20th Sun C
Christian conversion is promoted by conversation. This section is a response to and a development on the knowledge gained from the commentary section.
This Sunday's Exposition
One of my sisters tells a delightful story about a pub discussion she had on religion. Much heat was being generated, when the person she was in discussion with, inadvertently I must say, shed light on what was the crucial difference between them. He said, ‘Look, I think religion is important. You just shouldn’t let it dominate your life.’ She did.
His opinion is indicative on the common attitude to religion and faith in our society: it is an optional extra that we can add (or subtract if we are busy or a better offer comes along) in our schedule. Like gym membership or art classes, it can enhance elements of our being and make us feel good about ourselves. Besides, it can fill in time and we can make good friendships. The violence perpetrated in the name of religion only underlines for people of his opinion the danger of taking religion passionately.
For the follower of Christ, ‘passion’ is the very stuff of commitment. The attachment to God and to Christ forms the ground of the believer’s existence. Following the one who went so willingly to his suffering and death, the believer is given the ability to face, with grace, suffering and even death, knowing that all can be transformed by God. Sustained by God, the believer can look on all situations with a different eye. The believer knows that God judges, not as the world judges, but with an eye to the fullness of life in eternity. The believer holds that each has been created uniquely and given a unique call. When a believer holds to and lives by such beliefs, others can feel threatened and even reject the believer. But that is no grounds to turn away. Indeed, it is a challenge in the very difficulty of the situation to show the passionate transforming love of God.