Sunday, April 5, 2015

God's Acre

Kim and I contemplated — briefly — attending this year's Easter Sunrise Service at God's Acre Moravian Cemetery (also known as the Salem Moravian Graveyard) in Winston-Salem, but opted out because temperatures were in the low 30s, my age is in the mid 60s, and those two numbers just don't seem to work out very well together.

Besides, we've been to the ceremony on at last three other occasions. Attending the incredibly solemn, incredibly moving Easter Sunrise Service is a bucket list item that's already been checked off three times over. And we haven't yet ruled out attending future services.

But what we did do is go on Saturday, to stroll through the 244-year-old cemetery and observe another Moravian tradition: church and family members scrubbing clean their relatives' flat, white marble gravestones.

It's a minibucket list item, and seemingly no less reverential and focused than the sunrise service itself.

Flat white marble headstones dot the hillside at God's Ace Cemetery.
We brought a friend with us and within minutes, she told us that she was overwhelmed by her experience.

It's easy to see why while standing among the 7,000 sun-drenched and flowered headstones.

It's a time for contemplation and reflection. It's hard not to.

On this particular visit, among the hundreds of people cleaning and socializing, I unexpectedly bumped into a long-time acquaintance. She must be in her 90s now, a number that deserves reverence in its own right. The last time I saw her was in this very same scenario, maybe 10 years ago, while she was cleaning headstones.

One of those headstones belongs to her husband, a well-respected Moravian minister who died 21 years ago. One of her daughters, also a Moravian minister and a person I had once dated, recently announced her retirement. So it was a remarkable moment to have our lives intersect once more.

It was good to see you again, Marian.

No comments:

Post a Comment