I struggled to think of any time I might have shown the speaker passion, had I somehow entered into a parallel universe perhaps where I'd got drunk and lost control, or stumbled and fallen like the first Adam? Thankfully the 'passionate' label affixed to my lapel was an indicator of me and Jesus and the 'way you're always going on about Him!'.
Now to be honest, I didn't think I was going on about Him enough, so this came as a bit of a shock. To be blunt, what the blazes does a church member expect from a cleric and if they knew me at all they'd realise that this pop of theirs, for it wasn't applause, was the very opposite of what they'd appeared to have intended. It wasn't a barb but a blessing. It turned out that I'd shared Jesus with one of the speaker's friends (yeah, I'm surprised she has any too ;-) ) and they'd reported it back to them with something along the line of, "You never talk to me about Jesus!"
Of course I'm passionate about Jesus, He's the focus for everything I do and is (unless distracted by toys), and even when I am I share them with Him (sometimes)) and making Him known and introducing my big, important friend is a pride and joy. So anyway, that which someone meant for nasty, God turned to joy.
Looked at Justin's book today - it's OK and it's going to be a bestseller (obviously as so many diocesan Lent groups across the country are buying it ) - I ended up with stuff from out of left-field and so sat quietly (think I spoke but the once) and pottered around the web collecting and creating thoughts whilst listening to the thoughts of those around me. To be honest, although I've heard it before, God being the person digging up the pearl and us (I mean ME) being the pearl and Jesus being the everything that God is willing to dispose of to get ME - it's a bit up there with some of the takes on the wedding banquet and Jesus being the bloke tossed out the window, innit? Better than hearing another sermon on the prodigal's Mum and the woman's take on it all - and how I wish she'd remain as silent as the biblical account has her - innit?
It's what we choose to not to see that takes away value. We see the things that matter to us and the things that matter to us are the things that we see - which is why so many, in and out of Church, don't see JEsus and aren't 'passionate' I guess!
One of the struggles with early banknotes came in the fact that people assigned less worth to a piece of paper than to a lump of gold. Gold shines and is attractive and has substance whereas a piece of paper. . . Well it's just a piece of paper innit? Talking to a debt coach who is also a psychologist they said the problem with credit is that it is all virtual - taking a sack of cash to a shop to feed their possession addications would stop many from ever spending (well that's their view).
Substance and substantial things confer something of strength and power - what you don't see, unless it carries some implicit and understood threat, is potentially nothing to be valued or frightened of.
Seeing with Jesus' eyes helps us to see the things the world cannot see - seeing with the world's eyes causes us to value what is obvious and to dispossess and ignore that, and those, we choose to ignore - truly, a man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest?
Lord, give me Your vision - Your Passion - a sense of the tangible in a world of imagination.