Summary: The challenge many of us find in maintaining passion in life… is that living by duty apart from desire… is like hearing individual notes without a melody.


young our dreams lie out in front of us, there for the taking, and our plans seem so clear. But like

many of us, Glenn Holland never could have predicted the course his own life would take, when

he reluctantly accepts a job as a teacher. A musician and composer consumed with a love for

music, Holland’s true goal is to write one memorable piece of music to leave his mark on the

world. But instead, he finds his calling in the most unlikely place, sharing his love of music with

his students--to let it fill their lives, the way it fills his. His students respond to his contagious

passion, and as the years unfold, Holland finds himself on an unplanned path. Redefining success

and his own dreams, Holland realizes that his legacy will be greater than he ever dreamed. And

with the help of his students and his family, Glenn Holland learns that though our lives don’t

always turn out the way we plan them, life is what happens when you embrace the unexpected.

(Buena Vista Pictures, 1996, Rated PG)

In this scene a student tells Mr. Holland that she is quitting. He challenges her by having her

hear the joy of some pop music… then sit down and play by feeling the music rather than

reading it.

> Some of us try to be Christians in the same way as this young women tried to play music…. We

try to play the notes without hearing the melody.

That’s why when a man who said he wanted to know which was the most important

commandment… to see if he could fulfill the rules … Jesus said… it was to love God with all

our heart… and love our neighbor. > That’s the melody that Jesus came to impart within us.

The challenge many of us find in maintaining passion in life… is that living by duty apart

from desire… notes without melody.

Let me describe the type of passion that I think Christ has come to reclaim in our lives…

Passion is the energizing flow that comes from connection to a desire that

transcends duty.

Passion is energizing. Everything in life takes a certain amount of energy… but what you do that

you find passion in… gives you back energy.

It’s a determination … and drive… that runs beneath the surface of our activity.

In this sense it may be quite different from what many of us think of when we initially think of

passion. We tend to think of wildness… and when we relate this to our relationship with God…

and particularly our worship… we tend to think of how free we are in our expression. Some

aren’t sure they want to be passionate… if simply means they need to outwardly try to

express themselves a certain way.

> But passion is more fundamental that merely the expression it leads to.

> At it’s core, passion is the deeper determination that is at work within you.

This helps explain the very root meaning of the word.


The literal meaning of the word is originally suffering… referring specifically to the suffering

of Christ… and more specifically to the deep determination that was at work throughout that

final week which led to his sacrificial death.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin passi, passin-, sufferings of Jesus or a

martyr, from Late Latin, physical suffering, martyrdom, sinful desire, from Latin, an undergoing, from

passus, past participle of pat, to suffer; see p(i)- in Indo-European roots.]

That’s why we commonly speak of the Passion of Christ… or the week before Easter is referred to as the

Passion Week. Passion doesn’t refer to the suffering itself… beating and piercing…. but to the deep

determination that was at work… the power that drove him.

The fundamental nature of passion… as understood in the life of Christ… and

the apostle Paul… was that of sharing life with God and His cause.

This is what was caught by the disciples. They were ordinary people... not religiously zealous

types… and we see each of heir lives transformed from despondency to determination…

ultimately giving their lives as Christ had.

We see this same passion… underlying determination at work in the apostle Paul.

Philip. 3:10-14 (CEV)

All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and

die as he did, 11so that somehow I also may be raised to life.

12I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me.

So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. 13My friends, I don’t feel that

I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. 14I

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