The Sunday following Easter is traditionally known as Low Sunday. This name has theological origins and is used to illustrate the contrast with Easter Sunday. While there may be these theological and liturgical reasons for the name, history also shows that it is a good summary of attendance. Frequently, the Sunday that follows Easter is one of the lowest attended Sundays. This low is highlighted by the stark juxtaposition to the often swelled crowds of Easter Sunday.
For Christ Presbyterian Church I believe we bucked the Low Sunday trend. This Low Sunday was anything but low for our congregation. Our congregational meeting and Worship were not only well attended, but also rife with the reality of Jesus’ Resurrection.
For many congregations the task of the annual meeting is just that, a task to be done. There are many things that must be done at the meeting. We need to do the work of the church. Often, we find ourselves consumed by the things that need to be done and forget to live as the people of God. Chuck Miller says, “We must be the people of God before we do the work of the people of God.” This is the very action that I believe has become an essential part of our life as a congregation.
Without many noticing, we have been gradually reorienting the way we do things at Christ Presbyterian. I am convinced it’s not good enough to do things. We must truly become a congregation of the People of God before we can go into the world and do the work of God. This is why our meeting started with prayer, study, reflection. I love making the video each year to remind us about all the good things God has done through our congregation. It has a significant purpose for our congregational meeting. We must remind ourselves that our congregation is made up of individuals that are seeking to be the people of God. Words on paper, no matter how much we try to share narrative story, fail to communicate the way God has made us the people of God.
Smiling faces of children and adults
tell a story of who we are in a much better way. The cliché, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is true. Every year I am amazed to see not only what we have done, but also how filled with joy people are. Christ Presbyterian Church is blessed with a great deal of love and concern for one another and the world. We should not take that for granted. You may not know it, but there are actually congregations that are sad and depressed.
Sharing the joy we have is what our Low Sunday experience was all about. We must not allow the joy of Easter to fade. Part of being the people of God is living lives that reflect God’s grace into the world. Each year I produce invite cards for people to pass out and we also send them to our Preschool as well. The main invitation talks about how Christ Presbyterian has made a difference in people’s lives, and that our members want to share that life-changing difference with others. This is more than a nice way to theologically invite people to attend Christ Presbyterian Church. I pray that it’s the truth. My deepest hope for our congregation is that it does help to change people’s lives for the better.
This begs the question, “How has being part of Christ Presbyterian Church changed your life?” This is not a rhetorical question. Take a moment to quiet yourself and answer this question. Perhaps you are saying, “it hasn’t transformed me.” As I said in the sermon on Sunday, that’s ok. We are all in different places in our walk of faith and our experience of God through our congregation. For those who have not yet experienced this transformation, I pose this question: “Are you expecting such a transformation to come in your life?”
I don’t want to paint a picture of our congregation being some kind of utopia. We have our fair share of struggles and failures. I do want to affirm that I believe that God is doing significant things through and for our congregation. I have personally seen God change the lives of friends and members Christ Presbyterian Church. I also want to share that with more and more people. We live in a world that is immersed in a Low Sunday mentality. I hope that you will live out a life that is filled with Easter Joy each and every day.
Amen, Pastor Geoff!
The 8:30 Communion Service is drawing larger numbers as was especially observed on Low Sunday.
Small group study during Advent and Lent brings together faithful people of diverse theological perspectives to probe what it means to be the Body of Christ. Disagreement is not disagreeable even as probing questions and responses help to shape and defend and reshape what participants believe.
The congregation genuinely cares for every member and friend as is evidenced during fellowship times and during difficulties that everyone experiences at one time or another and more during life.
The Pastor and Music Director complement one another theologically as God is glorified through inspired worship that brings together scripture, music and sermon.
Thanks be to God.
Probably didn’t answer pastor’s question: Christ Presbyterian is restful and yet full of energy and that balance fills me with peace and joy. I’ve never felt caution to protect my back as there is a Spirit-filled genuineness about those who gather there. I lift up members/friends in prayer and listen for updates as to their health and well being–sometimes even writing a note. Folks tend to laugh when I identify myself as an Introvert but I am and while I sometimes avail myself during times of fellowship I’m more likely to wave as I dash off. On Sundays after worship I head for Sunrise at Hunter Mill and try to be alert to God moments which seem to occur often there no matter the day of the week or time I arrive. That’s a praise and gives voice to the principal way I serve Jesus Christ. Holy Week calls us to reflection with eyes on ways faith comes to maturity. As the Apostle Paul speaks from Philippians 1:6: “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” Thanks be to God.