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 grew up in Tennessee with the woods right outside my back door. Wandering through them gave me a sense of connection to Nature and to a certain Forest God. I’m a Druid graduate of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the Coordinating Officer of the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and a former Vice President of CUUPS Continental. I’ve been writing, speaking, teaching, and leading public rituals for the past eleven years. I live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and I earn my keep as an engineer.