What happens when I wake up on the day after Easter and my world is the same? Christ rose on Sunday, but the washing machine door is still stuck with the wet clothes inside, the child is crying, the finances are low, the car is dented and the friend is angry over the sweater. And, everyone has started calling the family dog ‘Scootz’ for some unfortunate but obvious reasons. It’s not her real name.
Why does every Facebook post show families posed in photos when your crew refused to smile for one simple Easter picture? Thank God for a few brave souls on your feed with crying children – shirt untucked, chocolate smeared face, proverbial Easter basket askew.
What happens when the power of the empty tomb doesn’t seem to reset your Monday morning life?
Maybe we live too much in the expectations of instantaneous happiness. We want God to be the kung-foo super-hero rescuing from porn addictions, alcoholism, abusive parenting, and serial killers. We would like him to instantly annihilate ISIS, the Taliban, and maybe just clear out all of the Middle East to start over again. In the process, if God could shave 12 kilos off my middle, that would be a big bonus. We would like all of this done from the protection, safety, and comfort of our home with our families cozied up on the couch watching it all play out. Zero trans-fat, low sodium, but the buttery-tasting popcorn included.
Our Easter story doesn’t give a lot of Monday morning details but I wish it did because that is where I am today. It tells us that Thomas came, found out that he missed the one event that could have restored his hope, and refused to believe what everybody else was telling him.
In other words, Thomas remained disillusioned and angry – in his mind, the body of Jesus was still a bloody, broken mess swelling with toxic decomposition gasses. He didn’t post, ‘Death, where is your sting?’ He was brave enough to say what he really thought.
‘I won’t believe until I see a living Jesus with some nail-sized scars.’
Not to rain on anybody’s pastel painted Easter-egg hunt, but after we push back from the honey-glazed ham, we might need a reality check. Have we put Jesus back in the tomb on Monday?
Christ’s transformative power begins with some honesty. Most of us are cracked eggs: missing shells, smeared dye, the ugly mud-green that develops from too many color mixtures. At least, I am.
So, if you want to find me on Monday, I’m in the corner with Thomas and the crying child with the empty Easter basket. I’m mad that I was gone when Jesus made his appearance, feeling lonely that I can’t post ‘no sting here’ family photos, and wondering if anybody else has questions like me. I’m not sure how far into Monday I’m going to get before I lose it and throw a temper-tantrum.
John’s book says that Mary Magdalene went early to the tomb but Jesus shows up in the evening. He lets those disciples fret and stew all day. When Thomas misses the big event, he lets him wait a week before the next appearance.
Why the delays? Was the risen Savior too busy?
Could it be that we have a Savior who does not want perfect families with perfect smiles in perfect homes with perfect pets as much as he wants to transform me? Maybe we were meant to face Monday clinging to that Thomas kind of faith that believes God will walk right through that door for me and only me.
The Thomas story is much more powerful than we think.
While Mary got the sunrise service and the disciples got the Upper Room, Thomas got the nail-scarred touchable Christ. In the Garden, Jesus tells Mary, ‘Do not cling to me, yet.’ When the resurrected Jesus appears to the disciples, he breaths on them. But to Thomas, he says ‘Touch me. Touch my scars.’
Stick your hand into the side where the wound was deep and fatal to his finite flesh – transformative love flows there. It is from Thomas’ experience with the Lord that I draw hope on Monday. I’m not an early-riser like Mary Magdalene.
I am the Monday morning mom who was late to Easter Sunday service again this year. My house missed Easter decorations and the dinner was a little burned. I am the Monday morning missionary who isn’t always sure how or if the time is right to move the conversation to salvation. And, by the way, that is my dog scooting across the floor, unfortunately.
It seems that Thomas has a Sunday morning sermon that will preach on Monday.
We live in a world of broken dreams, broken lives, broken families, broken people trying to muster enough courage to get out of bed on Monday morning and make it through a broken system. And those are the lucky ones who don’t live in Pakistan where a bomb shredded lives last week.
Thank God for Thomas who teaches us that the Christ is healing the porn addictions, the abuse, ISIS, and all that is in between. And thank God for the Middle East where there are newly open doors to hear the story of a touchable Jesus.
Here is a bit of honesty – we are all Monday-morning desperate to see Jesus heal us and our world. By his divine wisdom, we only make it through with one hand buried deep in his wounded side. Most of the time, it is through us and our desperate selves that the world comes to believe that the tomb is empty and Sunday’s resurrection has the power to change Monday’s trajectory.
Have faith. Jesus comes back. He always comes back … right, Thomas?