Be Doers Of The Word, And Not Hearers Only
Though The Liturgical Calendar
The Rev. Dr. Franco Kwan
But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)
to the Anglican and the Episcopal liturgical calendar a year is divided into two parts. The first part of the calendar is the life cycle
of Jesus. It starts with Advent (Coming),
four Sundays before Christmas. This is a
period of preparation and expectation for the birth and coming again of Jesus. Then of
course, is Christmas, the feast of the Nativity, which starts on Christmas Eve and lasts
through the Epiphany. The feast of Christmas
is one of the two most important seasons for Christians.
It is because the Messiah, the King of kings is born, incarnate among us. Epiphany is the season of the star that guided the
three kings (wise men). It is also the
Christmas of the Eastern Orthodox Church due to a different calendar. Lent starts from Ash Wednesday which is forty days
before Easter. Sundays are not included in
these forty days. A week before Easter the church call this week the Holy
Week. It starts with Palm Sunday in
remembering Jesus last entering of Jerusalem. People in Jerusalem welcomed Jesus
waving with Palms in their hands. Holy
Thursday is also called Maundy Thursday. On
that day Jesus had his last supper with his disciples.
Jesus set an example for the disciples as humble servants to each other in washing
the disciples feet. Jesus also instituted the
Lords Supper (Holy Eucharist and Holy Communion) for the Church. After the supper he went to Gethsemane to pray
and was arrested there. Friday, the next day
is called Good Friday. It was the day Jesus
was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. Jesus rose on the third day, a high peak in the
Christian calendar (the other one is Christmas). It
is Easter. The Easter Tide last for fifty
days. The forth day after is the Ascension
Day of Jesus. Ten days later, is the Day of
Pentecost. This is the third peak of the
calendar. On that day the Holy Spirit
descended upon the disciples as promised by Jesus. They
went out to proclaim the gospel and the Church was formed due to the descending of the
Holy Spirit. This is the birthday of the
Church. The first Sunday of Pentecost is the
Sunday of the Trinity.
The second part of the Church calendar is from the Season of Pentecost back to Advent. The Season of Pentecost last almost half of a year. It can be as long as 29 weeks. The length of the season is dependant on how early Easter was.
first half of the calendar is for us to learn the teaching though Jesus Christ and the
second half of the calendar is for us the put all the knowledge to work, to make
disciples. St. James said, But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only,
deceiving yourselves. For if any one
is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in
a mirror; for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he is like. (James 1:22-24)
did St. James encourage us to be doers? It is
because most of the people of St. James time as well as here and now are listeners
not doers. As Christians we cannot be
listeners only. We must put what we have
learned to work. We have to act out what
Jesus has taught us, change our live, to witness Jesus.
In Christ we become new persons. That
is what Christians have always referred to as new birth. It you have learned a great deal of teachings from
Jesus but dont practice it, it will be useless.
Before Jesus left his disciples, he commissioned them as well as to commission us
today, Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end
of the world. (St. Matthew
the above Great Commission it is very clear for us to see the learning and
teaching components of it. If we only learn
but do not teach or put it to work, what good is it for us to have learned? It becomes a waste of time. Furthermore, if we do not use what we have learned
we will forget them all later on.
Many people in the pews have been Christians for twenty, fifty years or more. They are pew-warmers. They come to church every Sunday but they dont participate in anything. They dont know how to bring people to church. They dont know how to lead a prayer in public. They dont know how to teach Sunday School. They dont know to lead bible study. They dont know Are you one of them? If yes, it is because you dont pay any attention on the teachings of Christ. It is because you have not put what you have learn into practice. We Chinese have a saying: Teaching and Learning are grown together. When you teach you will learn more. Hurry! Get up and roll up your sleeves to take actions. Trust me you will be a better Christian when you put your faith to work. God love those who put what they learned to work.