Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

March 30, 2008


This is a very good Sunday to show up in church


      If you have a pastor, and you care at all about him, then do your best to make it to church today. He will really appreciate your coming and I can tell you why.

          The Sunday after Easter is known as “Low Sunday.”  The name is easy to figure. Church attendance peaks on Easter then plummets a week later. So the preacher who is “high” on Easter feels mighty “low” the following Sunday. Staring at those empty seats can break his heart.       

If you cannot attend church today, at least call your pastor and let your voice break a little as you explain why you have to miss. Tell him your great aunt in Minnesota died or you are going to Guatemala to help earthquake victims. I know you hate lying but look at this way – you are on a mission to save your pastor from depression. You expect God to forgive you for other lies, don’t you?

          Just don’t tell your pastor the truth – like maybe the family is coming over for lunch so you can’t make it to church. Tell him that and he will bite his lip trying not to ask why you couldn’t serve lunch at 2 o’clock. He will get indigestion for not having the guts to ask why you don’t set a good example for your family by making worship a priority.

          You surely don’t want to tell him you are going on over to Augusta to make sure you have a good seat for the Masters. If that is your reason for missing church, bite your own lip and tell your pastor you broke your ankle or something. Have compassion on your preacher when the truth may push him into the pit of despair. Give him a sob story. After all, he is trained in the art of sympathizing. Give him a chance to exercise his gifts.

          Fortunately I have been in this game long enough that I know how to handle “low” Sunday. The secret is to bask in the afterglow of my Easter blessings. My pastor and his wife, Lester and Janeese, heard my cry for a chocolate Easter bunny and gave me a chocolate cross. It was just as good as a bunny and much more appropriate. I was blessed.

          John and Dot are good friends and good listeners. They heard me say I wished for a wild Easter lily like the one my daddy picked to honor my birth. So, on my birthday the day after Easter, John and Dot brought me one, from their backyard, The lovely white lily was not in a vase but in a Mason jar just like the one daddy used 76 years ago. I was blessed.

          We had a great crowd – a packed house – for church Easter morning. The choir members sang their hearts out to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. Everybody looked beautiful in their Easter outfits. Beaming faces were everywhere.  I was blessed.

          Most members of my family took the time to share a meal with us on Easter afternoon. The food seemed just as delicious at 2 o’clock as it usually does at noon. Breaking bread together is a fine way to celebrate the resurrection. I was blessed.

          A woman called to tell me how moved she had been by the worship service last Sunday. She said, “God stirred my heart in a special way.” That is what every preacher longs for – to have people encounter the living God during worship. I was blessed.

          These are blessings that linger long past Easter Sunday. When we hold on to them, “low” Sunday attendance cannot drive us to despair. We are able to see the big picture and not sweat the things we cannot control. After all, the blessings of Easter are not locked in the day of its observance. They are much bigger than the celebration of an event. They are bigger than life itself.

Remembering this and that He lives, no matter what the Sunday, I am blessed – and so are we all. + + +