How is your mood on Monday? During the NFL season in the community I call home, the Monday mood of many hinges on what happened the previous Sunday afternoon. If our team won, there are plenty of smiles to go around, and total strangers are eager to talk about what a great game it was. On the other hand, with a Sunday loss still fresh in mind, Monday mornings can be brutal. Enthusiasm and goodwill can be hard to find.
So what about the Monday after Easter?
Having seen the risen Christ the night before, the disciples were justifiably overjoyed, but also still trying to process all that had happened. The following Sunday Jesus would again appear to them. Singling out Thomas, the Lord said, “Put your finger here; see my hands.” (John 20:27 NIV84) With multiple appearances over the next forty days, the Lord would continue to fortify His followers’ faith before His ascension to the Father’s right hand of glory.
Now what about us? What will our attitude and mood be the Monday after Easter and beyond?
Will we forget what the angel said at the tomb: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:5-6 NIV84)? Will we be anxious about personal difficulties, despondent over challenges our congregation faces, and fearful for the future of our church body?
How can we despair on Monday when Jesus won the greatest victory of all time on Sunday? “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:4 NIV84) He suffered the most horrendous death of all time. He absorbed in His own body the punishment for all sin. And He won! He rose in glory, never to die again. All our faults and failures, our unfaithfulness toward God and lovelessness toward those around us—all our sin is gone, buried with Christ, and left behind in the tomb. “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Rom. 6:4 NIV84)
Because of Easter, Monday holds amazing promise and hope. Let’s live that way!
The world, because of its unbelief, will slip back into its hopeless trek toward death and eternal punishment. But because Jesus lives, we live too. We can greet Monday with confidence. No matter how many deadlines, problems, and uncertainties we face, we don’t have to worry. We have a living Savior who promises, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV84) Paul concludes, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NIV84)
As Jesus gathered His disciples and sent them out to preach the gospel, so He gathers us now, equips us with His Spirit, and sends us out to make disciples of all nations. Problems of tight congregational budgets, small numbers, and persecution from the world are not problems for the King of Kings. Even death itself cannot overcome us with Jesus.
Let’s look forward, not just to our Easter celebration, but also to the Monday after.
Let’s anticipate it as a glorious day to bask in the victory of Christ’s resurrection and to joyfully live for Him Who died and rose for us. Whether our service to Him is in the classroom, workplace, or home; whether it is showing Christ’s love with a smile and kind word to a stranger, working with fellow believers on a church outreach plan, or praying for and supporting the work of our larger fellowship in the CLC, may we live every day as a triumphant “Monday after”!
Michael Eichstadt is pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, and president of the Church of the Lutheran Confession.