The Monday After: Reflecting After Holy Week
PATREEYA PRASERTVIT | APRIL 22, 2019 | 3 MIN READ
Monday is perhaps the most forgetful day of the week. We live much of our lives with this escapist drive toward the weekend, thinking those two days will fulfill all of our needs and fantasies. More sleep! More time to work on those assignments! A chance to have clean pants again! Time with people I like! Time with God! Time with my good friends, Leslie Knope & Ron Swanson!
Then Monday rolls around. “How was your weekend?” someone asks. My mind goes blank. “Church was…really good,” I mutter vaguely, the Monday amnesia hitting me like a cartoon anvil.
As Christians, we have spent the past few weeks in anticipation of Easter. We prepared our hearts. We reflected on the cross and its significance. We felt the long, heavy pause between Good Friday and Easter Sunday – waiting for the discovery of an empty grave and a risen Savior. And then it comes. He comes. And then it’s Monday.
The temptation is to treat Easter like it’s an ending. The eggs have all been found, Jesus is risen (*raised hands emoji*), we went to church, I can finally eat sugar/watch Netflix/go on social media again…and now it’s back to “normal life.”
But nothing was normal after Jesus. Easter was a revolution. It was the day after which nothing was the same ever again. When a man who claims to be God rises from the dead, “business as usual” isn’t a thing. From that day forward, you spend your entire life either affirming that he is risen or denying it. Easter isn’t just a time to pause and reflect on some nice truths we tend to forget about the rest of the year. It is the entire crux of our faith. It is the only reason we have to hope.
Perhaps you’ve been feeling the trudge of April. We are a third of the way through 2019, and maybe the “blank slate” you thought this year would bring has already been tainted with disappointments, mistakes, failures. Why do we think flipping a page on our calendars gives us the ability for a fresh start? From experience, I know January 1st rarely brings the willpower needed to finally stick to that exercise routine I’ve been promising myself for the past five years.
But Easter. If there was ever a time for significant life changes, it should be the Monday after Sunday. Because Easter isn’t an ending. It’s a beginning. It’s THE beginning, the fresh start all of our hearts long for. It isn’t about fluffy bunnies and pastel colors – it’s about the radical death, relentless love, and revolutionary power.
The cross, the empty grave, and the resurrected Jesus not only give us a reason to hope for change — they give us the power to change. Rather than us trying to change from our own efforts, the resurrection changes us.
In Romans 8, Paul reminds us: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
Easter Sunday is unlike any other Sunday. We come into the Monday as a changed people. Not because we finally got to catch up on sleep. Not because we feel shiny and new and different. Not because of what we have accomplished. But because of what was done on our behalf. Because Jesus’s resurrection gave us a new identity. My identity is not in the choices I make or what I accomplish, but in who Christ’s resurrection has made me to be.
The life of the disciples after meeting the resurrected Jesus reminds me of this. “On the evening of the first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord (John 20:19-20).”
It was the first day of the week. The disciples had locked themselves away out of fear. Everything Jesus had taught, everything he had said or done… it all seemed like a distant memory now.
But we see these disciples again in Acts 4, preaching to the Jewish leaders they had been hiding from. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).”
Something happened in that locked room that radically transformed them from fearful, anxious men into witnesses that would not be silenced, would not be ashamed, would not stop sharing what Jesus had done — even at the cost of their own lives. They began to live, not out of who they were, but out of who the resurrection had made them to be. Their encounter with Christ was so ingrained into their hearts and minds that they never forgot it. It was the story they told, over and over again, for the rest of their lives.
The resurrection was everything for them. The cross was the death of everything they had hoped or believed was true. But it wasn’t the end. It was the end of who they had been, and the beginning of who they truly were meant to be. When Jesus came back to life, they came alive.
Let us give Easter the place it deserves, not relegated to a day on the calendar but to a defining moment we celebrate over and over again in the days that follow, with our choices and with our lives.
Christ has risen. The grave is empty. Everything is changed. How does the resurrection change the way you see your life today? How might God be giving you new hope and life?
Patreeya Prasertvit considers herself a "Cajun Asian," having grown up in Bangkok and Baton Rouge. Although raised in a predominantly Buddhist home, Patreeya now disciples and trains women to live out the gospel working with Cru in Berkeley, CA. She is part of Solano Community Church in Albany. You'll find her compulsively browsing bookstores, feeding anyone who visits, and eating her way through the Bay Area. Read more from her at www.patreeya.com.