The first crocus of the season made its appearance in my garden today, on Easter Sunday.
I thought that was appropriate because I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what Easter means to me. Before I began ministerial school, the traditional stories of Easter never made much sense to me. What has made sense is the renewal and new life of spring, sort of a Wiccan/Native American/early goddess kind of thing. I’ve written about such translations before. But this year I’m in a new place. It’s a bit of a different place, because for the first time in my life, due to a class called Metaphysical Bible, the Bible has come alive for me.
While many in New Thought consider themselves Christian and celebrate all the Christian holidays, I don’t. So along comes a Christian holiday and I just want to hide under the covers until it all goes away. Even after two years of a very challenging Masters degree program designed to turn me into a minister.
I’m turning into a minister, but not a Christian one. I’m turning into a New Thought minister, and I am happy to embrace anything and everything as a spiritual tool if it will help improve my life and yours.
So I got to thinking about Easter this year, and about what I have learned, and about how what I have learned has once again changed me from the inside out. What I really wanted to do was give a kick-ass Easter talk from a podium somewhere today, but in the absence of that, I’m just going to write this blog. But if you ever see me behind a podium on Easter Sunday, you might hear a talk based on this post.
Easter, at least as the Bible tells it, is about the literal resurrection of THE son of God who gave his life so that all of us could be saved. And then he was resurrected so he could come back and teach us all about the word of God. Like I said, I have issues with this. I believe we are ALL the children of God. Not only that but I have been taught, and also believe, that we are physical manifestations of God, created so that God could experience the physical. And in New Thought we are taught that there is no such thing as sin, only a mistake, so being saved is totally unnecessary.
But what if there were another interpretation of that Bible story? I’ve learned the Bible is rich with wonderful life lessons that are indeed spiritual tools that can improve our lives. So let’s take a look at this story and see if we can’t bring out some richness in this story, maybe a spiritual tool or two that you can use to improve your life.
First of all, know that I’m going to take things out of context here. I’m not going to write about the whole story leading up to the death of Jesus, and all the rich meaning in that story. As I mentioned, the Bible is rich with good stuff, and I could write an entire post about one or two verses. Maybe next year I’ll tackle Good Friday or Palm Sunday. But for now we’ve got Easter, and the resurrection, the story of which is in Matthew 28. Basically the story says that Jesus not only rose from his tomb, but there were witnesses in the form of his apostles and disciples.
Here’s where the richness comes in:
According to the Metaphysical meaning of the word resurrection (from the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary by Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity) is “the raising of man’s mind and body from sense to spiritual consciousness.” A little bit further in the definition Fillmore says that resurrection is a lifting up, a renewal of the mind that makes a complete transformation of the body.” And again, “The resurrection is an organic change that takes place daily…” and “the resurrection takes place here and now in all who conform their lives to the spiritual law under which it works.”
Dr. Rocco Errico is an expert on an accurate Biblical translation, and has worked to free the Bible from 2000 years of literal translation. He has this wonderful explanation of the resurrection story (from the book Let there Be Light), which ties in nicely with the metaphysical definition. Errico says that “the answer to understanding the resurrection of Jesus lies with the apostles and the disciples themselves.” He says that when Jesus was crucified, all the hopes and dreams of the apostles and the disciples disintegrated. They experienced a dark night of the soul, and from that proceeded to experience deep mental and emotional changes in their consciousness. These changes allowed them to “transcend their former reasoning and begin to perceive things spiritually.” Once they began to perceive things spiritually they were able to know that the spiritual influence of Jesus lived on.
Jesus did not resurrect physically, what he taught resurrected in the consciousness of his apostles and disciples.
This is what Easter is all about. It’s about a change in our consciousness, a raising up of our consciousness, to allow us to see things in a spiritual way. Such a change, unfortunately, usually only comes about after a dark night of the soul, a loss so great that we wonder if we will ever recover from it. The Easter story says yes, we will recover. It says yes, we will experience an uprising of our soul. It says we will transcend the difficulty, whatever it is, and we will know peace. I think the Easter story is a story of hope.
In a way, the springtime metaphor really is a good one. My crocus has been underground, in the dark and cold, all alone, desolate, waiting for a signal to spring forth. Since this morning, the bud that emerged has opened up a bit to reveal a beautiful bright orange piste inside. It has transcended the darkness. We don’t know, really, the process of how a bulb transforms from a bulb to a beautiful flower. But I can tell you how a human can transform from darkness to light, from grief to peace, from shattered dreams to joy: it’s about forgiveness and connection and process. Again, the subject of several more posts, lest you begin to think I’m writing a book. Blog posts are supposed to be short so I’m going to stop here.
I feel better about Easter now, don’t you? It’s a beautiful time to be alive! A great time to enjoy new life, and to see that new life as a metaphor for our own lives: a raising up of consciousness to an existence of joy and peace.