Today is especially important to celebrate Easter. Today, when every political and social stratum is ready for us not to have community, not have humanity left inside us, it’s especially important for the celebration of Easter to be life-giving, strengthening and to bring triumph.
I think that we use the period of advent before Christmas to prepare our souls for Christmas, in this same way we can consciously use the period before Easter to prepare for the triumph of life. Just like before Christmas, now, before Easter, I spent four Sundays and the time between them to prepare myself. Because Easter is not only the three days that we call Easter. Easter is a period that can change people’s lives.
If we want Easter to be a real celebration and to bring changes in our lives, we have to understand ourselves and the everyday life and what connects us as humans.
Therefore, the first obvious question is WHO IS GREATER?
If I think the way politicians and others who surround us do, then this question can cause misunderstanding or disturbances in us. Because it’s unavoidable for these kinds of questions and statements to come up:
- Why does this person bother me, when he is not as wealthy as I am?
- Why doesn’t this person understand that I’m more than him?
- I have more power, because I can pay for justice at the court, at the school, at the doctor and so on.
- I’m more important than society, since with power or money I can influence governments, communities.
- Because I have a big enough influence on society, people look up to me as a governing power.
Before God, there are no denominations, skin colors, social hierarchy, financial greatness, only people who trust him and live with him. God’s country, where we can happily be together.
The second question is also obvious. WHO GIVES TESTIMONY?
In the year 325, due to the ruling of Constantine the Great, the pagan emperor, they wrote in the Bible. That’s when they articulated and introduced the Holy Trinity to the religious world. Without that, there wouldn’t be a Holy Trinity. We call it the Nicene Creed. According to this, Jesus or one of the saints can give their testimony for us. Us, Unitarians are more honest than that. We say what the original words of the Bible say (1 John 5:7): For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. We are made of flesh and blood. In humans our body is made up of 60% water and we received our soul from God. All these three are inside us as one. Therefore, we have to give our own testimonies. We would be waiting in vain for someone else to do it for us. That won’t work. That would be passing our mistakes and human weakness on someone else. Before Easter we have to prepare to give testimony of ourselves.
When we have understood that before God, we are equal, and we cannot wait for someone else to give testimony for our mistakes and human weaknesses, then we also have to ask WHO IS THE TRUE STUDENT?
There is a great story in the Bible about the Last Supper. God calls everyone to share at his table, but a lot rejected it. Today we see, that similar to this story, a lot of people reject God’s invitation. They have other things to do. Either work, money, or social situation, or social judgment, or political view is the reason why they don’t dare or don’t want to accept the call to be students. Getting closer to Easter we shouldn’t forget that Jesus entered Jerusalem. Therefore, on every Palm Sunday Jesus’s teachings should also have the opportunity to enter our lives. That’s how that teaching can be a “path, truth and life” for us. Easter can only be a true spiritual celebration for those who accept themselves as students. For other people, it’s only tiredness, two-facedness, work and financial opportunity.
After all this, there is one last question. WHO IS THE BRAVE?
The rich young man wasn’t brave enough to follow Jesus and become a student. Jesus was brave enough to face his actions and the responsibilities of his dedication. A lot of people weren’t brave enough to face the owner’s invitation for supper. A lot of people are still not brave enough today to live with the opportunities they receive from God. The period of Easter is about this bravery. Am I brave enough to take up on the cleaning of the temple with Jesus (Palm Sunday)? Am I brave enough to spiritually be part of the last supper (Good Friday)? Am I brave enough to give my life a chance to have Jesus’s teachings resurrected in me (Easter)? Because those make me a different, more noble, more just person, who is not looking for the benefits of the financial, positional and human battles, but lives for God’s guidance, in who’s soul there is life, faith and strength. One who doesn’t complain, but lives life, who is not a modern slave of power, but is God’s coworker.
We believe that those who approach Easter with faith can give a proper answer to these questions with their lives. We believe that you also prepare for this Easter celebration with this honesty. This is a way for our souls to connect and we can be together during this celebration, even though seas and miles separate us, because love in God’s country has no boundaries, only love and agreement for the future and happiness. We wish you a beautiful Easter. We wish Easter’s flame to light up on us and we wish to be the workers of God’s country.
With faith and love:
Dear Szabolcs and all the Szentegyhaza congregation,
Easter greeting to everyone! Already here the days are longer, the sun is brighter, the air is warmer, the trees are budding – new life is coming, and the renewal of spirit that Spring brings and Easter celebrates is beginning to be felt among us. As well, vaccinations are beginning to be common among us, which brings a whole new, and unique, sense of renewal, unlike anything we have ever felt before and, we pray, unlike anything we may ever feel again.
We have spent this pandemic finding new ways to care for each other, new ways to connect with each other, and new opportunities to provide care and support far beyond our own congregation. it has been a time of growing and changing, of trying and failing and succeeding, of learning while doing, of risking and striving. Most of all, this has felt to me, and I think to many in our congregation, like a deeply faithful time, when living what we believe has been challenging, imperative, creative and compelling. I find myself often deeply tired at the same time that I feel urgent and clear about the possibilities and manifestations that are possible all around us, and I think a lot of people feel this way.
This week we celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover, which is also a personal holiday for me since my family is half-Jewish. Next week is Easter and we will be exploring the deep mysteries of faith – using the opening of the Gospel of John – “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God….” in the light of ancient Christian Gnosticism and modern understandings of science and reality, to consider what we can know, what we don’t know, what we can’t know. What we believe and what we love and what we don’t believe. These questions are ancient and still meaningful across all faiths, and, I believe across the versions of Unitarianism that animate our two congregations.
How I look forward to our opportunity, finally, to gather again and consider such questions together, to learn from all that is different between us, and from all that we deeply share. Until that day, these messages of goodwill and awareness that move between our communities like doves, like hands across a chasm, continue to offer an important bond.
We are sending you all our very best wishes for a joyful Easter and a happy and healthy spring.
Very warmly, on behalf of the First Unitarian Church in Providence,