SPRING, EASTER, PESACH: A SPEECH CHOIR

 

©Rev. Lois E. Van Leer

March 31, 2013

Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church

 

Mark (sings)

Bright morning stars are rising
Bright morning stars are rising
Bright morning stars are rising
Day is breaking in my soul…

Mollie

What time is it?

Colleen

Too early

Stephana

I’ll second that

Liz

I’m hungry

Cherie

Whose idea was this?

Leslie

What time is sunrise anyway?

Adam

I have never been up this early

Rob

I have never seen a sunrise

Dawn

I hope this is my last

Liz

I’m hungry

Dianne

There is breakfast in the car when we get back

David

If we ever get back

Jack

Never mind getting back, we’re never gonna reach the top of this stupid hill

Alex

How far is it?

Olivia

I’m cold

Henry

My teeth are chattering

Liz

I’m hungry

Andrea

I have to go to the –

Laurie

Oh quit complaining- you’ll live

Mark

This flashlight is worthless

 

Next: Dianne

 

 

Dianne

Well, it’s almost light enough to see now anyway

Leslie

Almost there, just a few more hundred yards

 

All: (staggered)

Wow!

 

Stephana

Look at those mountains!

Rob

Look at those clouds!

Cherie

Look at those colors!

Alex

See the moon?

Dawn

See the stars?

Laurie

Can you see that bird?

Bob

Is it an eagle?

David

No, I think it is a hawk.

Liz

It’s an owl!

Andrea

Here it comes

 

All

The sun!

 

Colleen

This is the time we all face east

Dianne

This is the time of hope

Laurie

This is the time of revelation

Cherie

This is the time of new ideas struggling to be born

 

All

Let us face East.

 

Dianne

Take energy from the East and give it to the South

Adam

Take energy from the South and give it to the West

Alex

Take energy from the West and give it to the North

Olivia

Take energy from the North and give it to the East.

 

Next: ALL (“this is the circle we form”)

All

This is the circle we form:

 

David

We are filled with the Spirit from the East

Henry

We are burned with the fire from the South

Bob

We are cleansed with the water from the West

Rob

We are marked with the earth from the North

 

Leslie

At the circle’s center flickers the flame of one candle:

Stephana

Our vision, our hope, the morning star.

Laurie

Into the circle’s center we cast our hopes

Liz

The earth is full of the fields whose browns have yielded to spring greens.

 

Dawn

The earth is full of trees whose buds will burst pink, white and yellow

 

Cherie

The earth is full of pushing up bulbs which startle the wintered eye.

 

 

 

Jack

Daffodils

 

Liz

Crocuses

 

Colleen

Tulips

 

 

 

Cherie

The air is full of sweet scents

 

Mark

The air is full of the wind scattered seed

 

Andrea

The air is full of the song and the call of birds imploring us:

 

Mollie

Awaken, new life, new life!”

 

 

 

David

The fire is the burst of yellows and golds of sunrise

 

Henry

The fire is the lingering of orange red pink of sunset

 

Cherie

The fire is the waxing, waning, and fullness of silver white moonrises.

 

 

Next: Bob

Bob

The water is the gentle companion of rainy wet and mist

Colleen

The water is the quickened movement of the rush and running of melting streams

Leslie

The water is the sponge and sogginess the ground has gathered to her from the sky’s droppings.

 

Laurie (sings)


 

The earth the air the fire the water
return, return, return, return
The earth the air the fire the water
return, return, return, return

 

Dianne

Surprise!

Alex

What?

Liz

Food?

Dianne

Yep.

Mark

All right!

Liz

What are these?

Dianne

These are hot cross buns.

Liz

Hot cross who?

Dianne

Hot cross buns.

Adam

They’re traditional Easter cakes that were popular in the Middle Ages.

Liz

I think they should be more popular now. Give me another.

Colleen

Pig.

Dawn

What’s with the cross on them?

Jack

In pagan cultures, the circle with the cross contained within it symbolized the round earth’s horizon with the four directions meeting at the center.

