St Stephen Lewisham
7th April 2013
Low Sunday – The Bump
Today, the Sunday after Easter, is often called ‘Low Sunday’. There’s a reason for this. After all the joy and excitement of Holy Week and Easter, what follows can seem, by contrast, very dull and ordinary: and this is often reflected in the small number of people who come to church on this particular Sunday.
This is an experience which we must all have had many times in our everyday lives. Our wedding, the gift of a child, our Confirmation, or getting a Prize for some achievement at school or at work, or passing an Examination are just five examples of ‘High Points’ in many lives; but a week later, or perhaps sooner, we find ourselves back in the familiar world out of which that experience lifted us up for a short time.
Christian teachers refer to that experience as The Bump – or more often as ‘coming down to earth with a bump’. In other words we just ‘feel low’ as we say. If it’s never happened to you, then it almost certainly will in the not-too-distant future. Our Faith, which means so much to us today, suddenly, becomes a burden. So when (not if!) this happens to you, here are some ideas to help you cope with it:
· Many such Bumps have a ‘natural’ cause. If you are recovering from a bout of ’flu, a surgical operation, or an accident, then it is highly likely that your body will tell you to ‘take it easy’ for a while to give it a chance to recover. Post-natal Depression which affects some mothers after the birth of a child as the result of the hormones in the body being so jangled up that the feelings they produce are confused and confusing. So a visit to the doctor is always worth considering..
· Another kind of Bump is one which happens after a moment of success – like a promotion at work, or passing an exam at school. First there’s the sense of triumph or achievement, but as a result the lessons we are taught, or the responsibility we have to bear are much more demanding and difficult. In other words, if we want to progress, we have to go on striving harder and harder.
· Both these Bumps are particularly likely to happen to us Christians. It only needs our normal churchgoing pattern to be disturbed, for example by leaving home to go to University, or by moving house and failing to find a church exactly like the one we have been used to, or by some unexpected tragedy, like a bereavement, and our Christian life is likely to be seriously disturbed and we start to wonder whether it was true after all. Thomas, in today’s Gospel you remember, was so shattered by Jesus’ crucifixion and death that even the witness of his fellow-apostles was insufficient to convince him that His Lord had risen indeed.
· It’s important to realize that everyone in the Christian family, including everyone here this morning, has experienced not just one, but many Bumps during their Christian lifetime. And that is where it pays over and over again to share our griefs with a fellow-Christian. The Church is called the Body of Christ on earth, and the different Bumps which we have experienced during our lifetime are often the very things which enable us to listen, patiently and sympathetically to each others’ tales of woe, and more than likely able to suggest ways in which their victims can be helped to deal with them; or at least have some idea of which direction they should turn for help.
· ‘A grief shared is a grief halved’
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