Sunday, April 8, 2012

The message of Easter

Today is Easter, 2012, and the meaning of the day is a muddle for most UUs. It certainly is a time of rebirth, new life, and procreation, Eros, is throbbing for expression among the various species of the earth.

In the Christian world, it is the time that we reflect on the great myth of resurrection which is mistakenly believed by some to be a corporal affair even when the real meaning of the story refers to a spiritual resurrection. As Jesus' body is tortured and executed He is quoted as saying  as reported in Matthew 27:46 Around the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, saying "Eli Eli lama sabachthani?" which is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" which is an expression of despair and abandonment. Jesus seems to have lost his faith. But then  in Luke 23:24  "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do". and He seems to have resurrected His Spirit for He acknowledges that the Romans killing His body is nonsense. His Spirit is alive and well and will live on forever. Jesus is demonstrating for the world that a person is not his/her body. Finally in Luke 23:46, Jesus says, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit". Jesus surrenders to His Higher Power as we all must learn to do sooner or later.

The story of Jesus' death is extreme, dramatic, and still recalled after 2,000 years. The story reminds us of the Unitarian Universalist first principle when we covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. As Unitarian Universalists we recognize and acknowledge that there is more to a person that his/her body. Within every person there is inherent worth and dignity which cannot be killed. It is this divine spark within each one of us which gets lifted up at Easter for all to see. A man who was mocked, humiliated, tortured, killed, and rejected by His society still has inherent worth and dignity which rises above the world of the ego and is eternal.

A literal bodily resurrection is nonsense, but a resurrection of the Spirit is very real and today is a special day when we celebrate our Spiritual essence which abides in our love for one another.

God did not kill His Son. God does not require this kind of sacrifice. The story of Easter is  a story which tells us that like Jesus we, Spiritually, cannot die. Death is only an illusion. Our inherent worth and dignity which comes from God lives on forever. It is in forgiving that we share in the mystical Body of Christ because it is in forgiveness that we realize that we never really left our Source. My body can be killed, but not my soul. When Jesus says, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." He was absolutely right. They didn't. And we marvel at their ignorance 2,000 years later. How could they have been so wrong? Would it be any different if Jesus appeared among us today? Our bodies can be killed, but not our souls. Celebrate the Spirit which is eternal. This is the message of Easter.


  1. I like your take on the meaning of Easter. We are Love and Jesus said that the way to the Kingdom is "to love as I have loved." Were that we all were up to the behavior that He demonstrated as He was killed, that is to forgive His "enemies", i.e. those that were torturing and killing Him. I aspire to be, but doubt if I could be, that big a person. It takes an enlightened consciousness to function at this level. Does our Unitarian Universalist faith help us to rise to this level?

  2. Does this answer your question Jeff? ;-)

  3. I grew up in a fundamentalist church that taught that the bible was literally true. I wondered when they sent the astronauts up into space and to the moon why they never saw Jesus. Nobody could answer my question. They said I was silly but I thought they were silly but didn't dare say that. As I grew older, I became more and more upset and I started going to a UU church but they told me UU is not a real religion and the UUs don't believe in Jesus. As I read your article it seems that you do believe in Jesus but in a different way than I was taught. I like your Jesus better and what you write makes more sense to me. I would like to share it with my old pastor and my old friends at my former church, but I think they would find what you write very upsetting and probably say that you and I are going to hell. Do you ever worry that you are wrong and they are right? The fear of hell troubles me but I agree with you and not them. I wish I was more at peace with this newer understanding and not so afraid. Do you have any advice for me about how to deal with this?

  4. Dear Candy:

    Jesus showed us how to deal with the situation you are in by forgiving those who tortured and killed him. You can do the same. Rising above those who would judge and persecute you and continuing on your spiritual path is the best thing you could do for yourself and for others. It is hard to give up friendships, support, and the sense of belonging that we obtain from church affiliation but sometimes it is necessary to extricate ourselves from these relationships if we are to spiritually grow. Most fundamentalists don't understand Unitarian Universalism and they need the certainty of concrete thinking to overcome their fears and insecurities, but there will come a time when they too question the false premises that their certainties are based on and they will embark on a more authentic and genuine spiritual path. Hang in there!

  5. thank you Kevin for your encouragement and suggestion that forgiveness is the path I should take. I find myself lonely but at more peace.

    Bless you!

  6. The story of the resurrection is a demonstration of Jesus' love which is eternal. It is not about torture and death a la Mel Gibson's horrible movie, The Passion Of Christ. We humans feel unconsciously so guilty about the rejection of the Love of God to protect our own identities of a separate self, our egos, that we conjure up this idea that God would kill His own Son. This is an insane idea which we have created to justify our own guilt and to resist giving up the delusion of our separateness.