On Trumpets And Easter Morning

One Easter morning some number of years ago, I woke up long before the sun had graced the foothills of North Carolina. Well, to be more specific, I didn’t just “wake up.” I was awakened. That’s different. It was the sound of trumpets blaring that jarred me from sleep, and for a brief moment I thought I had actually lived to see the second coming of Jesus and looked heavenward to see if pearly gates were really appearing before my sleepy eyes.

But the brass wasn’t coming from above. It was outside my front door. I got out of bed and went downstairs to look. And there, standing in our next door neighbor’s front yard, was a brass quintet (or maybe there were six of them?) playing Easter hymns. Well, I thought, this was different. They played for a few more minutes, then piled into the van parked on the other side of the street and took off.

I quickly forgot about this odd start to my Easter day, with all the goings-on at church that morning. But a week or so later I mentioned it to a friend. “Ah,” she said. Where do you live again?” I told her. Turns out that our family had moved into what had been for a long time the Moravian part of town – there was a Moravian church just up the street from us. And for a number of years it was tradition that a small gathering of the Moravian band faithful would get up at 4:00 a.m. on Easter morning, drive around to various Moravian households, and provide a short pre-Easter dawn concert. It was then that I remembered that our next door neighbor was, in fact, Moravian.

The next year I was surprised again by their early morning music, but at least I knew why. The year after that, it surprised me, but not nearly as much. From that point on, we expected it. We heard the trumpets and knew exactly what they were for. And I, for one, kind of liked it.

There is something beautifully simple about a quiet Easter morning, long before the worship services start and right before the sun rises. I enjoy that time. At the same time, trumpets make a lot of sense too. After all, stones don’t roll away silently from the tombs they once enclosed. Fast-traveling news of the women comes with a certain decibel level attached to it. There is no way to quietly put out there the reality that death has been defeated, that life has won and won forever. That’s not something you can share subtly. And besides, even if you could, why would you want to?

I can’t play a brass instrument and I’m not Moravian, so I probably wouldn’t do a whole lot of good in a pre- dawn Easter band. But I can live my life as one of the “Easter people.” One who has been through Good Friday and the Saturday that followed and found life everlasting on the other side. One, like many, who has found the resurrected Jesus and will never be the same for it.

As we prepare to celebrate Easter here at Trinity, let the trumpets of our lives blare: He is risen, he is risen indeed!

Steve