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Well, "Easter" was over nearly a month ago. Certainly Easter Egg hunts are over, chocolate bunnies are probably eaten, and definitely the peanut butter eggs as well. I hope you had a good time supporting the candy industry with this annual holiday.

In some Christian traditions Easter is still going on, because in those traditions, "Easter" is not a day, it's a season. In those traditions, the word "Easter" really matters. Easter, you see, is really  not just about Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In those traditions, Easter is about someone recognized not as Jesus, but as Jesus Christ.

Easter, you see, lasts until the other Christian special day called "Pentecost" which is another special Christ remembrance (Acts 2:1-21). Pentecost was the time the Holy Spirit was given to the early Christians (called at the time "People of the Way"). Many traditions consider "Pentecost" to be, for example, the 'birthday of the Church' and the real beginning of the Christian community. Easter, you see, is the time to share who Jesus Christ REALLY was and the effect of his appearances after he was resurrected. That's why the name "Easter" really means something for people in those traditions that keeps on going for many Sunday services and continues all through the Pentecost season.

Of course, if words don't matter to you and you're not Interested in Jesus Christ, you can stop reading now and turn to some other part of the paper.

I suppose some people think that "Christ" was Jesus last name. Actually, we should probably never just refer to that person as "Jesus" without including "Christ." If we do, we have a very unhelpful tendency to focus on the 'human' part of that person without really understanding not only who he was, but what he was.

Briefly, adding the word "Christ" totally alters who and what that person was. Jesus Christ, you see, was not just some human who "made good." And Jesus Christ was not just some human crucified and raised from the dead.

"Christ," you see, is an attempt by the early church, and ever since, to explain that Jesus Christ came to show us by his behavior during his life and his willingness to die and be resurrected who God really is and what God is really like. He was not just a human being that "made good" and "sacrificed himself" but was in some way more than any human can be.

For those early people, that person showed what the God who was present at the creation of the universe (Genesis 1:1-2:3) is really  like. Jesus Christ came to show us that God is really not, as I was taught as a little boy, some very powerful man who was a score keeper that was judging us as to whether we were good or bad.

Jesus Christ shows us that God is a loving, creator.

Jesus Christ shows that God wishes love to be the center, the goal, the action of all of god's creatures.

Jesus Christ call us to show "God's love" in all that we do, especially us created humans. When god said "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness" (Genesis 1:26), God was intending us to love and cherish everything in God's creation (universe) and to transform this part of that universe. That's what God does and what Jesus Christ tried to do.

Jesus Christ's life was the example of what and how we are to carry out God's image in us. If we focus only on the birth and death and resurrection (and ignore all the rest of the story) we miss the whole point that Jesus was Christ.

Words do matter in our world. "Easter" is not just a day, it's a season. Jesus Christ was much more than a "sacrifice" for us. He came to show us how we are to share God's love. That's what the "Christ" part is about. Forgetting that is to make "Jesus Christ" not what he was.

Forgetting what Jesus Christ we lose our potential to be God's love in today's often painful and confusing world.

The Rev. Gene R. Anderson is the Supply Priest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 906 Fayette Street, Martinsville.