Three reasons I hate being in the office at Easter... and how to fix that
This is a guest post from David Chan who works in information management within the telecommunications industry, and as Life@Work Network Coordinator.
It’s that time of year again. Easter. Sigh. You know what I’m talking about don’t you? Of all the times of the year that it can be especially “tricky” to be a Christian in the workplace this is it. Here’s why I find it especially hard…and what I’m praying this Easter to solve that.
1. It's cliche
In Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Halloween is the one-day of the year when vampires take the night off. All the non-vampire humans go about their annual rituals of dress-ups and trick-or-treating, making the whole celebration a hollow, and slightly embarrassing, cliché for the true “Vampyre”.
As with vampires and Halloween so with me and Easter. It’s that time of the year when the general public pays cultural homage to keep grandma happy. People take a long, long weekend but without really appreciating what it is all for. I feel like the vampire disappointed at how hollow the whole celebration has become.
And if your workplace is anything like mine Easter is that time of the year when your colleagues bring their religious baggage out of storage. Dredging up negative childhood memories of church boredom, guilt and intellectual incredulity; that is before their enlightened 13 year old selves finally got the upper hand against that volunteer 70-year old Sunday School teacher who couldn’t answer their question about dinosaurs. Though to be fair, the church hasn’t always had a stellar record in respectfully and lovingly engaging with those bigger questions. Which is what can make Easter so difficult in the workplace. An uncomfortable time for paying respects to a societal heritage that many have been personally slighted by, making it at times harder, not easier, to share my Christian faith…
2. I'm complicit
…Especially when I’ve spent all year with this team. I’ve laughed at the same off-colour jokes – sometimes uncomfortably, but more often genuinely. I’m “annoyed” by Michael just like everyone else in the office (seriously, who hired that guy?) I’m complicit in the office politics. Maybe not an active player, but I know when to report that the project is “green” when it’s really on-fire red.
And then oh, it’s April again. “Hey Michael, Happy Easter, let me tell you about Jesus…”. Sometimes declaring and displaying Easter only declares and displays my own hypocrisy. It’s hard suddenly bringing in hot cross buns when you’re not generous the other 51 weeks of the year…
3. Work is crazy busy
…And besides, Easter is also the time of the year when I’m like, crazy busy and stuff. I’ve got this long, long weekend coming up which just puts even more pressure on me to get that (green) project delivered by the end of the financial year.
Meanwhile this is also the busiest time of the church calendar – my church volunteering is all out of whack as we plan to reach out to those Easter pilgrims who show up once a year. And on top of all that you want me to share the gospel at work because Easter makes it easier? Sigh. I don’t even share it the rest of the year…
An Easter prayer of confession
Maybe, just maybe, all of this is the reason why I need Easter so much. That annual long, long weekend to stop and remember the reason for it all. And so this Easter here is my prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, this Easter help me to remember Easter throughout the rest of the year. Even as work is crazy busy please help me to be a faithful steward of my time – throughout all seasons, and on all days; Sundays and into the working week. May my priorities and actions grow to reflect your own.
Forgive me again when I’m complicit in workplace sinfulness. May your Spirit work to restore and transform my office relationships into genuine friendships marked by integrity, compassion and love.
Against the Easter cliché help me share the truth of Easter, by authentically sharing in the lives of my work colleagues every day – hearing their hopes and dreams, hurts and fears, and showing how Jesus is far better than all our collective cultural baggage.
And thank you Jesus, this Easter, for once again reminding me afresh of your great work on the cross, dying for my sin so that I might be forgiven, and rising again to new life so that with you we might live lives to the full, eternally.
To you be the glory, forever and ever. Amen.