There’s a strange thing that happens pretty regularly around St. Paul. But I don’t think that it’s unique to our church at 2136 Brady Street. I have a feeling the same sort of thing might happen at Christian congregations all over the place. People always think it’s morning.
To be more accurate, people greet one another with a “good morning!” regardless of the time of day. It may be Sunday morning, when it is an entirely appropriate greeting. But it’s also said on Saturday nights, when it’s dark outside. Or on Wednesday evenings after choir or Thursday afternoons before a meeting. Regularly we say to one another, “good morning!” when we are around church.
Perhaps it’s just a thing of habit – as people spend most of their time at church on a Sunday morning. Or maybe we’re distracted and not paying attention to our words. But I think that it reveals something more. This habit points to our perspective on life and way of understanding ourselves. As Christians, we are all morning people.
I’m not saying that we’re all people who enjoy mornings. I know quite a few faithful followers of Jesus who do their best work late into the night and are quite cranky in the morning. I’m thinking, instead about a perspective, a morning kind of viewpoint on ourselves and this world.
When you wake up, in those first moments of the morning, even the groggiest of us can claim the day ahead as a gift. And it’s a gift full of possibility. In the morning our days are a blank slate, a clean piece of paper yet to be written on. Yesterday might have been marred by mistakes or harm done, but the day ahead offers a chance to try again in new or more loving ways. Mornings are full of potential, where anything can happen.
This is one of the beautiful things about being followers of Jesus. Over and over again we get a new day. Forgiveness. Opportunities to live, yet again, as people we’re meant to be. This, I think, is why people say, “good morning!” at all the wrong times when we gather at church. Regardless of the time of day, we’re reminded that our lives are full of possibility, of second (and third) chances and fresh starts. Because of Jesus and his resurrection, the promise of morning can happen any time.
It’s Easter, still. The Easter candy may be gone, but the promise of what Christ has done for us and this world by dying and rising is still here. In all four of the gospel stories, the writers begin the story of Jesus’ resurrection by talking about the morning. “Early in the morning, on the first day of the week, while it was still dark” (John 20:1) or “Very early, on the first day of the week, when the sun had just risen” (Mark 16:2).
On that Easter morning, the world became new. Everything changed when Jesus was risen from that tomb. And now we all get to be morning people, regardless of what time it is, ready to claim the promise of a new and forgiven life.
–Sara Olson-Smith, associate pastor