An Open Letter to a Unitarian Child at Easter

An Open Letter to a Unitarian Child at Easter

Not sure what to say to your children about the reasons why we celebrate Easter? Check out this letter to Unitarian children. And there’s a link at the bottom for parents and youth to learn more about our Universalist roots around Jesus.

An Open Letter to a Unitarian Child at Easter
Based on a letter written by Rev. Richard Gilbert
Adapted by Cathy Tauscher, DRE

Easter began as a spring festival.  Long ago, people did not have the technology that we have today to measure the movements of the Earth and the Sun. Every spring was a celebration that the cycle of warmer months following the cold had happened again. We too celebrate the coming of spring, enjoying the warmth and flowers and beauty it brings.

There is a Jewish spring festival called Passover.  It celebrates the escape of the Jewish people from Egypt over 3500 years ago.  Jesus, the great teacher whose birth 2000 years ago is remembered every year at Christmas, had gone to the city of Jerusalem to celebrate Passover when he was arrested and killed.  Christian believe that on the third day after his death he came alive again.  Some of them believe that he actually left the tomb, visited his friends and then went to Heaven.  Others believe it was the life force that was in him, his spirit, which arose out of his body. Many of us would say that we do not know what happens after people die, whether we’re thinking of Jesus, or of people today.

But one thing we do know, memories of people and animals we love live on long after they have died.  You may remember someone, perhaps a grandparent or a pet, who has died, but whom you remember very well. Maybe what happened that spring in Jerusalem was something like this.  Jesus’ friends and followers loved him so much that they could not forget him after he died.  Stories began to spread that so good a man could not be dead, that he must still be alive, that he had risen from the dead. The followers of Jesus told miraculous stories about him so everyone would know what a great man he was.  Some who never met Jesus but who heard these tales wrote their own stories as they imagined his life and death.  The Bible stories of Jesus rising from the tomb that are told every Easter are a result.  Hearing the stories was meant to convince people who never knew him that Jesus was so special that he was really the Son of God.

We may, or may not, believe that these miraculous stories are literally true, but they do show us what a strong influence Jesus had.  And we know enough about Jesus to admire him for the way he lived his life.  He was a great and good man who taught people to love rather than to hate.  I can’t think of a more important thing to teach, or to learn.

On Easter, whether we think about flowers, fresh and vibrant green leaves, and nest building birds, or we remember stories about a wise teacher of long ago who taught love, cared for the poor and for those looked down upon by society, let us share the happiness of being here today, gathered in the spirit of love, and surrounded by the beauty of spring.

Parents, would you like to learn a bit more about the Universalist idea of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus? Check out this UU World article about early Christianity and Universalism:
https://www.uuworld.org/articles/early-christians-emphasized-paradise-not-crucifixion

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