#LentWithESC – Day 40

Jesus’ Passion, Our Passion

Written by Amity Carrubba

ESC staff

Today, Holy Saturday, is an unusual day. Today begins with Jesus buried in the tomb, bound by cloth and stone. Today concludes with release, Resurrection, and some confusion about what to do next. On Holy Saturday, God moves us from death to Resurrected life, from brokenness to wholeness.

The term ‘Passion’ is used in the church to refer to Jesus Christ’s trial, crucifixion, and death. It comes from the Latin pati, to suffer. Jesus’ Passion was his suffering on the cross, his offering of love through pain and loss. Like so much about the spiritual life, there is paradox in Passion. For Jesus, his Passion was suffering, so that our passion might be life.

Ever hear the expression ‘a passion for life’? Perhaps someone commenting on another’s zeal for living or claiming their own. A passion for life is a very different experience from Jesus’ own Passion, yet both are rooted in the same soil… both speak to an intense enthusiasm for joy and love. Jesus lived with such an intense enthusiasm for others and for God, that it led to his Passion. On our best days, Jesus’ Passion inspires us to live with a similarly intense enthusiasm for others and for God.

Many Episcopal Service Corps members are full of passion when they begin their year of service. They are passionate about racial justice or LGBT rights or education reform. They are often also passionate about living simply and sustainably, creating a community focused on justice both at home and at work. To engage in a year of service or a lifetime of activism, we need both Jesus’ Passion and a passion for life. This kind of life requires an enthusiasm for others and God as well as a willingness to offer love and, at times, experience pain and loss. The reality is that a year of service is much like today, Holy Saturday, because the year contains both death and resurrection, both brokenness and wholeness.

The work of a service year means being with individuals, communities, and institutions that are broken and suffering. Serving in these communities raises difficult questions about how things are broken and the root causes. These observations and questions reflect how we, our communities and our culture, are buried in the tomb with Christ. The difficult realities faced by ESC corps members reflect the places of loss, pain, and death in our world. Yet, that is not the end of the story.

The work of a service year also means being with individuals, communities, and institutions who are healing, repairing, and becoming more whole. It requires a corps member to be vulnerable, to support, and to encourage. It takes both the heart and intellect of a corps member to contribute to improving the world, in whatever small way possible. This is not epic work, it does not often occur on a grand scale. Rather, it most often happens in small ways, one interaction at a time. The work requires perseverance and passion.

The work of a service year is the work of Holy Saturday, the work of moving from burial in the tomb to resurrection life.