Hymn by Hymn Extra: Talking Easter with Michael Tino

Rev. Michael Tino joins me for a discussion of our Easter hymns and why most of them badly conflate Resurrection and Spring.

We also issue a challenge to our UU Musicians – because WE WANT MORE EASTER HYMNS!


  1. I totally agree with both of you. When I was serving a congregation, I promised myself that I would NEVER offer an Easter service that was about bunnies and flowers. Ours was a brand new congregation, so a lot of our preaching was about “this is who we are as Unitarian Universalists.” I tried to never shy away from our Christian roots because that’s MOST of who we are historically. (Who we will become is a whole ‘nother story.)

    I’ll augment the challenge/ask for more Easter hymns by suggesting that hymn writers look at the writings of 20th century liberal Christians, especially those who write beautifully. Howard Thurman comes to mind. Maybe also MLK (but about Easter, not all the other things he’s famous for.) Barbara Brown Taylor?


    • Yes! Hardly a month goes by that I’m not quoting Thurman, or Buechner, or Merton, or LaMott, or Taylor… etc.


  2. Fabulous! I can’t believe I got my wish for your hymn-by-hymn talk show! Maybe “check your theology at the door” hymn sing could be offered as a cluster program?


  3. Just a detail here, but resurrection was a Jewish belief long before Jesus, arising I believe from the first diasporas which created Jewish communities in Egypt and Babylon and thence into the Roman empire. Christianity redefined the reason and purpose for it, but did not create the idea.

    The presence of “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” was a conscious choice on the commission, as HCL did not have it and we believed that giving clear voice to the UU Christianity was important. There was no small outrage among humanists that it was included, as though the hymnbook should reflect that theology only. That may be the key distinction of UU hymn practice, that it manifests theological diversity – even dissent – within one book.

    Regarding “O Day of Light and Gladness” clearly is an Easter hymn, though it does recruit Passover and Spring as well., The “Dead die not to thee” is a pure Process Theology, in Hartshornian thought at least, who said that ‘we perish but live on imperishably’ in the mind of God. And ‘thine are the many mansions’ is a direct reference to John and his words to the disciples, “in my father’s house are many mansions.”


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