It’s chilly this morning, this Monday morning after Easter. The birds sing a little as the sun is pulled higher into the sky, as we pull ourselves out of our beds and out of our spring break lounging. We celebrated yesterday with our Sunday best, with hands held high and voices lifted loud in song, with delicious food and kind friends and little ones chasing after eggs in the yard. And today we pull on our work clothes and get out of the house before it’s all the way light and we walk into the day after Easter.
In some ways the day feels no different than the ones before. The alarm brought the same amount of dread, the coffee was just as rejuvenating. We went about our routine like we would on any other morning.
But it wasn’t the same.
With the rolling away of the stone yesterday morning everything has changed.
Imagine with me agony the followers of Jesus must have felt as they rose that Sunday morning 2,000 years ago. Their closest friend, their most admired leader, the one they had hinged all hopes upon had been dead more than a day. The initial sickness and raw pain at the onset of his crucifixion was becoming a dull ache that stretched to all corners of their crushed hearts. Their eyes were swollen from crying, the tears had been used up. Lifeless, void of motivation or purpose, they pulled themselves up that Sunday morning and put one foot in front of the other – willing their weary spirits to do the next thing.
I’ve been there before. We all have, if we’re honest. Broken hearts, exhausted bodies, limp souls. The night’s agonies aren’t relieved by the rising sun. The morning brings with it only the dread of another day. Life seems hard, too hard. It takes all we have to put one foot in front of the next and do the next thing. Even if it isn’t a deep grief or a painful loss, we’ve all been hounded by hopelessness, listlessness, weariness. We’ve all known what it is like to feel purposeless, to lose motivation, to be too tired to move.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary trudged to the place of their master’s burial in the barely morning that Sunday. They were going to mourn, to honor the body of their dead lord.
We know the rest of the story. We know how they didn’t find the body, how an angel told them that the grave hadn’t kept Jesus, that he was alive. We know they ran – their heavy trodden footsteps were suddenly buoyant with the good news. We know that Jesus met them on their sprint back home. Their lives were forever changed.
And when they woke up on Monday morning I am convinced they didn’t need coaxing to get out of bed. They didn’t shuffle through their morning routine like a zombie. They weren’t mindless about tending to their tasks. They lived that Monday, and then that Tuesday, and then all that days that followed, as Easter people.
Two-thousand and some odd years later we encounter this same gloriously good news. Maybe it didn’t come from an angel, we probably didn’t get to witness the empty tomb, and more likely than not we haven’t been given the chance to touch the scars in Jesus’ palms. For many it came on the pages of illustrated bibles for children, on flannel boards at Sunday school, from parents and big brothers who heard it from their parents. We grew up with the news, we knew it by heart since before we could even read it for ourselves.
But no matter how familiar, it is still the news that changes lives forever.
The Gospel remains the story of how the world was forever altered.
And as our Monday dawns, and Tuesday, and all the days to come, as the Easter lilies wilt and the plastic eggs are gathered and stored for next year, we go about our days that look the same as the days were before Easter came. The same chores, the same people, the same house, the same workplace, the same burdens, all the while knowing that nothing will ever be the same.
Do not abandon yourself to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song. – John Paul II
So on this Monday after Easter, this Monday back to normal life as the luxury of spring break concludes, we continue singing the choruses of yesterday: Christ is Risen, alleluia. Because He lives we can face tomorrow. And suddenly, this hard, sad, chaotic, unfulfilling, dreary life, is worth living, because He lives.
We are the Easter people. Hallelujah is our song.