Church of England Diocese of Chelmsford Coggeshall with Markshall

Today's Sermon

11 Apr 2021, 1:15 p.m.
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EASTER 2 2021 Rev John Richardson St Peter’s, Coggeshall

Today we celebrate what has come to be known as ‘Low Sunday’. It is thought that this term contrasts with the great celebrations of Easter Day a week ago. The first Sunday after Easter was given to us as ‘Low Sunday’ in the 1928 Prayer Book.

Those of you who are keen gardeners will know that our English word ‘low’ is the equivalent of the Latin word ‘humilis’. A plant that is low growing or small in height often has the word ‘humilis’ attached to it. Our English word humility means lowliness or self-effacement.

Low Sunday, then, can be thought of as ‘humility Sunday’. “He hath cast down the mighty from their thrones, and hath lifted up the lowly”, as Mary sang in the Magnificat. “Deposuit potentes de sede, et exaltavit humiles”.

Are we the lowly of whom Our Lady speaks? Are we low growing? Are we humble? Do we have humility? St Thomas found out that being humble was the first step to faith in the Risen Lord. Thomas was not an arrogant atheist. He was merely perplexed by the great mystery of the resurrection. And Thomas discovered a week after that first Easter Day that Jesus was indeed risen, and had the wounds of the crucifixion to show for it.

On this Low Sunday we do well to ponder the reaction of St Thomas. Thomas speaks for us all when he expresses his doubts. And he speaks for us all when he expresses his faith - “My Lord and my God!”.

Thomas, of course, had one great advantage over us - he actually saw and touched the Risen Jesus. But Jesus was quick to say that this was not really an advantage at all! “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”. We are those blessed of whom Jesus speaks. We may not have seen Jesus in the flesh but we have certainly seen Him alive and active in the world around us - in our fellow believers and in the life of His holy church.

<span style="font-size: 1rem;">Let us capture the meaning of Low Sunday - it will help us to live closer to the humble figure of Jesus. To be humble, to be low growing (so to speak) is an Easter virtue that will surely bring us nearer to the Risen Lord. Amen.</span><span style="font-size: 1rem;">hat this Eastertide.</span>