In this scene, the main character (Vicar Walton) is having a conversation with the blacksmith, who happens to hail from a slightly different Christian tradition…
“And then when the excitement goes off, there is no seed left in the soil to grow in peace, and they are always craving after more excitement.”
“Well, there is the preacher to rouse them up again.”
“…those who have been only excited, and nothing more, are hardened and seared by the recurrence of such feeling as is neither aroused by truth nor followed by action.”
This passion for God that is aroused by truth and followed by action is a passion that I think is sometimes overlooked in our attempts to walk the road between the pharisaical and heretical. It results not from feverish spiritual hype but from being still in the shadow of the one true God. It is deep, abiding, enduring, inspiring, equipping, and strong. That’s the kind of passion for God I want to pursue.
I think sometimes we are too quick to dismiss someone’s inner spiritual experiences when they don’t regularly express them in public settings. Not that I am suggesting it is wrong to be publicly expressive in our worship! But it must spring forth from an inner reality. True worship doesn’t come from the outside in, but from the inside out!
I wasn’t brought up in a tradition where people worshipped with hands raised, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have moments of abandon in personal praise to my Saviour where I can’t help but twirl and dance in His presence…where tears of joy and grief are sometimes indistinguishably intertwined and I experience God’s promise of peace that surpasses all understanding. I’ll be honest. That doesn’t happen for me every Sunday. And I sometimes envy those who seem to be able to conjure up that emotion at will. But then I am reminded that there is a passion that can spring forth from something other than excitement…a passion that can be aroused by the truth of God’s word, planted and taking the time to grow in peace in the soil of my heart…a passion followed by action! That’s a passion that lasts a lifetime and doesn’t leave me “empty” on Monday morning.