I may have told this story on Easter before, but the Easter story has been recounted a couple of thousand times. So, I have precedents.
daughter had little choice when she was young about being active in
church. She went to a church kindy. She went to an Episcopal School
for girls her first two years in primary while I finished seminary.
She went to Sunday School. She sang in the choir and earned awards
as her skills improved. She was an acolyte when girls were first
allowed to serve at the altar. She was active in the church youth
group. As she was showered with love, affection and attention by the
congregations I served, she didn’t seem to mind her life as a PK (a
In one of my last Easter Day sermons at St Matthew’s I opened with how difficult I found preaching on the Day of Resurrection in a Christian context:
Look out! Here comes the preacher walking the Easter sermon tightrope!
Can he balance the life-giving message of joy and hope that the ancient story of resurrection suggests, with the progressive theology and openness St Matthew’s embodies?
Can he make it across safely to the other side without falling into either the dreaded, dogmatic pit of spirit killing, rigid orthodoxy, or the confusing fog of bland generalities that can mean just about anything?
When I was in seminary, every seminarian was assigned a parish to do field work in for two years. My second Easter, I was given the opportunity to preach on Easter Sunday. A few months later a couple in the congregation came to see me. They brought me a novel the wife had written. In a former life they had been Idaho sheep farmers. The book is about the lonely life of a shepherd who cares for his flock. Continue reading Ignore Easter? So tempting.→
Each week we sing “Roots hold me close; wings set me free.” It is the Spirit of Life residing within each of us. The image resonates with a truth so deeply entrenched in us it could be part of our DNA. The metaphor is universal. I wonder if it might go back to our earliest ancestor, one that we all share. Carl Jung might consider it an archetype: A concept that resides in our collective unconscious the world over. Continue reading Roots and Wings of a Unitarian Lent→
One of the few difficulties I’ve had as a refugee from the Northern Hemisphere is celebrating Easter with autumn’s chrysanthemums and not spring’s lilies. It was ingrained into me that Easter had to be a spring holiday. After all, Easter takes its name from the Saxon Mother Goddess, Eostre, which means spring. But recently I read about the northern autumn festival celebrated by Hindus, Divali. It changed my perspective. As with Easter, Divali’s date is determined by the moon. It is a great festival of light—burning candles set floating out on the water along the banks of rivers and candles in people’s homes and in temples, dazzling fireworks, gaily coloured greeting cards, family visits, the giving of gifts. On Divali Eve, Laksmi, the goddess of wealth and fortune is said to ride across the land astride a giant owl just at dusk, scattering her gifts to all who deserve them. To us Divali seems to be a strange admixture of Christmas (lights and gifts), Guy Fawkes (fireworks), and Halloween (flying witches and owls). To the Hindu it is a celebration of the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, of humanity’s never ceasing effort to achieve a true and harmonious relationship to ultimate reality.