiar.

Honestly, having a family has taught me more about the concept of identifying, encouraging and resourcing the passions of others then any other thing. I've never been interested in photography but I've spent SO much money on equipment for Tess. That, to me, is when it all becomes very powerful - when we're willing to take something from our dream's account in order to enable someone else's. It's easy for me to do it in our family, harder in church...I hope Jesus is growing me into that kind of Passion Investor. I really hope.