Reflection on Passion
Written by Elena Rivera
Johnson Service Corps member
Passion is a call to action. The story of Palm Sunday is one of people putting their passion into action, in all the ways that looked back then. In actuality, the story of the disciples from the beginning of their journeys until this moment was one of action: the passion they felt for Jesus’ mission called them to leave their well-established lives, the comfort of their homey realities, to venture into something mysterious, new and important. Their passion for the mission grew as they journeyed with Jesus, learning about the heart of God manifested in the teachings and miracles they witnessed. Even when Jesus asked them to do things that seemed impossible, like feeding five thousand with a few loaves and fish, or traveling on stormy and turbulent waters, the disciples’ passion carried them through their doubt.
The story of Palm Sunday as told through Mark Chapter 11 shows the example of passion as a call to action in two ways: with the disciples, and with the people witnessing Jesus’ procession. With the disciples, Jesus asked them to find a donkey to use to travel into Jerusalem. This request was odd, as borrowing a random person’s animal probably still is, but the disciples did it anyways. And as Jesus rode in on a donkey to Jerusalem, people began to spread their cloaks and palm branches on the road, coming out of their homes and stopping their work as they saw him. The people were compelled to shout and move and express, they could not stay silent as Jesus passed them by. Their passion for Jesus urged them to action.
Passion is a call to action. That’s what I’m keeping in mind, as I head into this second and last half of my time with the Johnson Service Corps. The people closest to Jesus were not content with staying on the sidelines, quietly nodding in agreement in chairs in corners; they had to shout, or move, or go find a donkey. They had to act. This year, I’m seeking to be an even more active member of my community. For me, that looks like being vulnerable with the seven other people in my house on a daily basis, not just saying I will and then backing out because it’s scary. Passion as a call to action also looks like asking tough questions about how my service placement engages the larger Durham community, looking for collaborative solutions whenever possible, and really giving myself time for “listening to my life telling me who I am,” as wise ol’ Parker Palmer says. As the story of Palm Sunday leads into the greatest example of passion as a call to action, Jesus’ death on the cross, I am reminding myself I cannot be silent about the things I am passionate about: I, too, need to shout and move and go find my own metaphorical donkey this year, in all the ways that looks like.