“Passion” — the word evokes various feelings and visual images. If we have ever seen a Passion play, or seen the movie “The Passion of the Christ;” if we have ever read a romance novel (Christian or otherwise) or watched much television; if we have ever encountered someone working intensely for a cause; we have encountered “passion.”
Does this vast and seemingly unrelated range of emotions and imagry seem strange to anyone but me? Thinking on the sufferings of Christ and using the same word for erotic emotion or political fervor just doesn’t settle well with me. So, I did a little research and this is what I found:
c.1175, “sufferings of Christ on the Cross,” from O.Fr. passion, from L.L. passionem (nom. passio) “suffering, enduring,” from stem of L. pati “to suffer, endure,” from PIE base *pei- “to hurt” (cf. Skt. pijati “reviles, scorns,” Gk. pema “suffering, misery, woe,” O.E. feond “enemy, devil,” Goth. faian “to blame”). Sense extended to sufferings of martyrs, and suffering generally, by 1225; meaning “strong emotion, desire” is attested from c.1374, from L.L. use of passio to render Gk. pathos. Replaced O.E. þolung (used in glosses to render L. passio), lit. “suffering,” from þolian (v.) “to endure.” Sense of “sexual love” first attested 1588; that of “strong liking, enthusiasm, predilection” is from 1638. The passion-flower so called from 1633. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=passion
Now I know . . .
This Passion Week I am praying that God will soften my heart and fortify my will to blend some of these definitions together, just as the apostle Paul did when he was sitting in a cold, damp, dirty prison cell. . .
Philippians 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (ESV)
I wish you all a blessed Resurrection Sunday. He is risen indeed!