It was a colleague’s photo post on Facebook that helped me think about Easter egg hunts differently. Most churches (ours included) hold some sort of Easter egg hunt for children on Easter. One church I served hid hardboiled eggs all over the RE wing. Until the smell from too well hidden rotting eggs filled the whole church. They switched to chocolate eggs and jelly beans. But we all know what happens when kids eat all of that sugar before lunch- or even breakfast. Here at WUUC, we hide plastic eggs mostly with a little candy and little this’s and that’s for the kids. But my colleague’s photo was of canned food that the kids had hunted for that would go to the local food bank. When I lived in Montana, the greatest need at the food banks was in the Spring; not the high holiday season of fall and winter. So I was immediately taken with the idea of our kids hunting for cans that folks donate for several weeks prior to Easter. In addition there would be little prizes for the kids to take home. But not chocolate eggs. Or jelly beans. Not this year.
As I have said before, Easter is a tough holiday for UUs. Theologically at least. For if the Easter story is the Christian story, what are we to do with the day? Some of us focus on the season of Spring. If the day is to be about resurrection and rebirth, that makes sense. But, as the Rev. Bruce Clay wrote in his yearly Easter letter to his congregation in 1985, “But Spring is not Easter. Easter is something else. For Spring is automatic. It always comes. Easter is not automatic. For some folks, Easter never comes at all.”
Easter is to be the great liberation. It is to be a time when we are born again or renewed to do the work that must be done to actively engage in the creation of systems and structures that allow persons to be liberated. For there are so many among us for whom Easter-new life, rebirth, liberation- never comes. Not all of this work needs to be so lofty that it is out of our reach. It can be about simple acts. Like collecting cans of food to feed those who for whatever reason (mostly economic) are without food. It doesn’t end hunger but it can alleviate it.
May your experience of Easter this year be one of an understanding of rebirth, renewal, new life, and liberation.
Peace, Shalom, Salaam,