17 days til Easter.

When I check the calendar, I can find Easter. As of March 23, there are 17 days.

I used to know exactly how much time there was until Easter without having to look at a countdown. My stomach would tell me as I worked on the details of Easter services and Easter dramas and Good Friday services. My relationships would tell me as I ignored them and worried about the deadlines and about what people would think of me.

I understand the irony. Now, anyway. To sacrifice relationship on the altar of Easter pageantry misses the point of the celebration.

Jesus the Christ came and lived and died and rose to offer freedom from having to measure up. From measuring up to human standards of proving something to God.  From measuring up to God’s standards for perfect attitude and behavior.

That’s not to say that there isn’t an invitation to do things well. There is an invitation to write with clarity (I wrote that sentence four times). There is an invitation to learn to sing well, to learn to love well. There is an invitation to learn how to care for others in a way that will help them, not just help me.

But I’m thinking that the worry I created for myself was created by myself. And was fostered in cultures that put perfection ahead of excellence and drama ahead of the trauma it caused.

It’s possible that this is one of those posts that will resonate only with a couple of people. But I’m pretty sure that those couple people need to know the message of freedom at Easter.

Plan your services with all your skills. But not because a big crowd or a big event makes God (or your boss or board) happy. “Love one another” is what Jesus said near the end. And I’m sorry if that’s not the measure for your other bosses.