It’s also called the sun cross: the sun embraced by the round of heaven. It’s also the symbol of male and female cosmic union.

Andrea

Yuk!

 

Next: Olivia

Olivia

Oh grow up.

David

Could we just eat these without some sort of big theological discussion?

This cosmic union junk is ruining my enjoyment of what appears to be some very tasty white flour, lard, cholesterol and sugar.

Cherie

We have to go anyway.

Andrea

Why?

Dianne

We have to do an Easter Egg hunt with the kids.

Henry & Olivia

Oh, no…

 

All

The Hunt!

 

Mollie

Whoever thought up Easter Egg hunts did not live in the rainy, wet, mossy, moldy, mildew Pacific Northwest.

You can’t hide eggs outdoors. All those new Easter outfits would transform cherubs into bedraggled rats.

The children are not frolicking in groves or grassy meadows amidst the flowers joyously plucking up eggs.

The hunt has been moved inside.

Dawn

The eggs, both chocolate and dyed chicken, have been hidden by the junior youth. They have taken great pride in placing them in as obscure places as possible.

One can only hope that they are all found today as the smell of rotting eggs could make the church uninhabitable.

Colleen

The hunt begins. Children are running amok. Adults are running for chairs so as not to be run over. Crying rises up amidst the flurry of activity.

 

Next: Adam

Adam

Jeremy is crying because he cannot find his mother.

Melissa is crying because she can’t find any eggs.

Danny is crying because he has fewer eggs than Jennifer.

Marlene keeps following Derek around and unbeknownst to Derek, takes eggs from his basket as quickly as he puts them in and deposits them in her own basket.

Tommy keeps stepping on eggs and cracking them.

Topher is taking great pleasure in smooshing chocolate eggs into the carpet.

Susie got red dye all over her brand new white dress.

Jamie and Rollie are fighting over who has more eggs.

Johnny is nowhere to be found which is a bit worrisome.

Leslie

The hunt was supposed to last for a half hour. It was over in ten minutes and now the children are beginning to show the effects of that much sugar.

They are running and joyfully screaming all over the church. Adults are running for their coats to make quick exits.

 

Rob

Do not even tell me whose idea this was because I will kill them.

Bob

You want some help?

Mark

No kidding.

Olivia

That was awful.

Henry

The worst.

Stephana

Where did they all come from?

Andrea

I told you not to post it on Facebook

Alex

Don’t worry, we won’t see them for another year.

 

All

That’s too soon.

 

Next: Alex

Alex

Please, someone tell me what in the world eggs and the Easter Bunny has to do with Jesus?

Olivia

Not another sermon.

Liz

Hand me an egg.

Alex

I want to hear this.

 

Laurie

Okay, here goes. What we call Easter was a pagan festival that celebrated the goddess Eostar or Eostre or Osatra. She is the goddess of dawn and new beginnings. 

She is said to have slain and then reconceived the savior or Vegetation God for a new season.

Her festival was celebrated when the day and the night were equal in length.

We now call it the Spring Equinox.

It is a joyful holiday centered on the symbols of birth and rebirth and growth.

It traditionally begins the season of planting though around here that just may have to wait.

 

Henry

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what’s with the bunny business?

David

Eostar’s sacred animal is the rabbit and hare, associated with magic and spring and the mysteries and the moon.

The hare is the shape the ancients saw imaged on the surface of the full moon. You can still see it today.

The moon hare supposedly laid eggs for the children to eat.

Henry

So what’s with the egg bit?

Cherie

Eggs are the symbol of rebirth. Often they are painted red the color symbolizing life.

In Russia they used to lay them on graves as resurrection charms.

Henry

That’s it?

Olivia

Please, no more.

 

Next: Cherie

Cherie

Mostly that’s it.

Dawn

I gotta question.

Dianne

Go for it.

Dawn

How come Easter isn’t always on the same day like Christmas?

Stephana

Because it is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox.

Liz

Hand me that chocolate bunny, would you?

Leslie

I want that chocolate bunny.

