Easter Sunday has come and is behind us. Most years we clergy are trying to catch our breath and recover from the sprint we engage leading up to Easter Sunday. May I confess? Most pastors dread worship the Sunday following Easter. Yes, we do. We know that the throngs that assembled on Easter Sunday will be depleted. We will not see many people again until Christmas. We call them “Chreasters,” a term I first heard from my friend George Bullard. Honestly, it can be depressing. The spirit of Easter should be permanent, not fading like spring flowers spent by the coming heat of summer.
The first Sunday following Easter is known by several different liturgical names. One is “low Sunday.” The name has nothing to do with sparse church attendance, but rather to differentiate this Sunday from the “high and holy” feasts of Easter Sunday. It is also referred to as “Octave Sunday,” or the eight day of Easter, signifying an end to the seven days of Easter feasting and worship. Still another name is “Quasimodo Sunday.” This Latin word is best known to most as the name of the lead character in Victor Hugo’s great work, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” The word occurs in an antiphon from the traditional Catholic Mass for the first Sunday after Easter, celebrating those who were newly baptized on Easter Sunday. More generally it speaks to the rebirth of all humanity through the power of Christ’s resurrection.
Now is a time to cherish Low Sunday, to honor our faith in the rebirth of humanity. This is the season to carry through the spirit of Easter every day. Seldom have we needed to hold on to Easter and allow the hope of resurrection to shape every moment of our lives. Right now, in this time of COVID-19, we should do no less.
I remember great numbers of people flocking to the church in the wake of attacks on America on 9/11. I also remember how soon many of those people receded back to their normal, which had not included a routine commitment to fellowship in the assembly of God’s people. I am praying that history will not repeat itself whenever stay-at-home orders are lifted and we are once again free to assemble for corporate worship. I am praying that the spirit of Easter will live on, far beyond April 12, 2020, and far beyond the current crisis.
So, while Easter Sunday has come and gone, let Easter continue. We are Easter people. The resurrected life is life worth living every day.
Ron Cava is minister of First Baptist Church in Henderson.