Monday, April 24, 2006

Low Sunday and Baptisms

This past Sunday was, in common parlance, "low Sunday." I hate the term, really; but in the end it pretty accurately describes the first Sunday after any major festal holiday. Be it Christmas or Easter, or even Pentecost...The reality of the weekend after being low in attendance has been a true observation for me these past eight parishes, six diocese and twelve years. People can only do so much church en masse before the need to reboot, relax and reassess with a quiet Sunday morning. And, I might add, Trinity is anything but quiet on Sunday mornings.

Sure, 8 AM is not so bad with regard to the noise factor, but there was a buzz this weekend as the Sunday morning routine took root. First, we had no power. As I was making breakfast for Laura and I yesterday morning, the lights flickered, browned and then came back up at the house. That means, usually, that there is no power at the church. Here is the odd thing, though: when the power is out at the church, the rectory offices usually have it. So, no coffee at the 8 AM. That is the greater sin. Still, thanks to some quick thinking parishioners, we moved the coffee urns up to the office, fired them up and the promise of hot brewed coffee was made for the main service.

Low Sunday, Morning Prayer. The main liturgy began, literally, with a candlelighting. We fired up the wall sconces and pretended we lived in pre-Edison electric light land. That blackout held until just about half way through my sermon. Then, after a shout of "hurray" worked its way up through the air ducts from the basement Church School classrooms, the lights came on (when I was saying..."God, in God's good time, gives us what we need.") Great timing. It got a laugh.

At the 11:30, we had a Baptism. First of three for Eastertide. Grant Christie was the perfect baby. He "followed" the sermon, seemed to enjoy the bath and was relaxed in his grandfather's arms (and Episcopal priest visiting for the day), for the "ordeal."

All in all, a blessed low Sunday. Still, I always get a slight, and passing, frisson when the pews don't fill like Easter. I know, that is unrealistic; but I truly enjoy seeing all the folk turned out for worship. Still, going from over five hundred for the morning to just over 250 is a bit of a shock, both visually and aurally.

But, I won't begrudge anyone of the break. As we move off into late spring, things get truly and wonderfully crazy around Trinity. We have the organ inaugural, the clothing sale, Lobsterfest and three mission trips departing for points east, south and local in the next three months. Top that off with the regular turn of events and programs and I am reminded just how busy a vital church can be for its membership.

Finally, Peacemeal was a joy. We had a great turnout, with folks who are regulars continuing to bring neighbors and friends to our HIV/AIDS fellowship meal. I see Christ embodied in this ministry, with those who can't find any other place to be honestly relaxed and happy in the same way enjoying food and companionship. "What happens at Peacemeal, stays at Peacemeal." But, I can tell you this. From parishioners offering music (including a budding American Idol candidate from our youth ministry), to the best scalloped potatoes and ham ever, it was a great evening.

So, low Sunday was not really so low, at all!

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