The First Day of the Week

Since we Christians have thoroughly removed ourselves from the calendar and therefore the mindset of the Jewish roots of our faith, something about Easter may evade our notice. In fact, it has evaded my notice until right now as I sit in my office on Easter Monday trying to muster up enough residual mental and spiritual energy to cobble together something semi-inspiring for you, dear reader. That “something” that just occurred to me is that Easter, for the followers of Jesus, occurred at the beginning of the work-week. The reason the women who were going to the tomb had to wait until after it was dark on Saturday night/early Sunday morning was because there the Sabbath was very strictly followed in the Jewish culture, and work was forbidden on that day. Anointing the body of Jesus would have been work, so they had to wait until the beginning of the “work-week,” Sunday-Friday, to carry out that task. Sabbath day, which we call “Saturday,” was the Jewish equivalent of a “weekend.”
Something about this realization changes my perspective on Easter for some reason, perhaps because I spent Sunday leading worship, then having a big dinner, watching the Masters, having a 2 hour nap, helping Wesley on his baseball swing, going out for dinner at Chuy’s with my family since Ted’s was closed for Easter Sunday (Imagine that.), then getting home and watching “Margin Call” while folding laundry. Though I feel pretty well “drained” on this Easter Monday, it is precisely into this experience that the Risen Christ comes barging in. Not into a “set aside date for rest and relaxation,” but into the ordinary, work-life tasks that we so frequently undertake. John 21 shows that the disciples had already gone back to their fishing nets!
I can imagine Mary and the rest of the women and the other disciples felt much more “drained” than I do today. And, into this reality, not one where they had all gathered at the tomb singing “alleluia,” wearing pastel colored shirts and dresses, and giddy about the number in attendance, is where the angels charged them with a new task. It was the first day of the week, it was, as John tells it, the first day of a New Creation! So—may we find the Living Christ: across our work desks or counters or kitchen tables, on the clogged city streets or in the stillness of our fields and pastures, in our classrooms or break rooms. Christ is risen. Christ is risen, indeed!