Wednesday 6 August 2008

Passion: a rumination

Maybe in starting I should clarify that I am tired of big events. I am tired of watching a generation get fired up about concerts and conferences and huge "worship" events, endlessly chattering about how good the music was, how awesome the performances were and how funny the speaker was, and then going home unchanged, unchanging.
Maybe I am not deeply emotional enough to be drawn so far into the atmosphere of the moment, or maybe I am too rational and rigid in my thinking that I am skeptical about present feelings. I don't understand how people say things like "It was awesome! I really felt God's presence" when I didn't feel anything (should I have?) but then go right on and talk about the weirdest / grossest / most inappropriate things when I want is to rest silently and ponder, or discuss something deeper.

It could be that I am just different. Strange. Weird. Anti-social.

Putting that into perspective, Passion was a rich mine of songs that went beyond pure emotional, egocentric modern lyrics into the depth of theology and fullness of God.

"Jesus Messiah" - Chris Tomlin

He became sin

Who knew no sin
That we might become His Righteousness
He humbled himself and carried the cross
Love so amazing

Love so amazing


Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

His body the bread

His blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled
And the veil was torn


All I hope is in You

All I hope is in You
All the glory to You, God
The light of the world

We need songs like these to remind us. We need remembrance that He became sin for us. We need depth. Yes, we do need our emo "response" songs, but we have a surfeit of that. It could be that one of the reasons why songs in worship do not affect me as they used to, or as they do others, is the way I think too much about the lyrics, the way the words sound that distracts me, the meaninglessness of words that irritates me. I play with words, they are my pride and joy, they are my tools and craft. They have come to mean nothing. Empty. Noises. It is easier to sing 'I love You' in a song, because the melody is nice and catchy, than it is to say it to Him in person, or to show it in action. And yet a song that states "He became sin who knew no sin that we might become His Righteousness. He humbled himself and carried the cross, Love so amazing" is something that is a statement of fact in itself and whether you mean it or not, it remains true.

The heart of Passion revealed something deeper where we were shown the interconnectedness between each supposedly "separate" event in the world tour, each preceding stop praying and giving towards the coming one. Not your own, no, that none can say I did it, but for the next. Always for another, passing on what was received.

The message?

Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, O Lord, we have waited for You eagerly; You name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls. [Isaiah 26:8]

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who know no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. [2 Cor 5: 18 - 21]

"Lord" has no meaning unless you have totally surrendered yourself. "Grace" has no meaning until you know that you have been judged and cannot redeem yourself. "Reconciliation" makes no sense unless you know that you've been separated.

Empty words, without its context. And yet, that is what the world needs. Reconciliation, though we sometimes refuse to see that we have fallen away, and grace, because no matter how much we delude ourselves, we know we can't make it on our own.

Empty words, without action put to it. So then again we come back to the same issue: what then are you going to do about it?

And the interesting, yet dangerous point, that Louie Giglio put out to us was this: we are not of the world, but we are still in it. We can be totally tripped out and crazy about God, but we need to be in our senses; to be able to relate to the world. We need to be able to talk to them about cars and games and books and cooking and everything else. We need to be able to be one of them. Just one of them. And yet be different. To know the greater goal. To be able to understand and not condemn. To be followers of Christ, and not holier-than-thou. We need to understand that THERE IS NO "US" AND "THEM", because we cannot win a fallen world by telling them how sinful they are.

That was not how God did it - He came down to our level and said, 'hey look, I know it's tough, but there's a better way, and I can help you. We can do it together.'

So why are we so embalmed in our Christian sub-culture that we repel all but the truest seekers? Can't we be like that girl Krista (sp?) who was so fervent for God and yet so down-to-earth and open to listen and empathise? Why can't we stop passing judgement?

Food for thought. Maybe food for action. The Passion Tour is something that must germinate in your heart and mind. I don't know how they make snap judgements about it being awesome. Maybe they think faster than I do. Maybe they have different criteria of judgement.

Passion needs more thought yet.

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