I love Easter. I looked forward to it as a child and I still look forward to it now. Easter has always represented hope, rebirth, happiness, and life. In the past I tied those things to the Christian narrative of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Now that I’m no longer a Christian, how do I observe Easter?
This year I attended church for an Easter service – probably my first Easter service in three years. Since leaving Christianity I’ve had no desire to hear the gruesome details of a crucified Christ, nor have I had any desire to hear how the blood of Jesus is responsible for securing my place in heaven. At the Unitarian Universalist church I now attend with my family, none of those things came up. Jesus was mentioned, but in a way that was beautiful and healing to me. Everyone at church was excited about all the new beginnings occurring this Easter – new members were welcomed (including me!), a new baby and his parents were blessed, and Spring finally decided to show up. I was reminded of the cycle of life and found myself touched by this season of birth. The way my pregnancy coincides with the change of the seasons has helped me feel even more keenly the power of changing seasons (literally and symbolically).
Easter is Spring, the season of birth and new life. People have been celebrating this season for a very, very long time. Even the word Easter originates from ancient pre-Christian times,
when the marking of the seasons was the norm and abundant fertility was cause for celebration. The story of Jesus even resembles ancient stories where a god is born, dies a sacrificial death, and is then restored to life miraculously. It’s a beautiful story, regardless of who the protagonist is, and I find myself unable to feel disdain for the story of Jesus. I too can sense the wonder that comes with the story of his miraculous life, particularly the great hope surrounding his resurrection after defeating death. I feel no joy at the message of sin and salvation, though, so I will probably never choose to attend a Christian Easter service again. In the future I look forward to telling stories from all the mythologies of the world that are appropriate for Easter, not just the story of Jesus.
I’m thankful that my parents never bought into demonizing Easter eggs or Easter baskets. Our annual Easter egg hunt still holds a special place in my heart. 🙂 I was excited to find out that my UU church has an Easter egg hunt for the children every year. There are many ways to celebrate this beautiful day, and I’m saddened by Christians who withhold Easter fun from their children. The nicest people I’ve ever met all have this in common – they don’t let their religion get in the way of life. Enjoy life and celebrate it every chance you get – lighten up!