I remember commenting on language a few years back, and how, depending on the culture of the day, certain words fall into disuse while others come into fashion. In politics or in business, for example, it is not acceptable to be ‘aggressive’ or ‘defensive’, but it’s OK to be‘robust’. Similarly, ‘zeal’ and ‘fanaticism’ in everyday life are frowned upon, but ‘passion’ is seen as worthy. If you ever find yourself getting worked up about something, your best defence is to say “I’m not getting carried away, I’m just being passionate.”
Like many of the words we use today, passion has its origins in the Christian faith. According to the Oxford on-line dictionary, ‘passion’means ‘an intense desire or enthusiasm for something’. If you dig deeper, however, you discover that its roots are the Latin word ‘passio’meaning ’to suffer’. To feel passionate is to care about something so much that it hurts, and to be willing to suffer to put it right. Jesus’ suffering is known as his ‘passion’. He cared about us so much that he was willing to die for us.
What are the things you feel passionate about? What are the things you long to see changed? This is the theme of the annual conference organised by churches in South East Edinburgh. The Guest speaker is May Nicholson – a remarkable lady. May’s book, ‘Miracles from Mayhem’*, tells the story of how God rescued her from a life of poverty and alcoholism, and set her on the path to freedom and wholeness. It also tells of how God has used her to make a difference in the lives of many others, (including our own Cammy Mackenzie).
May’s story is not only gripping, it is a story of hope in a dark world. Having suffered with the people of Ferguslie Park, Paisley, she has gone on to suffer with people on the streets of Dundee, and is currently suffering with the people of inner city Glasgow. But in all three situations God has used her to bring about change.
For the last few years the speakers at our annual conferences have been known for their knowledge and insight. This year’s speaker is known for her passion. I challenge you to come and hear May tell her story at the Faith Mission Auditorium this November**, and be challenged and inspired to do something about the things you feel passionate about. May’s example has demonstrated that, with God’s help, it is possible.
*Miracles from Myahem, Christian Focus Publications, 2004
** Passion for a change – a day with May Nicholson