and I'm going to, this Sunday. In the past, on Easter, I've circled around the topic, using all the symbology of spring to develop my sermon. One year I focused on the psychological aspects which might explain the resurrection and that was kind of interesting.
But I was brought up an American Baptist in a preacher's household, and Jesus was the whole point of Easter. The story of Jesus, right up through the Passion and the crucifixion, was an exciting narrative of wisdom, parables, and dangerous confrontations with authority. It was thrilling as all get out, but at the very end, it turned into a ghost story which somehow muddled the message of the earlier years of his life.
Unitarian Universalists are ambivalent about Jesus and that's why I want to preach about his life and his message, at this Eastertide. I think we have been repelled by "pop" Christianity (religion that focuses on fears, exclusion, and prosperity) and have forgotten that Jesus's teachings are actually justice, kindness, compassion, mercy, understanding, humility, and generosity.
I want to invite people back into an understanding of the man Jesus and a recognition of the similarities between the teachings of Jesus and our values as Unitarian Universalists.
Our UU heritage is deeply Christian and yet we are not really a Christian faith. We are too pluralistic in our makeup to be truly Christian. We do religion differently from other faith traditions. And yet our foundational values come from Jesus and from other prophets who espoused the same values, some ancient, some modern.
For us, salvation is found in joyous daily living, not in heaven. So we are not moved by promises of a celestial home nor by threats of a fiery pit. We are moved by what we can do here on earth to make our lives and the lives of others more joyful.
I'm not sure how the sermon is going to turn out; the title comes from Millay's poetic work "Renascence" and I want to use parts of the poem as a reading. But we'll see. It's interesting that I'm not yet finished with the sermon. Here it is Friday afternoon and I'm still thinking about it. I like to be done by now and have Saturday to refine it. We'll see how it all turns out.