As worship began, Madi White, a Moravian intern at The Dwelling provided a description of the origins of the Moravian Love Feast. Early in the 18th century, congregants stuck around after worship to talk about the spiritual blessing they had received during the Eucharist celebration. They were gathered on Count Zinzendorf’s property, and seeing that their holy conversation was stretching out while minutes turned to hours, he brought them refreshments. Today, during a Moravian Love Feast, we still dwell in the Word while sharing a snack, often a sweet bun and a mug of sweet coffee or spiced tea.
Music was offered by various musicians from The Dwelling worshiping community in Winston-Salem, where Pastors Emily Norris and Tobi Fleck are faithful leaders. Those who gather at The Dwelling are God’s children who are experiencing homelessness or whose housing is insecure. Their musical offerings included “Every Praise,” “Amazing Grace,” and a sending hymn called “The Blessing.”
Pastor Russ May works with Anthony’s Plot, a Moravian “community of folks committed to reconciliation within our city, neighborhood, homes, and ourselves.” The Gospel text for the evening was Mark 2:1-12, the story about a man whose friends lowered his paralyzed body down through a roof in order to see Jesus. Pastor May shared a word from God about the ways we work to assign blame to victims while Jesus breaks those patterns, reminding his hearers that the North Carolina Synod is committed to subversive justice, particularly as applied to racism. Jesus insists that those in “arrested states” in various ways and settings will get up and walk, and those who follow Jesus will work however they are able to liberate their neighbors.
Worship concluded with several songs about liberation, grace, and peace.