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quod pro nobis traditum est

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Heights and Depths of Easter

Today's church attendance was predictably lower. This is not unique to any congregation, it simply seems to be a post-Easter tradition. With the services of Holy Week culminating in the Easter celebration it is natural that many might afterwards seek "a break."

In my position, and although being a bit more tired than other times of the year, I do not mind coming back to church on the Sunday after Easter, especially on its Octave. The Lessons are as powerful on Quasi Modo Géniti as they are on Easter Day. The Spirit gives life to the dead bones in the desert. The Epistle speaks of faith that conquers the world. The Gospel speaks of Thomas' unbelief becoming faith and His confession of Christ. Jesus breathes His Spirit on the disciples and they are given power to forgive and retain sins. The singing of Easter hymns continues.

In a way this Sunday is indeed "Low." It could also be called the "Sunday of the Faithful," that is for the few who are looking to the resurrection of the body with their feet still on the ground. We think of the hidden glory of Christ on the cross and of His Church on earth. When contrasting the attendance of Easter Day with that of today, the thought comes to mind of an embarrassed Christianity. That is, on Easter Day we basked in the glory with family and friends and now we do not want to overdo it by coming back to church too soon.

This year I could not help but reflect further on the importance of this Sunday being the Octave of Easter and the impact of the lessons. Today's attendance no longer mattered. In fact, the lower attendance almost heightened the impact of the day such that I no longer see any difference in the importance of today as compared with that of Easter Day. That there were fewer in church became as meaningful as the full church on the previous Sunday. Both are Sundays and, as such, both are a proclamation of the Lord's death and then His resurrection in the flesh. This day is just as important and joyous as Easter since it is the continuance of the faith in its daily realities. It is no longer a matter of the more on Easter Day and the fewer on Low Sunday but a matter of the ongoing work of the risen Christ and His Church. The lesson hits homes, he conquers the world that believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

During Holy Week we heard of Joseph of Arimathea who sought the Kingdom of God. Immediately after it was recorded by the Evangelist that Joseph sought the Kingdom of God we learn from Scripture that he begged Pilate for the body of Jesus.

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