March 31, 2013 § Leave a comment
“Love is the victor. Death is not the end. The end is life. His life and our lives through him, in him. Existence has greater depths of beauty, mystery, and benediction than the wildest visionary has ever dared to dream. Christ our Lord has risen.”
Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat
My wife Katherine comes from the Moravian tradition. In my mind there is no more beautiful expression of the Resurrection than from the Moravian Church.
At 2 AM on Easter Morning the Moravian Church Band deploys throughout Old Salem (North Carolina), and begins to play hymns, preparing hearts for the celebration. After an early morning ‘watch’ in the dark, in which about 7,000 worshippers gather and sing, at dawn they pour out into the cemetery proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus with the traditional responsive acclamation, ‘He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!’
Moravian gravestones are flat and each is exactly the same (children’s are smaller than adults), signifying equality in death. Each Moravian cemetery is called ‘God’s Acre,’ and in the rolling hills of Winston Salem there are few more lovely sights. What makes the tradition even more special is that on the Saturday before Easter, entire families scrub each gravestone and place flowers at them.
Throughout the rest of Easter morning, these thousands of worshippers are fed breakfast in groups. Everything about the tradition signals one truth: That Jesus, our Feast of Life, has conquered death, and He invites us to celebrate what He has inaugurated and what for us will one day be, in His good Kingdom.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.
What good news.
He is Risen Indeed!