Easter again. The problem of historicity of Jesus' Resurrection is encountered again. Here are some excerpts from sermons and articles in the latest issue (April 2010) of UU CLF's newsletter Quest. In my opinion, of all historically Christian churches in the world, only the post-Christian church UU fully respects atheists and disbelievers of resurrection!
But some of you are thinking—there she goes again, using that word God, and I don't believe in God. If you are feeling that way, I think you'll be more comfortable if you understand that when I use the word God, I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about. For me, God is a word for the Mystery in which we exist...
Whether you are a UU Christian, Jew, Buddhist, agnostic, or hard-core atheist, I'd like to invite you to join me as we talk about the Easter story, a story that has meaning for every one of us.
The resurrected Jesus tells his disciples that they have a mission—"As my Father has sent me, so send I you." They are to witness to the power of love, to let people know of a love that is more lasting than any earthly kingdom, that is more powerful even than death. They are frightened, and they feel grossly ill-prepared, but there is something about this risen Jesus that has changed them, that has given them strength and purpose and a kind of clarity that they never had before. They are not naïve—they know the dangers they will face, but they know why they are living, and they are willing to die that others might know the power of this love and might be delivered from bondage—the bondage of the flesh, the bondage of desire, the bondage of ego.
So what is the real miracle here? Somebody coming back from the dead? I don't think so--the real miracle is what happened to the disciples. They were delivered from their preoccupation with self, from their egotistical plans, and gave themselves to Love.
I don't need a corpse rising from the dead to believe in the miracle of Easter. I see lives changing—I see it all the time. I see love doing absolutely amazing things. It comes about, I think, through both intentionality and grace—it comes when we are willing, and when we enter into a partnership with the Holy, and we say, "I just want to do some good in this world, to be some good in this world." Intentionality on our part, and grace from the universe, freely given. Jesus came not to do magic tricks and have us worship him as God--he came to show us that we are of God—and that therefore these miracles of love are possible in our own lives.
---Marilyn Sewell in Why Easter?
Easter is the time of year when all nature responds, and people, as children of nature, cannot but do likewise. Who or what can stop the trees and shrubs from budding, the birds from singing, the beehive from awakening, and the animals from mating? And humans, endowed with at least five senses and with the intelligence to appreciate them, must react to the vernal resurrection of Nature.
---Munroe Husbands in There Will Always Be an Easter
I am my father's daughter—all our arguments and misunderstandings notwithstanding, that is who I am. And, though he is dead, he lives on in me—in my memory and in my gestures, in the things with which I struggle, in my collections of small wonders, and in my enjoyment of poetry and music, even in my voice, this aging soprano sweetness that his tenor genes, combined with my mother’s alto genes, passed on to me.
If this is not resurrection, I do not know what is. Bodies do not survive death. If minds and souls do, I do not know where they gather. But I know that love is stronger than the grave. It survives, and it abides, and all the dead rise again and again in us, giving themselves to us for as long as we will receive them. Happy Easter—may it arrive, and you know it truly.
---Barbara Pescan in Resurrections
On January 11, Unitarian Universalists Hong Kong (UUHK) becomes a Partner Church of the Community UU Church (CUUC) of Plano, Texas, thanks to the UU Partner Church Council (UUPCC). On Sunday, January 24, CUUC celebrated our Partner Church relationship with a special Sunday service. See pictures here: www.communityuuchurch.org/pages/HongKong . I am very excited, feeling a sense of lively connection with a vibrant UU community on the other side of the globe. We can concern, support, and co-operate with each other. How wonderful and warm it is to be a part of the world UU community!
