Easter lily   EASTER, 2009

What does Easter mean to a UU man?

Two replies

First reply:

You have expressed the answer almost the way I feel about it. My father, however, was irreligious, while my mother was a fanatic Christian Scientist. But the celebration of Easter Sunday was mostly a secular affair with a ham dinner, an Easter egg hunt, etc. I became a skeptic in my teen age years and have been so ever since. My mother committed suicide in 1936, close to Easter that year. My personal concept is probably influenced greatly by her death.

My experience as a UU since 1955 indicates that the majority of male UUs are humanists, They treat the Christian holidays with respect, but there is little or nothing of the orthodoxy left. They are days in which the extended families gather for mutual love and a good meal with the conventional commercial trappings included.

Second reply:

---Easter's meaning to me:  

Easter was magical to me as a kid, between baskets with color-dyed eggs, chocolate bunnies, etc. And then, a bit magical for awhile in being told the Jesus-Resurrection story, which seemed kind of magical for awhile, too. In later years, after all that magic had faded for me,  for the most part, I myself (as  influenced by various UU services relating to Easter?) started to think of Easter as a time for reflecting (and being reminded of) lasting and seemingly-eternal sources of renewal and hopes... as though the greening of Spring reminds us that even the bleakest of times will pass, and pleasant new realities bloom forth and spring into being...  and that this is a sort of eternal cycle, almost like a guarantee from a god, or from reality, as evidenced by old mother nature's Spring season.

HOWEVER, I think I have a new & emerging problem, and maybe a growing dissatisfaction, with this Easter symbolism and celebration.  Because more and more, I have to question whether the Seasons will stay as reliable as they've been. Will SPRING always blossom verdantly after a bleak Winter?  I think this is becoming an open question, given climate de-stabilization. Maybe the planet will SHIFT into an inhospitably hot and dry age, or bring on a new ICE AGE, and celebrating the dependable coming of SPRING will NO LONGER seem any annual, seasonal joy, nor nearly so guaranteed nor eternal?

Also, frankly, I think the whole resurrection Jesus story, along with the crucifixtion, is something I now view as a rather barbaric relic of a religion conceived,  probably with the direct stamps of approval and directions, of various ancient Roman tyranical dictators, of the barbaric sensibilities of those times,  of 2000 years ago... That a loving God might chose to crucify a Son, and that this is somehow cool, or excusable, or pro-Society, is a notion I find fairly repulsive at this stage of my life, while it might have seemed awfully convenient if you happen to have been a tyrannical, barbaric dictator who might want to keep the various possible heirs in line. If God can sacrifice his Son, in such a cruel way, and it's for the good of the people, then perhaps a dictator can likewise bump off some heirs for the good of the people as well? And if God himself approves of torture, then perhaps such tortures are also ok as a tool of kings and inquisitors?  Wasn't that convenient for them?! 

In a somewhat similar vein, I now find the Christian Easter stories of interest also  in the context of the major slave revolt of Sparticus,  which PRECEDED the Jesus Resurrection by maybe 100 years or so.    The Romans were so troubled by that slave revolt, that they lined the Appian Way for miles with hundreds or probably thousands of crucified slave-rebels... It was MILES of crucifixtion on display. And I think it more than coincidental that the next big Roman religion (of Christianity) thereafter supplied a savior who somehow, mystically,  fulfilled hopes for a just kingdom of God,  and somehow, mystically saved all believers thru his act of having been crucified, as part of God's grand plan. Thru his crucifixtion, everything was somehow made right,  and God satisfied. That seems like it was probably CONVENIENT to those tyrannical and barbaric authorities of 2000 years ago, as well. So I guess Easter has become a bit dissatisfying to me for various reasons, both environmental and meta-historical.