Magazine article The Christian Century

Faithful Griots

Magazine article The Christian Century

Faithful Griots

Article excerpt

At five A.M. I get up and at 5:59--hoping to catch my wife's attention before the 6:00 A.M. bad news over National Public Radio begins to ruin the day--I turn on her light and read from Moravian Daily Texts. This book pairs two "watchwords" from scripture with two hymn verses. Each entry closes with a well-crafted prayer.

The book, given to us annually by Otto and Sue Dreydoppel, Moravian friends from Pennsylvania, is now in its 265th edition. Earlier versions inspired John Wesley. In its German form, Losungen (1,000,000 copies printed annually), the book of readings helped shape the anti-Nazi witness of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his seminarians-in-hiding. What's good enough for them is good enough for US.

Some mornings we are a bit dazed and our eyes are glazed as we try to concentrate. On February 2 we read the prayer, "Help us to be faithful storytellers, griots, narrators and teachers, Lord. Amen." Amen! If the Moravians say we should want to be something, we will. But what do we want if we want to be griots?

We suspected that this was a typographical error (even the Moravians are not inerrant). Could this have been tigor or IGOR T (presumably from an opera of the same name)? Tigor is itself a misspelling and IGOR T brought his own problems. Maybe the word before it got dropped, except for the last letter, as in "help us to be living riots." Moravians are many wonderful things, but few of them or their actions are real riots.

We groped for the dictionary in the semidarkness of 6:05 A. …

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