Easter at a UU Church

My recent blogging has been almost exclusively Pagan, but UU World has a story about the sausage-making process involved in planning an Easter service at a stereotypical UU church that I can’t ignore.

Go read it… or maybe not – you probably know how it turns out, maybe from first-hand experience: “they planned a nice mash-up of Passover, Easter, flowers, love, diversity, and new life.” I’ve been in services like that – I find them wholly unsatisfying.

If I’m leading a Sunday Service on the Spring Equinox (which I’ve done twice), I’m going to talk about planting and rebirth and the story of the Goddess Ostara and the egg-laying bunny (which has NO basis in ancient mythology, but is still a pretty good story). I’m not going to mention Easter at all, except maybe for the Ostara – Easter name connection. Why should I (or any other UU) expect a different approach for Easter?

Yes, I was hurt by a fundamentalist Christian upbringing. Yes, I’m still disturbed by some Christians’ emphasis on the bloody horrors of “Good” Friday. No, I don’t believe in a bodily resurrection of Jesus or anyone else.

But I’m done with defining myself by what I’m not. There is meaning and value in the Easter story, just as there’s meaning and value in the Christmas story and the Passover story and the story of the Buddha’s birth and the story of Persephone and Hades (and Demeter) and countless other stories. I can find that meaning a lot better in a rational but straightforward service / sermon on Easter than I can in any “mash-up,” nice or otherwise.

There is still value in the teachings of Jesus and in the stories and ideals of Christianity. They belong to Unitarian Universalists as much as they belong to the Baptists or Catholics. Don’t be afraid to claim them.

If you’re going to do Easter, then do Easter!

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.