On Easter Monday, Are We True Easter People?

On Easter Monday, Are We True Easter People?

Easter has come and gone. We prepared the Easter eggs, decorated the house, attended the in-person or online services, heard the sermon, ate the bread and drank the wine. But are we changed? Are we, to use hymnist Shirley Erena Murray’s phrase, “true Easter people?” That depends more on what happens on the inside than on all the preparations and activities that we go through.

In “A God of Incredible Surprises,” Virgilio Elizondo, one of the leading Latino theologians in the United States, writes of a new humanity:

People who believe in Jesus Christ experience nothing less than a real rebirth of mind and heart. The world has not changed, but they are totally changed. Through them, more human social structures will emerge and begin to take shape. They continue to be in the world struggling with the same daily affairs as anyone else, yet they are no longer of the world. They continue to live and struggle in the world like anyone else, yet they rise above the ordinary enslaving and destructive attitudes of sinful society. They are in the world, but beyond it. Many continue to live a crucified existence, yet they have already risen from the dead; many continue to be poor, destitute, and disenfranchised, yet they are rich beyond all the material wealth of this world; many are still illiterate, yet they have a wisdom far greater than the many intellectuals. They might still be marginal within society, yet they are the dynamic center of a new humanity like the world has never known.

Finding this “real rebirth of mind and heart” is the reason we go to church and worship. But getting to a point of rebirth and transformation is more than a one-time event. The inward path of the disciple takes us closer to God, the outward path of the disciple brings God’s blessings to others. It is an inward and outward journey that Christians repeat their entire lives. We are continually seeking to know the heart of God and be transformed by the divine and in the process our hearts are continually seeking to love others and serve humanity. Acts of compassion flow naturally from the transformed hearts and minds of true Easter people.

About Easter Monday, the Monday of the Angel

Easter Monday is a bank holiday in many nations around the world and is especially observed by orthodox Christians where it is the beginning of Bright Week. While the Bible does not report any specific event taking place on Easter Monday, it is traditionally understood as the first day of Jesus 40-day appearance after his resurrection. In Catholicism, the day is referred to as “Monday of the Angel” as a way of remembering the words of the the Angel, “He is Risen!” The passion account reveals that the disciples on Easter encountered the empty tomb, but did not realize the resurrection until the angels proclaimed it to Mary Magdalene (or the women) who remained at the tomb.

Spiritual Practices for Today

As you continue in reflection this Easter Monday, read or sing Shirley Erena Murray’s hymn “Leftover People in Leftover Places.” (Community of Christ Sings, Hymn 275, available on Amazon ISBN-13: 978-0830915521). From what perspective does Shirley Erena Murray write? How does her perspective differ from that contained in the paragraph above from Virgilio Elizondo?

Pray: God, thank you for the newness of this day; for the awareness that comes with a resurrection of the mind and heart. Please forgive me for those uncertainties and doubts that keep me in this world. Thank you for the hopes and dreams that release me beyond it. Open my heart to an awareness of the needs of the crucified in this world, those who are poor, destitute and disenfranchised. Help me to go forth in God’s upside-down kingdom, aware of my calling to take my part with the leftover people. I pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Reflect on Luke 6:20 “Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.”

Download or open the Community of Christ app on your smartphone or visit www.cofchrist.org to read today’s Daily Bread and Prayer for Peace. After reading the Daily Bread, consider these questions:  

What is the difference between a temple dedicated to peace and a temple dedicated to the pursuit of peace?

What does it mean to experience breath as resurrection this day?

Pray the Mission Prayer:              God, where will your Spirit lead today? Help me be fully awake and ready to respond. Grant me the courage to risk something new and become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.

2021 Guiding Question: Are we moving towards Jesus, the Peaceful One?