In Praise of Easter Monday

After the Triduum with all of its drama and busyness, I have a kind of affinity to Easter Monday. Perhaps it is rooted in my earlier experiences as a parish pastor. Lent was always an astonishingly busy time with the three days, culminating in Easter, especially intense. The Monday after all that action was itself a kind of resurrection for me. This pastor slept in, read the paper, lingered over his coffee, and played with his daughters. Easter was rich, but Easter Monday was sweet. Easter is experienced differently for me now that teaching rather than preaching is the primary shape of my ministry. But still, there is something special about Easter Monday.

In a way, this is a day that is a shadow, or a ripple, or an echo of the day before. It is a softer, simpler version of an event so big that words cannot exhaust it. Monday is not quite so potent, and yet it drips with the after-glow of the resurrection. It is a next day event, when the consequences of a cataclysmic happening begin to sink in and now this experience becomes mine. It is fitting that the lectionary for Easter Sunday Evening (which in biblical accounting of time is already the next day) includes:

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear. (Isaiah 25:6)

I love the sensual quality of this text. When God spins the world around and we encounter it upside down our senses themselves are bowled over with feast, with drink, with excess. We need to take a breath to take it all in. On Easter Monday we digest Sunday’s excess. In due course we see it as a kind of surplus that is given for the sake of giving. We are filled to over-flowing for the good of all peoples. Easter Monday is a good day to ask ourselves how we might be food for the nations, drink for all peoples, justice for the lowest and righteousness for those imprisoned. Easter Monday is a day to take it home; to imagine that hope has taken up residence in me, in us, in the world.

I have made no special plans for this particular Easter Monday. Marking, above all else, makes a claim on me today. But I will make a special effort to listen to the echo of “Christ is risen”; an echo that has been massaged by the hills to sound just a little like “Allen is risen.” And the familiar refrain “He is risen indeed!” might approximate “He is risen in deed!”

May it be so.

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12 thoughts on “In Praise of Easter Monday

  1. Marie Taylor says:

    beautifully expressed.

  2. vidajay says:

    Aah, yes…the sweetness of Easter Monday. I drank deeply of it’s nectar today.

  3. Thank you – I think I’ll share this with my colleagues as my morning reflections

  4. shoreacres says:

    This reminds me of a little something I wrote once, referencing the photographer Annie Leibovitz.

    “In her book Annie Leibovitz at Work, the photographer tells the story of her first significant political assignment, recording the departure of Richard Nixon from the White House. On the morning after Nixon’s resignation, as he stood on the steps of the helicopter that was preparing to whisk him away, other White House pool photographers shot his “V” salute at the top of the steps and then began turning away.

    Rather than focusing on the President boarding the helicopter, Leibovitz turned her attention to guards rolling up the red carpet as the helicopter lifted off, managing to capture the image before the helicopter was fully aloft. The combination of an absent Nixon, an unwieldy red carpet and the entirely human sight of US Army guards attempting to hold onto their hats in the rotor wash was what Leibovitz calls an “in between moment”, a bit of captured life that manages to add piquancy and flavor to the bigger events of the day.”

    Whether it’s Easter, or Christmas, or Nixon’s departure, we can’t help but focus on the “big” events. But keeping our eyes and hearts open in the aftermath sometimes leads to even more intriguing or delightful experiences.

    • agjorgenson says:

      Thanks for sharing your reflection on being between and that marvelous photograph. I suppose people of the parables shouldn’t be altogether surprised when delight sneaks up on us unaware! But even so, I love the surprise.

  5. Ho….everyone who thirsts! I love this text also. And yours, especially the words “Easter was rich, but Easter Monday was sweet”.

  6. jannatwrites says:

    I hadn’t thought about the experience of Easter from a pastor’s point of view. I like the idea of Monday being a time of contemplation- that does seem appropriate after celebrating the resurrection, which covered our sins so that we can live.

    • agjorgenson says:

      Thanks for you comments. In a strange way, Easter Monday was sheer joy: relaxing, and recalling the excitement and joy of the day before was even richer than the day itself!

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