This Sunday is “Low Sunday.” Now, it’s not the official name of the day by the Church calendar. It’s a name often used in ministerial circles to note the difference between Easter Sunday (last week) and the Sunday following it.
For most of us, Holy Week is a roller coaster of spiritual emotion, personal reflection, celebration, and sorrow. Once you sprinkle in the chocolate bunnies and jellybeans, the week has more twists and turns, ups and downs than Six Flags’ best ride. We begin the week the joyous procession of palms. Children walk our aisles waving palm branches and inviting us the join the festivities of the week. From this great celebration of music and joy, the week begins to head downhill. By the time we arrive at Maundy Thursday, we confront the last supper of Jesus and his disciples. A darkened sanctuary, rustic tables, crusty bread and grape juice bring our hearts and minds back to a borrowed upper room where Jesus gathered his closest friends one last time. Noon on Good Friday ushers us into the depths of the week. With a single candle burning, we are reminded that Christ’s light is soon to be snuffed out. We pray for repentance and forgiveness as we hear the final, gruesome account of Christ’s sufferings and crucifixion. Finally, the light is extinguished.
Our culture, though, punctuates these last steps of the Lenten journey with Egg Hunts, Easter clothes shopping, and family get-togethers. I must confess that I am as much a product of my culture as I am my faith.
Thankfully and hopefully, our culture doesn’t have the last word, for we gathered on Easter Sunday morning to celebrate that the impossible happened: Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified and died, was raised from the dead. Death is no longer the final word. The worst things are never the last things. Hope overcomes despair; love overcomes indifference. We sang the grand anthems of Eastertide. We saw the beauty of lilies trumpet the Good News of Christ’s resurrection.
For Christians, Easter marks the beginning of life, new and eternal. And yet, in one short week, we move back to our daily rhythms and it seems the Good News – “He isn’t here because he’s been raised from the dead, just as he said” (Matthew 28:6, The Common English Bible) – is a faint echo of days gone by.
This year, let us not transform the Good News of Easter Sunday into “Low Sunday.” If the resurrection of Christ our Lord means anything, it means that we are offered new life. Let us live into this new life this week and the weeks ahead. There is nothing “low” about this Sunday or any other Sunday when we live in the light of the Good News of Jesus.