James 1:25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act– they will be blessed in their doing.
It had been a busy week, newsletter weeks are like that most months. By the time I got to the final page, my pastoral message (technically, the front page) it was late afternoon and I was both grateful to see light at the end of the tunnel and mentally exhausted. I wrote about busyness, and how we fill up our days, homes, and lives to distract us from the work we need to do- on ourselves, our spaces, our assignments. Perhaps it was self-indulgent to write on a topic cluttering up my head with an assumption that others may be struggling with the same. I finished the task, satisfied and a little proud that it was completed within the work day and would not bleed into my homework time later.
The next day, I arrived to proof before we went to press. As I read the pastor’s message, it hit me- I didn’t mention Easter in my message. At all. It was spotty throughout the rest of the document, but it didn’t even garner a passing glance in my reflection, and we were only two weeks out from Easter. I uttered aloud, “I forgot to talk about Easter.” My secretary said, “Yeah, I noticed that. I thought that was weird.” I sat numb trying to figure out how I did it and if it could be fixed. I am a big complainer that, as a twenty-first century crowd, we put Easter away with the baskets and decorations; forgetting to ruminate on the gift/ mercy/ responsibility that comes with considering oneself an Easter person. We shouldn’t easily dismiss the power of living in hope, a gift of salvation to us, for which Jesus was willing to lay down his life.
And yet, I forgot. I, too, put Easter on a shelf and moved on without a backward glance.
There’s a bit of poetic justice in this colossal oversight. Perhaps I had busied myself too much with everything but living as an Easter person. In that sense, James’ caution, noted above from the first chapter, is correct: when we only talk about Easter, but don’t live out the hope of Easter, it’s easy to forget. A few verses before, James reminds us that it is like when we glance in a mirror and then look away, forgetting what we saw.
There have been times when I have been confronted with the less- than-desirable traits I possess. When I say a hurtful word or act in a way that is embarrassing to who I would rather be, it is like seeing my dark side in a mirror. I know better. I want to be better. And yet, after the conflict is settled or the apology is made I find that my resolve to change fades.
Living Easter as a person of action and not just a speaker is hard work. Then again, so is the work of true discipleship. Those first century believers knew that very well, even as they lived hopefully for Jesus’ return. If we can, let’s begin to see the world through their eyes, with a passion for discipleship that exudes focus and commitment. In that way, Easter will not be once a year, easy to forget, but everyday- as it ought to be.