As Holy Week begins, Moravians around the world spend some time each night reading and experiencing the events of each day of Jesus’ life leading up to the Cross, the tomb, and the resurrection morning of Easter. We begin with the joyful experience of Palm Sunday, singing together the wonderful call-and-response of Hosanna. We share a simple meal of lovefeast as we begin our week of Passion Week readings together. Then each night, we will gather in the Rights Chapel to read the events of each day together, alternating readings, hymn verses, and times of prayer. On Thursday we solemnly share in the simple meal of the Last Supper, reading together the words of Jesus on that night. On Friday morning, we will share in the 35th annual Cross Walk, carrying the cross in silence through downtown Winston-Salem. Then Friday night at our Tenebrae Service, we will read together the words from the Cross and remember the crucifixion and extinguish the lights in symbolic memory of the death of the Savior. On Saturday, the Great Sabbath, many of us will gather at Home Moravian for a service of prayer and musical meditation to honor Christ’s rest in the grave. Then, on Easter morning, we will gather with thousands of other worshippers in the darkness to hear the sunrise proclamation: “The Lord is risen!”
This experience is central to who we are. If you ask me if I understand Easter, I’m pretty sure my answer would be “no.” Certainly not in the same way that I understand where to put a comma in a sentence or how to fix a broken light switch or why putting Mentos in Diet Pepsi is so much fun. After celebrating many, many Easters I do not seek to explain Easter as much as simply experience it. That is why Moravian practice is so experiential: Easter is not a factoid to be documented and explained, it is a turning point of the cosmos to be experienced. Easter is something that we do together; and in the doing, we tap into a deep understanding of the Resurrection that cannot be explained in words or in books.
If your Easter does not include the profound experiences of the Last Supper, of the Cross Walk, of Easter Sunrise, then you have missed a part of the spiritual depth and wisdom, you have missed a part of what Easter really is about.
This year, come to the Table with us; carry the Cross with us; experience the sunrise with us as we proclaim “The Lord is risen!” Make this year the year that you truly experience Easter.
- Pastor John
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