Z is for Zeal
This last letter of the A-Z of the Christian faith, Z, we have decided will stand for zeal - a word meaning enthusiasm, keenness, or commitment. You could say that it is the quality that lies behind many of the words we have written in A-Z.
The Good News of the Christian Faith is God’s zeal (love and commitment) towards us and to his creation.
He is our maker, redeemer, or saviour and the one who makes us holy and sustains us in all we do and are. That is, the love of God is shown as the working of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Or, as St. John sums it up another way;
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. [John 3:16-17]
So the zeal, the enthusiastic seeking love and commitment of God to us, his children, is the core of our faith. God loved us before we ever loved him. He goes on loving us to death and beyond, and however we fail to love him, as we often do. To be zealous is to be keen and energetic about what you are doing. God’s love for us has been active in Jesus, and in giving us his Holy Spirit.
Whenever we long for God, we can be sure that he longs for us much more. But still he does want us to return his love - by loving him, by loving each other, by keeping his commandments, and by witnessing to others of our faith. Love inspires love, and as Jesus says to the disciples
If you love me keep my commandments. [John 14:5]
So any zeal we have should begin in love and joy at being loved and end in obedience and a dedicated life. Zeal does not mean fanaticism about making converts of others. Only God can “convert” people, we are commanded to love them, and part of that loving is to share our knowledge of the love of God for all of us.
So zeal ends our A-Z of the faith, but God’s zeal for us never ends - his love and commitment to us are everlasting.