Easter eggs eaten? Thought so, do hope you enjoyed them; don’t forget your daily exercise, in or outside.
As there have been no services in the Church, we have all discovered what can be achieved using newsletters and YouTube. Here I have reflected on my experiences of Easter since attending the Fulneck Church. As I am also interested in the history of the trumpet and music in Moravian traditions, I close with a couple of stories about music and Easter.
My story only begins a few years ago. In the February of that year the Minister reminded everyone of the start of the Lent services; at Fulneck these are held each Wednesday evening and happen each week from Ash Wednesday.
During the short time I have been going along to the Lent services, I have:
– heard one retired minister talk passionately about the importance of equality. How important for us all;
– taken part in a visual meditation. How relaxing;
– explored religious art. How informative.
All of the above linked clearly and simply to the Easter story. Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week. Music is a key part of the Palm Sunday service, when we sing a rousing chorus of ‘Hosanna’s’ – why not take a listen ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cd6YOfw6Z8).
During Holy Week there is a service each evening when we share readings. The readings follow the story of that week as it unfolded all those years ago in Jerusalem. Easter Sunday is then a time for celebration.
One Easter Sunday tradition that has been misunderstood in the past is that, where a church has a burial ground (known by Moravian’s as God’s Acre) a service is held there early on Sunday morning; we have our service at 7.00. When Fulneck was settled originally, in the 1740’s, local people were confused by this and some even suspected them of raising the dead. Nothing so strange. In fact, for the first service I attended it was cold and bright as we walked from the Church to God’s Acre. As our retired Minister spoke she was accompanied by bird song and the cows leaned over the fence to join in; probably wondering what we were all doing there so early!
This service is followed by a shared breakfast. I had been told that Moravians like to eat and this is so true! A fine breakfast was served; I indulged in porridge and treacle, while others tucked into bacon sandwiches. It was a great opportunity to come together and chat.
Easter Moravian traditions and music in North America
As I mentioned in my first article, trumpets and music have always played an important part in Moravian worship.
One of our members served in Labrador, alongside her husband who was the Minister there. She recalls the local church band would start playing outside their home at 4.30 in the morning. As the service was at 6.00 this was rather early but wonderful. Many of the players could not read music and had learned the tunes and hymns by listening – what skill.
If you think 4.30 in the morning is early, then Winston-Salem beat that! Their band assembles at 2.00 in the morning and goes throughout the city. Below is an extract about the Church band is Winston-Salem. For this, its thanks to my friend Google.
Easter sunrise service has been a tradition of the Moravians in Winston-Salem since 1772. In 1937, N&O correspondent G. deR. Hamilton Jr. reported on the popularity and significance of the service.
Braving the cold wind which swept across historic old Salem, the thousands came not only from this city, but from all over the state and from surrounding states, by rail, highway and air, to hear Bishop J. Kenneth Pfohl of the Moravian Church intone again the simple, impressive words of the litany formulated by his ancestors.
“The Lord is risen,” proclaimed the Bishop, standing on a platform in front of the ancient Home Moravian Church on the Salem College campus, as the first rays of the morning sun broke through the majestic oaks on the eastern boundary of “God’s Acre,” where the Moravian dead sleep…
I hope that you have enjoyed this article about Easter, Moravian traditions and the links with music. As always, I will be happy to hear from you. I am planning on the next article focusing more on music in the Church, look out for it in a few weeks.
Take care and stay safe.
14 April 2020