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High, low, everywhere we go

News St Martin – Talking Points

Sunday 27 April 2014

This Sunday is sometimes known as Low Sunday.

Some years ago there was a disagreement between the presider and the preacher at St Martin’s about the meaning of this phrase. Introducing the service, the presider explained that Low Sunday is so called because of the Latin words historically used to introduce the day: Laudes Salvatori voce modulemur supplici – Let us sing praises to the Saviour with humble voice. The Laudes has evolved into Low. At the start of their sermon, the preacher contradicted this, saying that it is called Low Sunday because it follows the High of Easter Sunday, that we necessarily feel low after the exuberance of our resurrection celebrations: the flowers have faded, and the smaller congregation contributes to this feeling of something missing.

Leaving aside this breach of etiquette, which explanation do we prefer? Although the preacher’s explanation enjoys popular support, I prefer the presider’s exploration: our praise continues however close or far away we are from Easter Day. We are as likely to encounter The Gardener today as we were amidst our Easter celebrations.

This week, I visited a Kaffe Fassett exhibition. The textile artist, known for his bold use of colour, says ‘A sense of colour is not something that you automatically know about; you discover and rediscover its secrets by playing with it and, above all, by constantly looking’.

This Sunday we mark the 20th anniversary of democratic elections in South Africa. Democracy is not a one-off event. Like the resurrection, it is something for every day. Democratic elections in South Africa have been true for the last twenty years and will be true for the next twenty, and beyond.

Colour, democracy, and encounters with The Gardener: things for us to rediscover every day, to join in with, and to celebrate. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Ali Lyon