Prayer for Liverpool
Today we celebrate the Second Sunday of Easter, the Sunday that completes the Easter Octave. Last Sunday, Easter Sunday drew to a close in the evening when Jesus appeared to the disciples who had locked themselves away behind closed doors. Jesus broke through the locked doors, and suddenly they too knew the power of the Easter resurrection. But you will remember that not all the disciples were there. Thomas had gone missing, and Thomas refused to believe the account that the others gave to him. Thomas needed to see for himself. Today's Gospel reading (John 20: 19-31) tells us what happened on the Easter Octave. The disciples were there once again, but this time Thomas was with them. Thomas saw and Thomas believed. Now the Easter story is complete.
The Second Sunday of Easter is 'commonly called Low Sunday' as set out in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. That name puzzled me when I was a curate, and I remember being told then that it was called Low Sunday because the numbers were down after Easter Sunday and because the vicar was away on holiday leaving the services in the hands of the curate. But that is not the best explanation of the name Low Sunday. A better explanation is that Low is a simple corruption of the Latin laudo (the verb to praise). The Easter Octave is the Sunday when the Easter celebration reaches its climax in praise to God for the good news of the resurrection, good news that has not only reached Thomas, but in the words of John's Gospel has reached all those 'who have not yet seen and yet come to believe'.
The note of Low Sunday or Praise Sunday may be particularly poignant this weekend, the weekend when we have been told that we have another three weeks of lockdown. We have a choice now as to whether we respond to that news in the spirit of Low Sunday or in the spirit of Praise Sunday. What the good news of the Easter resurrection does is to assure us that the darkness and the lockdown of Holy Week and of Good Friday, through the grace of God, leads us into the release and resurrection of the Easter season.
As we step out into this new week launched by Praise Sunday, amid the fear and lockdown of Covid 19, the Church encourages to keep on our lips the greatest of Christian hymns of praise: We praise you, O God, we acknowledge you to be the Lord (Te Deum Laudamus).
Please join in our praise of God this morning here:
If you would like to follow along with the order of service for the liturgy, you'll find it here (in addition to the subtitles at the bottom of the screen):
Please also join the Breakfast and the Bible group in their reflection on today's New Testament reading by engaging with this document:
If you want to continue to reflect on today’s themes, then please do use ‘Exploring the Sunday Gospel at Home.’ The aim of ‘Exploring the Sunday Gospel at Home’ is for people and families to look at the Sunday Gospel in advance of Sundays and to prepare themselves for the coming Sunday worship. So do please look out for next Sunday’s material from tomorrow onwards. You’ll find the “Exploring the Sunday Gospel at Home” documents on the “Prayer Resources” page and under the “Worship” column: https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/prayer-resources.html.
You will also find Children’s activities from the Cathedral Education Team on the “Prayer Resources” page of this website under the “Education” column: https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/prayer-resources.html.
Have a good Low Sunday.
Prayer for Liverpool
brought to you from Liverpool Cathedral
St James Mount
Liverpool Cathedral is a place of encounter.
Built by the people, for the people, to the Glory of God