One morning, about two weeks ago, I woke to the sound of my four-year-old son screaming at the top of his lungs. In a response that has become more instinct than will, I jumped out of bed and ran to find him. He was in the bathroom, standing in front of the toilet, wailing with all the angst and fury a preschooler can muster against the injustice of life. His stuffed rabbit—the one that has been with him since birth, the one that we search for every night before bed, the one that has accompanied us on every road trip, vacation, and doctor’s visit—was floating in the bowl. And in that moment, I remembered what day it was.
It was Monday.
In our culture, Monday holds a certain psychological mystique. It’s the bully of the week. The day that knocks you down and laughs. The day that steals your lunch money. The day that many of us just hope to survive. In the words of Alexander, Monday is a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.”
A lot of this is because Monday is the first day back to normal after the weekend. It’s the first day back to business—the first day back to school lunches and briefcases and time cards. The coming week looms large before us, and instead of being invigorated, we feel helpless. Instead of charging forward, carpe diem, we drag and slide and haul ourselves forward, bleary-eyed and overwhelmed.
Later that Monday, after a search and rescue operation to recover bunny, I was thinking about how we approach this day. How we tend to dread it and make jokes and commiserate on Facebook about needing two cups of coffee to make it through the morning. And suddenly, it struck me: Jesus arose from the grave on a “Monday.”
Our sense of time is a funny thing, as flexible as the cultures we are part of. Over the course of human history, calendars have been based on the moon and the sun; they’ve shifted by decrees of caesars and papal mandate. In modern history, most societies operate on a seven-day week devoting at least one day to rest. But we arrange those days differently. Some of us rest on Friday; some on Saturday, and some on Sunday.
For example, a couple of years ago, my husband and I visited our friends, O. and N., in their native Israel. At that time, they lived in a Jewish suburb of Tel Aviv but as we traveled around the country, they pointed out that many towns around them were not Jewish. Instead they were identified by whatever culture group lived there. One town was Jewish; the one next door was Islamic; and one further down the road was predominantly Christian. It’s convenient, they assured us. If the shops are closed in your town because of sabbath, you simply have to visit a shop in another town to get what you need.
For those of us with Christian roots, our day of rest happens on Sunday in memory of Jesus’ Resurrection. This makes Monday is our first day back to work. But here’s the catch: in first century Judaism, Sunday was actually the first day back to work. Modeling God at Creation (Exod. 20:8-11), the Jews began their workweek on the first day (Sunday) and ran through Friday, with a day of rest on Saturday.
So the day that Jesus Christ rose from the grave was actually the first day back to work. That morning some 2000 years ago, when a handful of women made their way to the tomb, it was a “Monday.” It was their first day back to caring for children, their first day back to the marketplace, their first day back to facing the realities that had happened over the weekend. All that we associate with “Monday” they felt that morning in the garden.
And in an irony that only God Himself can offer, Jesus Christ rose from the dead on that day. After three days, He stretched out His limbs, shook off the sleep of death, got up, and got to work. He rose in power and triumph over the darkness and is right now redeeming and restoring His creation. He is right now bringing all things under His feet. And it started on the first day of the week. Just as He shined light into the darkness on the first day of creation, He shined light into our darkness through that first-day-of-the-week-Resurrection. And just as He once fashioned creatures in His own image, He is right now making us into new creatures like Himself.
It’s as if He laughed and said, “Let’s redeem this world. Let’s get down to business.”
So Monday, you don’t intimidate us anymore with all your doom and gloom and promises of failure. You don’t intimidate us anymore, because Jesus Christ rose on the first day of the work week. And by that same power, we enter our own work week, confident that the One who works on our behalf has already gone before us and conquered all things, even—especially—Monday.