 

All (Sings)

Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail…

 

Andrea

You all are so sacrilegious.

Alex

So I don’t get it.

Rob

What?

Alex

How did we get from Eostar to Easter ?

Dianne

Okay -

Olivia (interrupting)

Not again.

Alex

Yes again, I want to know this.

Mollie

Before you jump to Easter, you need to stop at Pesach.

Colleen

Pesach?

Bob

Passover, the Jewish festival that was celebrated around this time of year as well.

Cherie

That’s a whole lot of partying.

Olivia

Moving right along.

 

Mollie leads all (sings)

Day, Day, Yenu, Day, Day, Yenu

Day, Day, Yenu, Dayyenu Day Yenu

 

Next: Mark

Mark

Passover is the oldest festival of the Hebrew liturgical year. It is a festival of sorrow, mourning, hope, liberation and renewal.

It is a time of remembrance.

Traditionally it commemorates two events: the deliverance of the Hebrew people from Egyptian bondage and the time of the barley season. It is based on the book of Exodus, Chapter 12: 1-27.

Liz

Is there any food involved like the bunnies and the buns?

Jack

Actually there is. Families or communities meet to celebrate a Seder meal.

Leslie

Seder?

David

It means “order.” The Seder meal is filled with special ritual foods and frames the Haggadah or legend, the telling of the Exodus story.

Liz

Let’s talk about the food part.

Adam

The staple of a Passover is matzah, unleavened bread. It symbolizes bread that the Hebrews made but did not rise as they had to flee Egypt so quickly.

Liz

Yuk! Pass the butter.

Alex

And the salt.

Colleen

Here, try some maror on it.

Liz

Yuk!

Alex

What was that?

Dawn

Horseradish to symbolize the bitterness of slavery in Egypt.

Dianne

Try this.

Liz

Uh-uh.

Dianne

No really, you can trust me this time.

 

Liz

Yum!

Alex

What is it?

Laurie

Haroset: a mixture of chopped apples and nuts and honey and wine.

 

Next: Andrea

Andrea

Speaking of wine, would you pass-

Liz

Not so fast.

Bob

The wine is part of the ritual. You drink four cups of it during the service.

Stephana

You also eat an egg which in Judaism symbolizes the wholeness of community and the continuity of life.

Cherie

Don’t forget the parsley.

Jack

The parsley or karpas, the symbol of springtime and renewal is dipped in salt water to symbolize the tears the Hebrews shed during slavery.

David

Do you do anything but eat?

Leslie

Yes, there are ritual prayers and songs and the retelling of the Exodus story.

Henry

Which is?

Rob

That God liberated the Hebrews from slavery, that he “passed over” the houses of the Hebrews as he smote the Egyptians and that he helped them pass over from slavery to freedom.

Dawn

It is really a festival for children so that they will understand and learn their history. They ask ritual questions.

Olivia

Why is this night different from other nights?

Henry

On all other nights we eat either leavened or unleavened   bread; on this night why only unleavened?

Alex

On all other nights we eat any kind of herbs; why on this night do we eat only bitter herbs?

Olivia

On all other nights, we do not dip foods even once; why on this night do we dip twice?

Henry

On all other nights, we eat sitting or reclining; why, on this night, do we only recline?

 

Cherie

The wise child asks what the meaning of all the laws and regulations are.

 

Next: Colleen

Colleen

The rebellious child asks defiantly “what does this service mean anyway?”

Dianne

The simple son asks what all of this Seder (say-der) and Haggadah business means.

Stephana

The one who does not know how to ask is told that this history is repeated because of what the “Lord did for me” when the Jews were taken out of Egypt.

 

Olivia

Are you gonna answer the questions?

Mollie

Nope, you have to go to a Seder to get them answered.

Olivia

Hey, that was a trick.

Henry

Bummer, huh?

Andrea

Well, you do get to drink wine.

Bob

That isn’t the point.

Liz

It isn’t?

