of Creighton University's Online Ministries
January 27th, 2009
Daniel Patrick O'Reilly
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Well, here we go into another new year. I’ve made the same old annual resolution to trim some of those Christmas cookies off of my waist line. I’m sure I’ll be serious about it for a while. Until I meet a chocolate bar I can’t say no to. It’s hard to remain passionate. Today’s scriptures speak of annual rituals, sacrifice and passion. In Hebrews, the author talks about the annual ritual sin sacrifices of the Hebrews. That God was not interested in these, but was interested in followers to do His will. And that God loves us so much that he gave us Jesus Christ as the “once and for all sacrifice”. The psalmist proclaims, “Sacrifice and oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me.” And in Mark, “Jesus states that whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
It’s hard to maintain passion. I wonder why that is. Life is a gift and it should be lived with a passion. And life is short. Why would we want to spend the time we have feeling blah? So, why do I fall into boring routines and become discouraged and cynical?
Sometimes rituals can bring us closer to God. The singing of a familiar, old hymn. Sometimes they drain us of passion. The other night while reciting the evening prayer with my family, I forgot the words. How embarrassing. I’m supposed to be the spiritual leader of my family and it was readily evident to them that the prayer I was saying had become so rote and ritual that I forgot what I was saying. Not quite the example of a passionate follower of Christ that I want to present.
I am convinced that when we are passionate about our worship and service to God, there is nothing we cannot do. So, why is it hard to maintain that? What chips away at our passion? I may start the day with a commitment to God, but then work, family and life’s general pressures seem to move God down the priority list. This happens even when I am fully aware that, with God at the top of my list, life is richer and I will succeed. I guess it is something we have to work at. Christ calls us to be the light in a dark world. Pretty hard to do that without passion.
I think that half the battle is to simply not give up. Never surrender to the weight of the world. Always know that God loves us and, through Christ, His strength and power is always available to us. Faith in Christ will always produce hope.
There is certainly no question about God’s passion for us. Christ’s life is a model of passion and compassion. In fact, there is a reason they call the crucifixion, “The Passion”. As Jesus was dying, his concern was for the care and forgiveness of others. Now that is passion.
My wish today is for everyone to have a Happy New Year. And my prayer today is for those of us who have trouble with our passion for God. That we would draw strength from God and from each other in working to maintain that passion.
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