The need for passion

Voices of Religion

Posted: Friday, September 08, 2006

Here’s the $100 question, surely as easy as, “What’s the opposite of cold?” or, “Name the four points of the compass.”

Are you ready?

“Who made ‘Crikey’ a household word?”

The answer is, of course, Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter.

This world lost Irwin this week and the passion meter of the human race took a dive.

In a world far too consumed with safety, among a people falsely believing they can control every outcome and so whenever they face pain must find someone to blame and sue, Irwin was a burning fire.

He was a reminder of a fuller life. We loved him.

That love was not just for his considerable knowledge or untiring efforts in wildlife preservation, but because he was a consumed man, on fire and in love. Passionate.

Even his death, though a tragic loss, is a tribute to zeal as he died in the pursuit and presence of the animals he loved.

When did our fire burn low? When did going to work and paying the bills become enough? When did risk become a phobia? When did passion become such a bad word, even among those who seek God?

Kierkegaard said the church of his day was in danger, not because of sin, but because of its lack of passion. His words are still true today among all who seek God.

Amazingly, it is true of the Christian church.

How can that be since Christians serve a Jesus who wept until it was like sweat-drops of blood falling from his forehead?

We follow the one who in burning anger cleared the temple of those who were robbers and were keeping people from worship.

It was Jesus who taught married couples to be one flesh and declared that love would be the defining characteristic of his church.

It was Jesus, writing letters to the churches in the New Testament book of Revelation, who tells a church that was hard-working and that had endured hardships for his name that, since they had left their first love, they had fallen from a great height.

Perhaps you will remind us of terrorists who murder the innocent in their zeal.

You would be right. Passion can always be perverted. It can be twisted and abused and made to serve myriad selfish and hateful agendas.

It is not passion that is at fault, though. A good God weaved zeal into our very fabric.

Evil can only pervert, and may we remember that it is the passionate, purified by God, who fight evil and suffering on every front.

If peace ever wins the day, it will be by the work of the passionate.

So it is my prayer that the passion of us all would rise to offset our tremendous loss — our thanks to a man willing to bring to men the power of fire.

God bless Irwin’s family and friends and the millions who found delight in his every “Crikey.”

We will miss him.

Rick Cupp is a minister at the Kenai Fellowship, Mile 8.5 of the Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai. He can be reached at 283-7682 or online at: Services are Sundays at 11:15 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Bible classes for all ages are Sundays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

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