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Unafraid of the Dark
Homily

On Easter Sunday, we remember the teachings of Jesus as we celebrate the miracle of life, which is also closely related to the mystery of death.

Jesus, for example, spoke of a seed. Unless it falls to the earth and is buried, it remains just a seed. But by going down, down beneath the ground, it gives rise to new life and bears much fruit.

I have a handful of seeds this morning and I invite the children to take one. Take it home and plant it, in a pot or in a sunny place in the garden. Water it every day or two. In a short time, you’ll see some magic happen. It’s the magic we call spring.

Part of the magic is in the seed, which is alive, full of DNA and stored up nutrients that help it grow. But another part of the magic is in the soil, which is made of old leaves and twigs and little creatures that have composted and decayed to make a bed where the seed can lie quietly and take root. It takes both to make spring happen: the light and warmth and clarity of the sun and the cool, damp dimness down underneath the earth. It takes the wonder of life and it also takes the wonder of death.

And people are like that seed, Jesus said. Sometimes we have to lose ourselves to find ourselves. Sometimes we have to make an ending in order to find a new beginning.

So I ask you on this Easter morning if there’s a part of you that needs to put to rest? A grudge, perhaps, you need to bury? An emotion or a memory you need to plough beneath the soil? A piece of identity or self-image that you need to drop or scatter to the wind? Is there a door you need to close so that another passage can be opened?

If you’re wise like the seed, you won’t be afraid of the dark. You’ll know that’s the place where transformation takes place. And if you’re wise like the autumn leaf or like the bloom that’s faded, you won’t be afraid to fall when your time comes. You’ll know that’s the gateway to a new and different life.
 

About the Author

  • The Rev. Gary Kowalski is a Unitarian Universalist minister and author of many books, including Revolutionary Spirits , Science and the Search for God , and The Bible According to Noah . He served congregations in Vermont, Washington, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and New Mexico.

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