Dear good people,
Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to close the church again to in-person worship. We will also be taking a break from Zoom worship so the staff can go on vacation to someplace where it is really warm. Donations towards their airfare, tropical alcoholic drinks and sea-side massages will be gratefully accepted this week. And if you believe all that, well, April Fools!
In its typical fashion, spring is arriving in New England in fits and starts, with crocuses and optimism blooming one minute, snow flurries and impatience the next. This month also brings some Big Holidays in the Muslim, Jewish and Christian traditions. Ramadan lasts for the whole month. Passover begins on April 15th but we’ll reflect on the story early on the 10th, with the children, Barry Low and his accordion joining us in the sanctuary to sing Dayenu (“It would have been sufficient!”). Easter falls on April 17th; we’ll celebrate with an egg hunt for the kids and the return of the Vocal Choir in person for the first time in two years.
What with all the eggs and chocolate, it’s easy to forget that Easter is the most holy day of Christian year- and the triumphant centerpiece of its resurrection theology. But the ”holy week” preceding it tells a story that is fit for wartime: a story of betrayal, suffering, death and soul-rending loss. In Christianity, you don’t get to resurrection except by walking through the story of Jesus’ suffering and death (unless you are a “C & E Christian”, i.e. someone who shows up just for Christmas and Easter). In that faith, the resurrection is the truth and the reward, the happy ending.
Oddly enough, even if you don’t believe in physical resurrection you can still celebrate the “resurrection” of Life and Love in a gazillion different forms (despite betrayal, suffering, death and soul-rending loss). Much of Easter as we know it in this society is actually a holiday drunk on pagan symbols of life’s fecundity- bunnies in the greening grass, chicks and eggs nestled in nests (or baskets). Its timing is even based on an old pagan calculation: it occurs on the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. According to Bede who wrote in the 8th century, the word Easter came from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility and springtime celebrations: Eostre (sometimes spelled Eastre.)
The theme for this month is awakening. Awakening to liberation, awakening to life, awakening in time to get to church. (Yes, that’s right!) See you at the Meeting House.