The familiar ringtone breaks my semi-restful night at the appointed time. Another Monday–another week–arrives with the expected regularity. My routine of mug and bowl and Word seems about the same. Outside, the birds and bugs seem to carry on their everyday rhythm. Cars zip past as yet another workday begins.
But something is different.
The resurrection happened yesterday, did it not? The ground shook and soldiers fell down like dead men. Women gasped in astonishment at empty corpse-wrappings, and men ran with reckless abandon to discover the truth–while others desperately conspired to hide the truth.
But today my life continues as usual.
Or does it?
Bright Monday, for the Christian, is an aftershock of the resurrection. Sure, it’s a return to normal–another swing of the God-ordained weekly pendulum of life, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s the ordinary Monday lived in the brightness of the not-so-ordinary Sunday. The ripple effects of the rolléd stone baptize the Monday ritual of regular work in extraordinary worship to our resurrected King. As every Sunday serves as a resurrection reminder, so every Monday serves as an opportunity to live the new life we’ve been given.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Psalm 118:24 with Paschal Troparion (c. 6th century)
When I think about what the resurrection means to me, I guess there’s a lot that comes to mind. There’s the historical aspect of the resurrection which marked out Jesus to be the Son of God and ignited the Christian faith around two-thousand years ago. Without the historical fact of the resurrection, every deed of charity or sacrifice or martyrdom is worthless. This resurrection event was no claim that was added to the doctrine of the Church some centuries after Jesus died (giving them time to fabricate a myth about him). No, this was a central claim that was made from the earliest claims of Jesus’ followers and was able to be verified by those who lived contemporaneously with Jesus of Nazareth (see 1 Corinthians 15).
But the resurrection is so much more than just a historical fact. The resurrection is God’s declaration that He has won. It is something of an invitation too. Easter is the audacious claim that God not only defeated sin and death and Satan, but that He invites us to win with Him too! We are offered the chance to identify with Jesus in His resurrection and victory. Maybe there is something in this suggestion that gives me hope of something greater and better. Everything I see around me passes from life to death with no hope of change for the better. But in the resurrection I see death rise into life and hope suddenly restored again. It is a hope that I’m not resigned to staying the way I am because I was “born this way,” but that I might be re-born and re-made. It is hope that the death-cycle is broken. It is hope that something greater than my greatest imaginings is in store.
You’ve saved me to be more than I could ever imagine, yet I go through life trying to find the strength to do Your will in my little schemes and plans. I look for my righteousness within myself. I attempt to please You by manipulating Your favor. All this I have done, but I keep coming up short. I am frustrated with my own inability to be something that, by my own power, I am not. Help me to look to the resurrection and to see that You have radically changed me. Now putting on Christ is simply being who I already am in You! Let my veins pulsate with the resurrection power of Jesus Christ who lives in me and I in Him. Empower me rise to from my sins, my self-righteousness, my idols and run to you. Let Your life live in me. Give me the strength to be who I really am in You!