 

(males)

Easter

Adam

Bunnies

Jack

Chocolate

David

Presents

Mark

Baskets

Rob

Starchy

Bob

Itchy

Henry

Long Pants

Adam

Oxford Shirts

Alex

Ties

 

(females)

Easter

Dawn

Bonnets

Olivia

Hats

 

Next: Cherie

Cherie

White gloves

Colleen

White dresses

Leslie

Patent leather shoes

Liz

Church

 

All

BORING

 

Henry

Squirming

Olivia

Restless

Andrea

Jam packed

Stephana

Family

Dianne

Music

Mark

Singing

Cherie

Flowers

Alex

Easter egg hunts

Liz

Family dinners

 

All (sarcasm)

On our best behavior

 

Jack

Why did they crucify Jesus?

David

What is resurrection?

Alex

What does it all mean?

Bob

Does it even matter?

Adam

To crucify: to attach a human body to a tree by ropes and nails or some combination thereof. A common way to punish or kill criminals in Roman times.

The victim was often placed upside-down. Those who remained hanging died not of nail wounds but of suffocation from the lungs collapsing.

 

Olivia

He wasn’t a criminal

 

Next: Rob

Rob

He was a teacher

Cherie

A Healer

Mollie

A prophet

Dawn

One who hung out with the least of the least.

 

All

Compassionate

 

Leslie

Divine?

Colleen

Human?

Stephana

A Way

Cherie

A Light

Rob

A Truth

Dianne

Compassionate

Andrea

Love incarnate

 

All

Resurrection

 

David

The rising of Jesus again after his death and burial

Jack

The reawakening or making new

Adam

To bring back from the dead

Mark

To revive from sleep, decay, death

 

Dawn

Magic

Stephana

A miracle

Alex

Hope

 

 

Next: Laurie

Laurie

The Christian story begins with the resurrection and works backwards. I don’t have a clue what really happened that day.

What is clear is that there were those who had an encounter with a recognizable presence of one who was taken from them.

Colleen

It’s a story, a sacred story.

It isn’t fact.  It doesn’t make sense.

That isn’t the point really. It’s about ultimate love and compassion rising up over human destruction and hatred.

 

Leslie

New life

Jack

Rebirth

Cherie

Awakening

Dianne

Again and again and again

 

Liz

Have you ever tried chocolate bunnies on matzah? It’s really pretty good.

Andrea

Ms. Eat her way through the holidays.

Alex

You know, I got to tell you something.

Olivia

Now what?

Alex

Well, it seems to me that the Equinox, Passover and Easter have a whole lot in common.

Olivia

You mean they all make little or no sense.

Alex

No, that’s not what I mean

David

It’s because religion is just layer upon layer;

Adam

Appropriation and assimilation.

Dawn

A way to answer life’s big questions

Leslie

A framework

Olivia

Whatever.

 

Next: Liz

Liz

A few eggs here, some matzah there and some hot cross buns thrown in for good measure.

Andrea

Enough with the food, already.

Liz

I was talking about what they all meant. They are all a celebration of Spring, of new life, of renewal, of hope.

 

Dianne

I can do the new life part.

Jack

I can do the renewal part

Colleen

I can do the Spring part.

 

All

We can do the Hope part.

 

All

This is the circle we form:

David

We are filled with the Spirit from the East

Henry

We are burned with the fire from the South

Bob

We are cleansed with the water from the West

Rob

We are marked with the earth from the North

 

Mollie

At the circle’s center flickers the flame of one candle:

Laurie

Our vision, our hope, the morning star.

 

All

Into the circle’s center / we cast our hopes

 

Leslie

The earth is full of the fields whose browns have yielded to spring greens.

Dawn

The earth is full of trees whose buds will burst pink, white and yellow

Stephana

The earth is full of pushing up bulbs that startle the wintered eye.

 

 

Next: Jack

Jack

Daffodils

Liz

Crocuses

Colleen

Tulips

 

Mollie

The air is full of sweet scents

Diane

The air is full of the wind scattered seed

Adam

The air is full of the song and the call of birds imploring us:

All

“Awaken, new life, new life!”