The Moravian Cry

Bass player Mike Majett

(Part of The Worship Community’s Sunday SetlistPhoto courtesy of Randi Anglin).  I had the privilege of leading worship with my friend Dave Durham during our church’s annual missions conference Feb. 13 & 14.  Dave did the lion’s share of the planning before our three assemblies while I did most of the vocal leading during them — mostly because he lost his voice after several performances of Fiddler on the Roof (Dave played Tevye).  The missionaries that our church support are folks from within our congregation and many of them come back to town and are present for this conference.  This is always an exciting weekend and I was happy to be a part.  It was an exceptional time of worship.  A big part of what made it so special was a stellar band, especially the addition of Chris Norton on vibraphone.  I don’t know about you, but we don’t have a vibraphone every week.  Chris is a professor of percussion at Belmont University and we’re incredibly blessed to have him available to us.

We started with a vibraphone solo over a keyboard pad for “All Creatures of Our God and King.”  Then Dave welcomed everyone, cracked a few jokes about his voice, and told the story of the Moravian Cry.  The story, in a nutshell, is this.  In the 16th century Moravian missionaries learned of an island of slaves in the West Indies.  The government allowed no outsiders, including missionaries, to come in.  The only way, therefore, to reach the people was to sell themselves into slavery.  And that is exactly what they did.  As they were sailing from the harbor on their way to a lifetime of slavery, they called out to their friends and family, “that the Lamb may receive the reward of His suffering!”

We then went into “He Reigns.”  After singing it through we had a parade of people who speak different languages come on the platform and say over the soft vamping of the band and singers (“every tribe, every nation…), “that the Lamb may receive the reward of His suffering!”  We declared this in Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Uzbek, Kurdish, … I can’t remember them all.  But it moved me.  Every time.  It moves me even as I type this.  Out of that, we went back to the bridge, “And all the powers of darkness tremble at what they just heard…”  So effective because it’s so true.  Here’s the set:

  1. All Creatures of Our God and King (Traditional Hymn)
  2. He Reigns (P. Furler / S. Taylor)
  3. Where Morning Dawns (Dave Durham) — very upbeat, calypso number.  Great vibraphone solo.
  4. Everlasting God — (B. Brown / K. Riley) We sang this in English and Spanish
  5. So Great a Salvation (Dave Durham) — “the gift is not just for me, but all of creation / how then can we ignore so great a salvation?”
  6. Communion Meditation
  7. To The King (T. Cottrell / A. Cottrell)

About Jonathan Riggs

Singer, actor, songwriter, and entrepreneur. And I like vanilla bean.
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