I don’t believe that Jesus was the son of god, or that he rose from the tomb (though it’s totally cool if you do!)
I do believe in the possibility of ongoing renewal, of new beginnings, of what the Quakers call continuing revelation brought about by the light, the that-of-god, within each of us; of trees regaining their hard-won leaves; of sheets of ice melting to reveal the life-giving water within; of that simplest, barest hope, shoots breaking through the cold hard ground; of the possibility of miracles.
I do not believe that Jesus was the son of god. I do believe that he was a prophet, the original flaming liberal, someone who perhaps started our proud tradition of prophets who would show us how to live. And I believe that the story of his resurrection is a marvelous, meaningful fable, the telling of which reminds us that we, too, may rise from whatever tomb we have buried ourselves in.
There are aspects of winter that I love: the bracing cold, the quiet during a snowfall, the clarity of ice. It is also the time when cold and bitterness may seep more easily into the human heart, where the iciness outside may settle itself inside. It is the time when nothing grows, when everything is in hibernation, waiting for the chance to begin anew.
And so I celebrate Easter, proudly, as a Unitarian Universalist. I do not celebrate it as the day that Jesus, son of god, rose from the dead, although I see no reason why you should not celebrate that.
I celebrate it as the reminder that spring has arrived, that that which sustains life may finally grow again, that all that we love may return to us in varying forms, that after a long time hidden in the cold and dark we may arise and walk, squinting and stumbling and blessed, into the sun.
One of the things that has made me most myself is the fact that I went to Quaker school.
It was the kindest place I have ever been. There were certainly issues with many of the kids–many, many issues–but I think that it was a fundamentally kind place in a way that I have not experienced again.
Twice a year for four years I went to Catoctin Quaker Camp with my school (and I went three times as a senior). Catoctin is in the mountains, near Camp David, and it is beautiful.
This past week I took my youth group. It was such a strange experience. It was the same Catoctin, but I am a completely different person. Memory hung heavy in the air; here is the bridge where I sat and waited for someone to come and cheer me up, the kitchen where Chris and I had 3am debates, the loft where kids were caught having sex, the lagoon where we jumped in, the smoking bridge, the places where we felt trapped, the places where we felt infinite.
But I am not the same person, anymore; I am in charge this time. The buck, it stops here. Or over there, whichever.
But Catoctin is the same. There is the same breathing room that I remember, the same mossy stones and quiet paths. I haven’t been able to recreate the fire circles, because kids in Quaker school–real Quaker school, as opposed to faux Quaker school like Sidwell–really do know how to sit in silence, something that UU kids have a bit more trouble with. But we started practicing, and in the meantime, I relearned how to sit in silence.