I have been reminded again about our mission – Making Passionate Disciples for Christ – and that it is only when the fire of passion for Him is stoked in us that we have any chance of lighting that same fire in anyone else. “No one keeps their light hidden but puts it on a lampstand (so that it can be seen)” Jesus said. But that only helps if it is burning bright in the first place.
So what is your passion?

I remember the annual Revue at theological college. Each Fellowship Group would present a “turn” in an evening of entertainment for the whole college. One year our group did a sketch about the Peace. The scene was a church where different levels of diffidence are shown to the weekly torture of having to engage with our fellow worshippers in handshakes or even worse, ….a hug. These different responses to the peace are described. The punchline was the vicar coming in and proclaiming the success of the local football team in a cup competition and the irony of all the blokes instinctively leaping around hugging one another in celebration!
What gets you animated and fired up?
It might be justice, or loyalty or national fervour or sport or food, or statistics, or trains..the list is endless.
But does it include Jesus?

I had the privilege to speak at RiSE to the young people last week. We considered that question – passion for Christ?
I shared  a little of my own story to encourage them to think about theirs – what is your relationship with Christ? How would you engage with and counter a cynical view of the Christian faith? We then rooted the source of our passion and deep thankful (and sometimes tearful) response in His Passion. I read Isaiah 53 to them in as dramatic a way as I could. We then explored how that can leave us feeling by delving into the words of Charles Wesley – And can it be? In that great hymn he is incredulous that Jesus paid such a cost; he cannot believe the effect it has – chains falling off, set free from a prison of sin and separation from God. It seems incredible, impossible but its true!
This theme, of our passion for Christ, continued in a midweek conversation. Centered on a word based on Matthew 7:19-24, we are called to minister to our hearts by turning only to him. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4)
Earlier that day the Lord laid the same prayer on two of us at Morning Prayer. Responding to Matthew 12:44, where the evil spirit returns to a person because it finds the room “unoccupied”, I prayed that Christ Church will walk with people so that they are “occupied  by God’s Holy Spirit” that they will find no deceit or distraction from God’s will for their lives and a passionate discipleship fired by the Holy Spirit. “I had that exact same prayer came to me!” said another in the room.
As we open Morning Prayer each Tuesday and Wednesday morning we say:
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and for ever.
For it is from hearts on fire, in the knowledge of God’s love for us, his Passion for us, that passionate discipleship comes. And Passionate disciples “spill contagious hope to a hurting humanity”.
And make new disciples…..
Rev Doug McHardie
Vicar, Christ Church Purley
Office 0208 763 8291