where’s the passion?

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Holy Week, sometimes referred to as Passion Week. Beginning with Palm Sunday and extending to Easter, we recall the Passion of Christ, the road He walked that led Him to the cross. It’s a great time for Christ-followers to get re-focused on matters of faith and worship.

Leading into this season of ministry, there are many times that I ask the question, “where is the passion?” Obviously, Christ cared enough and was committed enough to do whatever it took to save us. But it seems, at times, that there is a lack of response on the part of those of us who have been saved. Allow me to explain:

On any given Sunday, during music and worship, I am amazed at how many people have no response. I mean they either just stand or sit there, expressionless, unmoved. They don’t sing, or in any other way engage in the music. I realize one can worship by listening but there is no getting around the idea that we are told in scripture to sing, clap our hands and worship God. Outward worship is simply a way to express love for God, it is a “spilling over” of what is in our spirits. I wonder, do these people sense anything in their hearts? Are they, in any way, moved in their spirits? Sometimes I preach about God’s love, His sacrifice, His intense desire to know us…and there are times when there is no response. In these times, I have to ask, “where is the passion?” This explains why the average Christian will not be in a local worship gathering at church tomorrow.  Recent research indicates that church attendance doesn’t mean what it used to for Christ-followers. Where is the passion?

The real issue isn’t with what is happening or not happening in corporate worship gatherings. I think Sunday is just a snapshot of the rest of life. I believe that the cares of life have acted like wet blanket on a fire. Stress kills passion. Pain has a way of burying it. Distractions prevent us from feeling and discouragement prevents us from expressing love for God.

One of the more disconcerting parts for me is, people don’t seem to hold back in their passion for other things.  Tonight’s NCAA Basketball Final Four will blow up Facebook and Twitter. This certainly is a season of political posturing – most people will gladly let you know where they stand on the issues. But spirituality has become taboo for many people in our culture – including those who have been saved from hell by God. It just shouldn’t be this way.

I am asking you to reconsider your approach and response to God, especially during Passion Week. He gave everything for you. How does that make you feel? Can you contain those feelings on the inside without outwardly expressing them in some way? God doesn’t need your passionate worship, but He wants it – and certainly deserves it.

Tomorrow, I will preach a message at Cross Community Church entitled: Pasión por la Vida. It will describe how passion for eternal life for you and me drove Jesus to the cross. And I plan to challenge the people of our church to be passionate in their response to the Passion of Jesus. Join us if you are able.

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One response to “where’s the passion?

  • jonathanthehymnsinger

    I wonder if the lethargy for outward expression that you perceive is actually that the programming is set up more as a performance than a participatory act. Our culture has been transformed from one of music makers to one of music consumers, and the Church has bought into this. As a result, people don’t participate in singing the way they used to be.

    Actually, what struck me about your post to begin with was the way you said “during the music and worship.” Times of corporate worship don’t begin and end with the singing part. Because worship is a response to the self-revelation of the Divine Sovereign in accordance with his will, if you’re preaching from the Bible, as you seem to be, hopefully the people are still worshiping. And hopefully they’re worshiping when they leave, too.

    You are dead-on with your estimation that common worship is a snapshot of the rest of life. That is a great way to say it. But worship is something we do when we feel like it and when we don’t (Eugene Peterson highlights this point perfectly in “The Jesus Way.”)

    Anyway, if there is anything lacking in common worship, the best way to address it is through pedagogy. Teach your people what they need to know, and lead them along until they have more than a rudimentary understanding of it. Teach them theology. Teach them God’s character and his work throughout human history.

    Blessings,

    http://togodpraiseandglory.wordpress.com/

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