於本年一月十一日，尋道會與美國德州 Plano UU 社區教會在 UU 伙伴教會評議會之下結成「伙伴教會」。在上星期日該教會的一個特別崇拜聚會中，他們慶祝與我們的「伙伴教會」關係。我感到非常興奮。看到此處的聚會圖片，我感到很奇妙，能與地球另一邊的一個活生生的 UU 群體連起來，互相記念、支持、合作。我們是世界 UU 群體的一份子，何等奇妙與溫暖！
Hundreds of people sing "Silent Night" to the glow of candles at a Christmas Eve service at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Francisco. The song, lit strictly by the candles, is a traditional highlight of the early evening service. (San Francisco Chronicle picture from Christmas 2008)
King's God: The Unknown Faith of Dr Martin Luther King Jr
by Robert James "Be" Scofield
Although Martin Luther King served as a Baptist minister, this article from Tikkun shows that, as a young man in the liberal Crozer Theological Seminary (1948-1951), King rejected majority of the orthodox Christian doctrines, most central of which is perhaps the deity of Jesus. In The Humanity and Divinity of Jesus, a paper written for the class "Christian Theology Today," King clearly lays out his non-orthodox view on the deity of Jesus:
"The significance of the divinity of Christ lies in the fact that his achievement is prophetic and promissory for every other true son of man who is willing to submit his will to the will and spirit of God. Christ was to be only the prototype of one among many brothers. The appearance of such a person, more divine and more human than any other, and in closest unity at once with God and man, is the most significant and hopeful event in human history. This divine quality or this unity with God was not something thrust upon Jesus from above, but it was a definite achievement through the process of moral struggle and self-abnegation."
A few more King's liberal views on core Christian doctrines:
Virgin Birth. King is frank here: "We of this scientific age will not explain the birth of Jesus in such unscientific terms." Jesus's early disciples saw his "spiritual life so far beyond theirs," explains King, that they believed that Jesus's uniquesness could only be explained biologically.
Bodily Resurrection. Jesus's followers "had been captivated by the magnetic power of his personality," King writes, which led them to believe that he "could never die."
Second Coming. "It is obvious that most twentieth century Christians must frankly and flatly reject any view of a physical return of Christ," says King boldly. "The final doctrine of the Second Coming is that whenever we turn our lives to the highest and best there for us is the Christ."
Regarding heaven, King understands that it is located here on earth: "When we see social relationships controlled everywhere by the principles which Jesus illustrated in life--trust, love, mercy, and altruism--then we shall know that the kingdom of God is here."
The author, therefore, concludes: "It should not be surprising then that while Dr King served a Baptist church, his first choice of religion was Unitarian Christian (which later merged with Universalism). Coretta Scott had been attending Unitarian churches for years before she met and married Martin, and they both attended Unitarian services while in Boston."
眾所週知，馬丁路德金是浸信會牧師。但這篇在 Tikkun 刊登的文章說，從他在神學院時的學術論文顯示，年青時的馬丁路德金拒絕了很多正統的神學觀點，當中最核心的要數耶穌的神聖。以下的論文文字清楚解釋他對耶穌神聖的非傳統觀點：
所以，本文作者如此寫道：「這樣，我們便無需驚訝，雖然金博士在浸信會事奉，他的宗教首選是 Unitarian 基督教（它後來與 Universalism 合併）。他的夫人在認識馬丁之前，多年來都是上 Unitarian 教會的；他倆在波士頓的時候，都是參與 Unitarian 的主日崇拜的。」
As I have returned shortly from the ICUU Council Meeting in the Unitarian Centre of Koloszar in early September, I was very excited when I found this video in a UU forum "Faith of the Free". The video brings back good memories of my visit to the root of the Unitarian movement in Transylvania, a sort of pilgrimage. The forum host says (which I totally agree):
Not that I can understand anything that is being said in this video, but I still recommend it (at least for the video imagery). This YouTube offers a rare glimpse of the Unitarian church in Koloszvar, (apparently) on the occasion of the 440th anniversary of its founding last year. Included are the church, both exterior and interior, as well as portraits of founder Bishop Francis David and of other people and events in the history of the Untiarian Church in Transylvania. This video runs about 10 minutes, but again is highly recommended for anyone wanting to have a "little better feel" for our Unitarian roots in Europe.
Then I found a related video (slide show actually) of another Unitarian church with very beautiful background music:
Csókfalva - Erdélyi Unitárius Egyház Zsinata - 2005
Alex from UUHK