Here are some previous thoughts on the subject of Enthusiasm. When you have finished on this page, click Back to look at other topics.

Brian Radam is mad about lawnmowers -- he loves their smell, their sound, the way they look and the way they're built. So he collects them, rescuing many from the junk yard. He has a working thumb-sized mower, a robot mower and machines donated by rock singers and royalty. About 5,000 visitors, from all points of the compass, come each year to his shop -- which is also what Radam claims is the world's only lawnmower museum. "There are lots of keen collectors, but they don't tell anybody about it. If you went to the pub and you said 'do you want to see the dozen lawnmowers that I've got at home?', they'd think you were nuts," Radam said.

Many readers of this thought might agree, unable to see anything more to a lawnmower than a machine for cutting the grass. But in the eyes of the devotee, lawnmowers are a thing of beauty to be treasured. Many of us have enthusiasms which puzzle others and have eyes which see beauty where others see nothing special.

Jesus often delighted in people who others felt had little that was attractive about them. His attitude speaks to us of God’s. All of us, even those of us who feel uninteresting or unworthy of attention, are people he is enthusiastic about. God can see beauty even in those parts of each of us which seem ugly and boring. Let’s be grateful today that God does not limit his love to those who everybody agrees are lovable and treasures even those characteristics in us which we would happily consign to a junkyard.

Last Friday's draw in the Manchester United v. Manchester City derby was the ideal result for Paul Warburton. Paul had lymphatic leukaemia and it was discovered that a cell transplant from his brother Martin, a United supporter, could save his life. Martin agreed to the operation on one condition, that Paul gave up his City allegiance and join the United fan club.

Football matches and cancer are both part of life. Martin is a passionate man and his support for his team and the pain of his brother’s illness have both, in different ways, featured strongly in his experience of life. He's the kind of person who throws himself wholeheartedly and with a sense of generous good humour both into his hobbies and into life’s more serious challenges.

Life is more richly lived by those who are able to show similar enthusiasm, both for having fun and in more weighty matters. Perhaps today, as we value the diversity of experiences life offers, we can throw ourselves even more whole-heartedly into all of them.

The town of Nontron celebrates a Bellows Festival. People come into the streets dressed in nightshirts, cotton caps, clogs and masks and, of course, carrying bellows. It goes back to the Middle Ages when local monks brought bellows onto the streets to blow away bad spirits and purify the city air before Lent began. Its current early April celebration links it more with Easter; the fun is to be had in blowing air up each others’ night shirts.

“Blowing away bad energy” might be more how we would put it. We are sometimes aware of a sense of despondency that is dragging us down. Feeling not very successful, unappreciated or rejected can leave us feeling lacklustre and uninspired. We would be glad to have someone come and blow away the bad vibes and rejuvenate our spirits.

Resurrection is about the renewal of energy. It follows crucifixion and when Christ died on the cross, it was the weight of his own body dragging him down which caused him to suffocate. The new life that burst out on the first Easter Sunday emerged from and through despair.

Today, let’s take a breath of fresh air and allow it to blow away any bad spirits that might be affecting us. For the Christian, breathing in the spirit of the risen Jesus will invigorate us with new enthusiasm and confidence for living, but whatever our belief, a blast from imaginary bellows could be a valuable tonic.