The Day After.
It’s often a day of disappointment. Remember all those December 26ths growing up? No? Why not? Because the excitement was on the 25th. The excitement was on the day of celebration; not the day after.
It’s often of day of questioning. Why did we spend so much time on the day before? Was it worth it? Did we actually gain anything? Sometimes, it doesn’t seem like it. The day after allows us to apply hindsight and question everything.
It’s often a day of emptiness. One of the worst days to deal with when a loved one dies is the day after the funeral. Because all of the food has been eaten. All of the stories have been shared. All of the guests have returned home. And you are left to deal with the reality of life with a huge hole in your heart.
It’s often a day of regret. Sometimes, it’s a day of asking, “What happened?” The day after provides us the needed opportunity to deal with all of the consequences of the previous day’s actions. The day after can even lead to all sorts of entertaining television episodes or movies (think The Hangover).
But sometimes, the day after is a little more difficult than a simple hangover.
The Hope of Easter. Followed by The Reality of The Day After.
Easter is Resurrection Sunday—the day death was defeated. The day we are given the ultimate promise of life after death. The day that we are told emphatically sin and death do not have the last word.
But on the Monday after Easter I find myself still facing sin and death. There are too many people still fighting against their demons. There are too many tombs that are not empty.
I cannot get upset at the disciples hiding out in a locked room after the Resurrection. I cannot get upset that they didn’t believe Mary when she came and told them she had seen the Risen Lord. I cannot get upset that Thomas didn’t believe his companions when they told him what (or better, Who) they had seen.
I can’t get upset because I AM EXACTLY THE SAME!
It is easy for me to celebrate on Easter Sunday. It is easy for me to get wrapped up in the singing and the fellowship and the greeting/response of, “He is risen; He is risen indeed.”
But I need someone to tell me today that Jesus is still risen.
Because today there is no fanfare. Today there is no special program. Today there is no excitement or hustle and bustle to occupy my mind.
Today there is only real life. And it is in the midst of real life that I need to be reminded the tomb is empty.
It is possible to experience joy and sorrow simultaneously. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.
Graduation: joy at the accomplishment; sorrow at the goodbyes.
Funerals: joy for a life well-lived; sorrow at the loss.
One of my favorite hymns catches this phenomenon: “See from His head, His hands, His feet; Sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did ever such love and sorrow meet? Or thorns compose so rich a crown?” The Passion of Jesus is a time of great joy and great sorrow. It is a time of extreme hope and ultimate despair.
So honestly, it makes perfect sense for humans to feel conflicted about their Easter experience.
Did you have a wonderful time yesterday? Did you wake up today wondering if any of it was worthwhile? Did you have to live through the difficult realities of life? Did you experience disappointment, questioning, emptiness, or regret?
Then it sounds to me like you’re pretty normal.
He is risen. He is risen, indeed.
Will you tell me that today? And tomorrow?