Going to Church in Teplitz – Easter

Meyer, Ilse. "Going to Church in Teplitz – Easter." Mitteilungsblatt, March 2013, 15.

Translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, CO.

[From a note following the original text:] The following is an impressive descrption from personal experiences by Ilse Meyer, the wife of Pastor Rudolf Meyer of Arzis, taken from the Heimatkalender 1950, pp. 48 ff., reprinted here with only slight changes.

The quiet week of passion tide reached its high point on Good Friday. In deep earnest we began this, the greatest holy day of the year, with thoughts of the suffering and dying of our Lord and Savior…
            In Deine Leidenstiefen,                                  Into the depths of your suffering,
            Mein Heiland, folge ich heut,                         My Savior, today I follow,
            Es ist , als ob sie riefen                                  It is as if they called
            Nach Trost, der Dich erfreut.                        For solace that would gladden You.

            Dein Trost und Dein Verlangen                        Your solace, and longing for You
            Ist meine Seele Dir.                                          Is my soul with You.
            O lass mich hingelangen                                   Oh, let me reach the point
            Dass ich Dir dank dafür.                                  That I may thank you for it all.

What moved the soul on the day of our Lord’s death was demonstrated externally in the black clothing, in the complete stillness of the day, and by many fasting on Good Friday. The Houses of God were filled to the last seat, and a great celebration of the Lord’s Supper united all members of the community at the table of the Lord and, at the hour of death of our Lord the bells called everyone to a liturgical service. Good Friday was holy and somber, followed by a quiet Saturday, and then, in jubilant joy came the feast of Easter. It was as if we had emerged from a deep night into the bright light.

Early in the morning, around five o’clock, the village began to stir, bells rang, and the community gathered at the cemetery. In the center, amidst graves of adults and children, a large black cross stood in Arzis, and it carried the inscription: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, will live, even if he die” (John 11, 23).  From here, the Pastor began the Easter morning service. The choir beautified the celebration, and trombones accompanied the communal singing. It was a glorious sight as the first rays of the rising sun lit up the sky and the ground, just as we were singing, “Wach auf, mein Herz, die Nacht ist hin [Awake, my heart, the night is gone].” Whatever had bowed down our souls so deeply, it disappeared. We saw before our eyes the empty tomb, we experienced the shock of the women and the disciples in Jerusalem, and we felt the joy of Easter, which is full of gratitude and jubilation. Our dead, too, live on--that was the solace for all the mourners and the hope of the faithful that is given to us by the Resurrection. Our cemetery had put on a festive garb for Easter. After the winter all graves had been cleaned up and decorated with wreaths.

After the emotions of the early celebration, we all went quietly our separate ways, to gather later for the 10 AM service in the church.

At the services and communal gatherings on Easter Sunday we heard the powerful proclamation of the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, and on Easter Monday we experienced the encounter of the disciples of Emmaus with the resurrected Lord.

On the afternoon of Easter Sunday the local youth conducted a grand game on the large free plaza, where a competitive race among the boys and a hunt for eggs began around a high staff decorated with green twigs and colorful ribbons.

The joy of Easter continued to dwell in the hearts of young and old long afterwards into the days filled with work on the steppes.

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.


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