Hubby and I were having Thai last night when he asked me if I was going to church today. I said no, that I had taxes to do, that I had laundry to do and that — being the week after Easter; also known as Low Sunday or Quasimodo Sunday, but no fair swinging from the bell tower — it was more than likely that wherever we wanted to go there would be a supply preacher, a substitute organist or no choir. The congregation would be almost be smaller sized than usual, and seeing as we tend to go to small churches that’s hardly a comfort. And even without going back to old calendars, I’m sure I’ve been guilty of similar behaviors myself.
I know these are poor excuses, but church shoppers don’t need excuses. If anything, they need to be sold on why to come back to church the Sunday after Easter and keep returning. In short, programming for a low Low Sunday feeds into a “Christmas and Easter” attendance expectation.
And what a shame, too. Low Sunday is liturgically the second half of a two-part Very Special After School Special. (“Previously, on Easter . . . .”) (An explanation for the non-Gen-Xers reading) Some of my favorite lectionary readings come on Low Sunday:
How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life — this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us — we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
(1 John 1:1-4)
I guess Low Sunday weariness spawns from Holy Week overprogramming. Time to be a little brutal: what did those Holy Week observances really do for your congregation? What did you accomplish that might not have been accomplished if there were neighborhood Maundy Thursday or Good Friday observances, perhaps on rotation? What if some of the music and floral budget was held back for Low Sunday?
I know some churches must do Low Sunday very well, and they should be examined and emulated. The first thing, it seems to me, that Easter ought not be capped with some terminal punctuation.