It’s festival season at the moment! Whether you’re Christian or Jewish, there’s plenty going on. (Sorry if I’m unaware of other religious festivals that may be coinciding!)
Obviously, I’m talking about Easter and Passover. The two are connected, of course. They both last quite a while and the Last Supper was a Passover meal. Both religions include eggs in their festivities (a symbol of Spring).
Despite appearances, I wasn’t really intending to talk about the festivals themselves. But I did want to have a religious slant to my blog at such a time.
A big question
People often ask me about my religious beliefs. How can I offer mixed-faith ceremonies? Even if I believe in either of the two religions, what about the other one(s)? And, as I’m not ordained, surely I can’t legitimately conduct such ceremonies?
Valid questions, and ones I have had to think hard about.
A small answer!
Let me take the last point first. I do not see that being a lay person prevents me from uttering holy words. I always tell my clients at the outset that I am not ordained and make no pretence about it. Moreover, even if I do not necessarily believe all the tenets of a particular religion, I feel happy enough to say the words. The words must not offend me, of course. I approve of a lot of Buddhist philosophy, so, though no Buddhist myself, would be happy to read appropriate texts.
When I was asked to do my first pagan ceremony (half a dozen years ago), my first reaction was “no!”. I had no intention of biting the head off a chicken, or whatever!
However, when I looked into it, I realised that paganism is nothing like that. It’s nature-centred and many of the prayers are really beautiful. I accepted the invitation. In fact, I greatly enjoyed the ceremony, and was so glad I had agreed to take it on.
So that’s my answer to those questions. I don’t feel I’m being a hypocrite by reading words that I may not fully endorse. They are still valuable and valid. I’m not forcing myself to say words that upset me. I’m not misleading anybody into believing that they are booking a full-blown priest (or whatever). Moreover, I’m increasing my knowledge and understanding of other cultures, and that has got to be for the good.
So, without remorse, let me sincerely wish you a very happy Easter or Passover!