Today is Easter, 2012, and the meaning of the day is a muddle for most UUs. It certainly is a time of rebirth, new life, and procreation, Eros, is throbbing for expression among the various species of the earth.
In the Christian world, it is the time that we reflect on the great myth of resurrection which is mistakenly believed by some to be a corporal affair even when the real meaning of the story refers to a spiritual resurrection. As Jesus' body is tortured and executed He is quoted as saying as reported in Matthew 27:46 Around the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, saying "Eli Eli lama sabachthani?" which is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" which is an expression of despair and abandonment. Jesus seems to have lost his faith. But then in Luke 23:24 "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do". and He seems to have resurrected His Spirit for He acknowledges that the Romans killing His body is nonsense. His Spirit is alive and well and will live on forever. Jesus is demonstrating for the world that a person is not his/her body. Finally in Luke 23:46, Jesus says, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit". Jesus surrenders to His Higher Power as we all must learn to do sooner or later.
The story of Jesus' death is extreme, dramatic, and still recalled after 2,000 years. The story reminds us of the Unitarian Universalist first principle when we covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. As Unitarian Universalists we recognize and acknowledge that there is more to a person that his/her body. Within every person there is inherent worth and dignity which cannot be killed. It is this divine spark within each one of us which gets lifted up at Easter for all to see. A man who was mocked, humiliated, tortured, killed, and rejected by His society still has inherent worth and dignity which rises above the world of the ego and is eternal.
A literal bodily resurrection is nonsense, but a resurrection of the Spirit is very real and today is a special day when we celebrate our Spiritual essence which abides in our love for one another.
God did not kill His Son. God does not require this kind of sacrifice. The story of Easter is a story which tells us that like Jesus we, Spiritually, cannot die. Death is only an illusion. Our inherent worth and dignity which comes from God lives on forever. It is in forgiving that we share in the mystical Body of Christ because it is in forgiveness that we realize that we never really left our Source. My body can be killed, but not my soul. When Jesus says, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." He was absolutely right. They didn't. And we marvel at their ignorance 2,000 years later. How could they have been so wrong? Would it be any different if Jesus appeared among us today? Our bodies can be killed, but not our souls. Celebrate the Spirit which is eternal. This is the message of Easter.