This past week was Holy Week and Easter. It's an unparalleled celebration in the life of a believer. No matter if your Easter Sunday was a quiet, contemplative moment at sunrise or if it was a rowdy celebration with hundreds of other believers, I hope you were able to embrace the meaning and gravity of the empty tomb. He is risen! He is risen, indeed!
This week's pause is actually not about Easter Sunday. It's about Monday.
What happens the day after when the tomb is still empty, and the news is still good, and there is now work to be done? What happens when the excitement around the resurrection day has faded and the anticipation of "the" day has passed, and the Easter dinner leftovers are finished? What happens when it's Monday?
"Monday" is where our faith becomes real. It's when the disciples had to start the hard work of building the fellowship of believers and telling others about what they had seen and heard. It was when they had to start living out the life modeled for them.
Monday was not the end of Easter; it was only the beginning.
That Monday, and every day after that until now, is the rubber-meets-the-road-now-we-actually-live-this-thing-out life of a believer. We can't be faced with the story of Jesus - his life, death, and resurrection - without it changing us somehow. I want to live changed in all of my "Mondays."
Today, a few days past our modern celebration of Easter, we are faced with a decision: how will we let the story of Easter and the empty tomb change us again today?
If Easter doesn't change us daily, it's just a day to wear nice clothes, be with family and go to church. If it's just another ordinary day and the gravity of that day doesn't shift something deep in us again, we are missing out on harnessing the power of the resurrection - the SAME POWER available to you and me -in our everyday lives. If it doesn't change us, we'll miss out on the abundant life he has for us and the ability to share that with others. Don't you want that? Don't you want to be changed daily by the story of Easter? I know I do.
Jesus died for our sin. For all the stupid stuff we think, do, and say - past, present, and future. Hallelujah!
However, he also died for our freedom. To liberate us. To set the captives free (that's you and me, friend.). To give us abundant life and the ability to live fully loved - to love and be loved. All of that starts as we are daily changed by the story of Easter and take faith steps on Monday.
He died on Friday, a terrible death for us. He took the ultimate pause on Saturday in the grave as all of heaven and earth waited for the wonder of what might come. He rose victoriously that Sunday morning to prove he is Lord of all.
And then it was Monday. He died on Friday.... for Monday... and for every day after.
He knew Sunday was coming, but he also knew so would all the Mondays. The Mondays when we live out our faith. When we have to put into practice what we say we believe about him and about life with him and life with other believers. Where 'love your neighbor as yourself' and 'remember the sabbath' and 'go and make disciples' were not meant to be commands on a checklist of to-dos, but a love letter of liberation meant to give us life.
Thank God the grave is still empty. Thank God the news is still good. And no matter what the calendar says it is today, thank God it's Monday. There's work to be done. Not only with our hands but in our hearts. Let's get after it.
Welcome to every day after Easter. Welcome to Monday.
"After the Lord Jesus had talked with them, he was taken up to heaven and sat at the right side of God. The disciples went and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and proved that their preaching was true by the miracles that were performed." Mark 16:19-20