Today I got to go on a long, quiet run. It had rained all night and into the morning, so few other people had yet to venture out into the grey day. After a stormy night the morning had dawned cold, damp, and still, but a few miles into my run the sun came out, and in the wet morning the trees sparkled. It seems like spring has come rather slowly this year—it always does when a lovely sunny day is followed by a plunge in temperatures that forces me to reach again for my winter coat. But today new life was undeniably all around me.
As I ran, I couldn’t help thinking that nature was playing out the drama of the Easter weekend we just celebrated. Through the night of Good Friday it is dark and ominous, and the world feels mournful and crumbling at the seams. When the storm subsides, we wait in the cold, still place between death and life. But in the morning—oh, in the morning! Hope springs new, and the resurrection sun pierces the darkness, and we can shout with the chorus of the song: “I’m alive, I’m alive because He lives!”
So what, then, do we make of Easter Monday? What about the day when my house is littered with the halves of plastic eggs and fake grass that refuses to succumb to the vacuum? When the resurrection songs have all been sung and I need to figure out how leftover ham can figure into each meal this week? When my 15-month old seems to feel entitled to chocolate candy at any hour of her choosing, resulting in more temper tantrums than usual? The trees are sparkling and the daffodils are trumpeting, but has my resurrection celebration ended with the weekend?
It can be easy for me to let Easter slide away as an end of something rather than as a beginning. To find myself slowly going back to the shackles of worry, fear, and shame that want to claim me as their own. I forget, I think, that the cross and the empty tomb have ushered in a whole new life, a whole new creation, and that I have been recreated, too. Christ has freed me from slavery to the old things. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
We should step into Easter Monday, then, with a fresh and glorious sense of emancipation, determined to live freely as part of Christ’s new creation, of the unspeakably good work that we celebrated yesterday. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that the old is not just lying around, temporarily discarded but ready to take us back whenever we want, but is gone—“If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation—the old has gone and the new has come!”
Stand firm, then. Don’t settle back under the burden of slavery to the old ways, the old dead and dying world, now that Easter Monday has arrived. It is spring, when everything around us is heralding the new creation with all its might. Join in! Make Easter the starting point, the Emancipation Day that you can look back on as the point where everything changed…because, of course, everything did.