Monday, April 1, 2024

Not just the day after Easter. . .

Easter Monday is known by various names, including Bright Monday, Renewal Monday, Wet Monday, and Dyngus Day.  It is the Monday immediately after Easter Sunday but not just the day after Easter. Roman Catholics, Easter Orthodox, and, yes, Lutherans observe it as a holy day with appointed readings in the lectionary.  Of course, it is about as popular as Ember Days anymore and so it would not surprise anyone that not that many pay attention to it or have even heard of it.

The tradition differs.  Among some, Easter Monday is a rather solemn day of remembrance of Christ’s death and resurrection.  Among some, the day is marked by an outdoor procession. For others, it is a day of joyful events -- even Easter egg-rolling competitions!  For a few, siblings and/or spouses wake each other up with a bucket of water poured on each other (hence the name “Wet Monday”).  Among some nationalities, the day is celebrated with a large gathering and a polka festival (Dingus Day).  I will tell you what it is not -- it is not a joke.  The burning hearts, the revelation of the Gospel in Scripture from the beginning, and the eyes opened in the breaking of the bread are no joke and no fooling.  Christ is risen!

Obviously, some of these observances are more overtly Christian than others and some barely have an association with anything Christian, let alone Biblical.  Scripture is largely silent about what happened on Easter Monday, the day after Jesus’ resurrection.  It does speak in detail about the events of Easter evening and the following Sunday.  While Scripture does not command us to observe Easter Monday, the custom arises from the profound nature of the news of the Resurrection of Our Lord -- how do you go back to things the way they were after such a life changing event?


For Lutherans, the pericopes of Easter Monday are the same as Easter evening.  The Collect:

O God, in the paschal feast You restore all creation. Continue to send Your heavenly gifts upon Your people that they may walk in perfect freedom and receive eternal life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

The Gospel is from Luke 24:13–35

13That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

28So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

The Hymn of the Day:  463 LSB  Christ the Lord Is Risen Today, Alleluia 

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