From the Pastor

Easter People

Easter People

The Lord is risen!  The Lord is risen indeed!

On Easter Sunday, while it is still dark, we gather with thousands of other faithful at Salem Square to bear witness to Christ’s resurrection.  The Lord is risen indeed! Some of us will also join our brothers and sisters from St Philips at the 2nd St Philips Graveyard to join in the service from there, with audio streamed from the main section of God’s Acre.  This year, the service will be led by the Rev. Chaz Snider, pastor of Ardmore Moravian Church.

We Moravians are often called “the Easter people,” in part because of these memorable Easter sunrise services — but also because the faith of the risen Christ is central to our belief and practice.  Moravians believe that in the incarnation, when God was born as a baby and experienced all of being human, something was fundamentally changed about the world — and that at the death and resurrection of Christ, the whole relationship between God and humanity was transformed.  Because Christ has died, because Christ has risen, we are called to live for Him — and to show others His love through humble service.  

I’d like to extend a special word of thanks to all the Trinity folks who worked so hard to make Holy Week and Easter the amazing experience that it is!  It takes many, many faithful workers to make everything happen.  From our wonderful choirs (senior and Logos) to our Holy Week readers; from our ushers, dieners, and band members to all the faithful folks who decorate the sanctuary and the graveyard; to those who organize and participate in the amazing Cross Walk.  All of you know who you are, and I know that you work so hard because of your faith — but I want to thank you for that faithful work!

                          -Pastor John

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Lenten Meditations

When March comes, most of us are looking forward to spring — we’re tired of the cold of winter and the fickle weather in North Carolina in February.  This year, Ash Wednesday is March 6, and so March also marks the traditional parties before the beginning of Lent – Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnivale in Brazil, Pancake day in many places, Fastnacht Day in Pennsylvania.

The day of Ash Wednesday, forty days before Easter (not including Sundays, if you’re counting the days!), is meant to remind us of Noah’s forty days in the Flood, the Hebrews’ forty years in the desert, and especially Jesus forty days in the desert at the beginning of his ministry.  Lent is intended to be a special time of prayer, mediation, and spiritual preparation for Easter. 

But our busy, smart-phone buzzing world filled with sound and interruption has little space for the kind of meditation that allows Lent to unfold with spiritual benefit.  In 1943 during the height of World War II, poet T. S. Eliot caught this dilemma in his poem Ash Wednesday:

Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound?
Not here, there is not
enough silence
Not on the sea or on the
islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right
place are not here…
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice.

We need to carve out some Sabbath-time in our noisy lives to truly experience Lent in a real way; and a gift we can give others is the reminder that they, too, need that quiet Sabbath-time to hear “the voice.”

Though our world seems disruptive and intrusive, most of the noise that blocks out our spiritual time is voluntary.  But Eliot wrote this poem during wartime, a time when he served as an air-raid warden.  So it is in the midst of rationing, blackouts, and bombs that he wrote:

 
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks

I pray that this Lent, you will be able to set aside a space of quiet time for mediation, but also for service to others.

Blessings,

Pastor John

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Change & New Things

I wonder how many variations there are of the old “How many <BLANKS> does it take to change a lightbulb?” joke?  Certainly hundreds!  I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard one of the variations: “How many Moravians does it take to change a light bulb?”  ANSWER: “None, Moravians don’t like change!”

That’s probably true when it comes to some of our traditions that we love — don’t mess with the Lovefeast coffee recipe!  But of course, all things change.  Count Zinzendorf actually said once that “the only thing certain is change.”

One of the things I love about Trinity Moravian Church is that they are always ready to try new things.  Rather than falling in the trap many churches fall into, which is giving up after a single failure—”Well, we’ll never try anything like that again!” — Trinitarians always seem open to trying something new, and if it doesn’t work out, getting up and trying something else!  And that’s really how we succeed.  Many great entrepreneurs, from Steve

Jobs to Jack Ma, will tell you that you must fail your way to success.

Sooooo—I bring this up because we have a number of new things happening!  First, you may notice a slightly different design for this newsletter — feel free to let us know what you like and what you don’t like, and particularly let us know if something is hard to read or confusing.

But there’s lots more — some of which has been simmering for months!  We’re converting to using Google Calendar for all church events and scheduling, which means that the office calendar will be available on you smart phone and your computer at home!  Lots more detail has been put in — volunteer rota, themes, what room to meet in — all available with a click.  Youll even be able to add a church event to your personal calendar!

This month, we’ll also be introducing new ways of electronic giving, including a credit/debit card swipe machine, and “text-to-give.”  This won’t just help with Sunday offering, we hope it will also make it easier to donate when we have luncheons or suppers—or when the Boy Scouts sell valuable collector items in the parking lot!

We’ll also be launching a new website design later in the month which will display better on mobile devices, and have more current pictures and information, including many of the articles from this newsletter.

Other new changes are coming too — we hope that all of them will make Trinity a better place and communicate our ministry more effectively.  We’re assembling an Outreach Committee to plan ways to reach the public more effectively.  If you’d like to serve on that committee — or help on specific tasks — please let me know!

Blessings,

Pastor John

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