A Few More Thoughts About Easter

So, last Sunday, for the first time in my life I experienced a conjunction of paganism/nature religion with Christianity in a place not filled with my closest and dearest friends. It was very exciting for me, and so I have to share.

The Sunday service at the UUSS was an “intergenerational” service, which means they wanted the children to be able to participate and follow the service. Thus, they designed one that was full of storytelling and music. The assistant minister (woman) and the worship leader (teen or young adult) acted out three separate stories in front of the congregation. The first story was about a seed that grows and changes into a tomato plant that bears fruit. The second story was—get this—the Demeter and Persephone myth, as retold for children by Starhawk. The third was the story of Mary Magdalen finding the stone of Jesus’ tomb rolled aside and the body of Jesus missing. The theme with all three stories was that change, transformation, and rebirth are good for us, and that Spring is an optimal time of year to embrace change and renewal in our lives.

I’m all for it. None of this stuff about renewal is a new concept. But a pagan Greek myth told in a church service? That’s a first in my experience!

UUSS also held an Easter egg hunt for the kids. The Women’s Ritual Group provided eggs filled with raisins and cheerios and little rolled up paper scrolls with messages:

Scroll 1: “To many people in the United States, Easter is generally thought of as a Christian holiday. But did you know that the word “Easter” never appears in the Bible? The name comes from an Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) goddess of spring called Eostre (Es-truh), as in estrogen (a female hormone). And, guess what—her symbols were the rabbit (Easter bunny) and the egg (Easter eggs).”

Scroll 2: “Easter is in the spring, about the time of the vernal (spring) equinox—a time of balance when night and day are of equal length. The seasons are reversed, or complementary in the northern and southern hemispheres of this earth. For example, when we have spring, the southern hemisphere is having fall.”

Scroll 3: “Many Christians believe that Jesus came back to life on Easter. Many gods before Jesus were reputed to come back to life in the spring, such as the Persian (Iranian) god of light, Mithra, who was born on—guess what—December 25, around the time of the winter solstice (longest night, shortest day).”

So, yeah. Out loud, in front of God and everybody—young and old—this congregation acknowleged the goddess and the appropriation of pagan symbols by Christianity. Neat.

2 Responses to “A Few More Thoughts About Easter”

  • miss_emelia
    April 20, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    Damn. That’s a pretty darned cool church. I can see why you guys go there.


  • dizzyburner
    April 21, 2006 at 12:06 am

    She didn’t mention that the story of Jesus was presented as: “the followers of Jesus told each other stories about how he had risen…” rather than a bald assertion of a resurrection.

    AND… the choir sang “All Things Bright and Beautiful” but they changed the gender on all the pronouns for God… ahem:

    All things bright and beautiful,
    All creatures great and small,
    All things wise and wonderful:
    The Lord God made them all.
    Each little flow’r that opens,
    Each little bird that sings,
    She made their glowing colors,
    She made their tiny wings.
    The purple-headed mountains,
    The river running by,
    The sunset and the morning
    That brightens up the sky.
    The cold wind in the winter,
    The pleasant summer sun,
    The ripe fruits in the garden,
    She made them every one.
    The tall trees in the greenwood,
    The meadows where we play,
    The rushes by the water,
    To gather every day.
    She gave us eyes to see them,
    And lips that we might tell
    How great is God Almighty,
    Who has made all things well.

    Sister Mary of the Immaculate Hand Grenade is quick to point out that Unitarians neither insist or believe in a singular monotheistic God, an anthropomorphic “creator” God, nor any God at all actually.

    Brother Knife Hand of Forgiveness points out that good poetry needn’t include such gymnastic apologetics. Let the record be so noted…


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