Easter 2, the Sunday after Easter, is often called “Low Sunday.” I’ve never known why. One source says it is to contrast the rather ordinary celebration of this Sunday to the ‘high’ celebration of Easter Sunday. Popular wisdom says that its because the congregation sinks back to normal size after all the Easter only gang have reverted to their usual Sunday routine. My practice has been to continue the ‘high’ celebration of Easter, and my experience is that the church is normally more full than usual for several weeks after Easter. Easter 2 is often the one Sunday on which someone new to Christianity will make the tentative decision to give it a try for a while.
At least for the time being I’m serving at Grace Church only twice a month, which is giving us a chance to see what goes on elsewhere in town. This morning we went to Assumption Roman Catholic and sat behind good friends and former parishioners who went back to their RC roots hoping to get away from gay bishops. Boy are they in for a surprise. But I digress. The church was full, and the celebration festive in that unique contemporary RC style that tries, with very limited success, to marry the traditional form of the Eucharist with contemporary eighth grade English. For some reason it reminds me of an auditory version of early ‘70s architecture. Fr. Luke’s sermon took on good old doubting Thomas with a refreshing twist in which Thomas’ pragmatic demands were honored by Jesus’ appearance and invitation to see, hear and touch. It was worthy of some serious reflection.
Which reminds me, why have we suddenly decided that the possessive of names like Jesus and Thomas has got to be Jesus’s or Thomas’s? I mean it comes out as Jesus-zuz. Same thing with the new plural for diocese. It comes out as diocese-zuz. Just sounds tacky, and besides you can easily lose track of how many ‘zuz’ to put on at the end. But again I digress.
It did sadden me not to take Communion. If I had been a little more anonymous I would have, but as it is I’m fairly well known around here as an Episcopal priest, and I would not want to embarrass or offend so many of my friends and neighbors who are present in that congregation. Nor would I want to get any of their clergy, whom I count as good friends, in trouble with their more conservative bishop. But it does seem a tragedy that Christians, especially those who already agree on the meaning of the Eucharist, cannot share it together. I’m reminded of a well known Catholic writer who offered a workshop at my seminary. He had been specifically instructed by his superiors to stop his practice of giving and receiving Holy Communion to and from non-Catholics. He offered his apologies and then invited all to join him in his quarters for a little wine and bread.
Next week is another ‘free’ Sunday so I think we might take in a Lutheran or Methodist church. I’m not quite ready for the Abundant Life Pentecostal Tabernacle. It could be more than my heart could take.
2 thoughts on “Retirement Reflections on Easter 2”
What exactly IS the plural of \’diocese\’? More importantly, how does one pronounce it? It is sad that we cannot all share Communion; part of the reasoning behind it is solid but the rest is just silly, I think. I can understand not sharing it with Christians who see the elements only in remembrance and not in a real presence of Christ. The real threat of Jesus\’ presence in a little bit of bread and wine should be seen as a real threat to us just like the Holy of Holies was. God is God, and we must never take God lightly. Other parts of the rationale are silly. Yes, it mustn\’t be treated lightly, but we must be careful not to treat the elements of the Eucharist as idols. Adoration of the Eucharist, I think, is an example of this. It is bread and wine, and Christ invited us to eat it, not stare at it. Christ is with us in the elements but also through his continuing presence in our lives. Jesus gave us his body and blood, but they are also food. Food is meant for eating. And restricting Communion to only those under the jurisdiction of Rome seems unnecessary now that \’extra ecclesia, damnatio\’ is done for. When I go to an RC mass with friends I always go up to get blessed. If they cannot share Christ\’s body and blood with me then the least they can do is bless me. If I am good enough to pray with them in Christ\’s name then I am good enough to be blessed. I long for the day when the only barrier to communion anywhere is baptism.