Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #32
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Across the Christian world today the Easter story is being told and retold. The familiar theme, I’m sure we’ve all heard it before ... I’m reminded of the youngster who came home from Sunday school after his Easter session, and his mother dutifully said, “Well, what did you learn today son?” “Oh, same old stuff. The man broke out again.” In a nutshell, the traditional scriptural theme is toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away and an angel of the Lord said, “He is not here, for he has risen from the dead.”
Now the young lad came home telling his mother “Hey, that Jesus was a cool cat.” Everybody was saying he’s got rhythm, he’s got rhythm. Christ has rhythm. The point is he may be as right as anyone, because what is this thing that we call resurrection if it is not the working of the transcendent rhythm of life, something that is beyond human experience? What is death if it is not the temporary stilling of the beat, or at least the deadening of the sense that here’s the beat, but the beat goes on? As we come to understand more about this thing called life, and this ephemeral experience called death, the more we come to realize that it is not a fantasy. It is not unreal to think of the beat continuing on, knowing that the person is more than a physical body, but that he has a body, and even if the body is rendered unfit for further service and is laid aside, yet still there is something of the transcendent beat in terms of the living soul that is eternal that goes on.
The eternal question of Easter, which is asked and reposed over and over again, what does that empty tomb mean? Coincidentally, it means more than anything else that there is something eternal about life. Something that transcends what we call death. It may well be as the ages go by, it’s not inconceivable to me, that there will be a time when science will come to realize that the coming back from the dead is not at all impossible. Perhaps in our day we won’t see it, but there are those who are talking about all sorts of demonstrations and experiences in life beyond anything that our common sense would come to accept.
Fundamentally, dealing with the principles involved, that empty tomb deals with the evidence of a principle that probably has been overlooked when we’ve come to understand a greater insight into the universe and a more complete evaluation of ourselves. In other words, it is that principle that makes healing possible, that makes overcoming practical.
Now unfortunately, one of the problems we have with scripture ... I’ve always been very outspoken about this so some people are a little bit upset about it from time to time. That’s all right. I’m always considered myself to be a challenger. I’m not concerned with spoonfeeding people, to lull people into complacency. I’d much rather set little sparks off. Occasionally the sparks are explosions and that’s all right. I’ve always said that I’m much more concerned that a person occasionally shakes his head than that he nods his head all the while because the head nodding might often ultimately lead to sleep. If I see some head shake this way, I’ll say well, I’m getting to someone.
Unfortunately the scriptural account of that first Easter is shrouded with angels and robes and mystery and magic and those things that sometimes dutifully and traditionally we nod our head to and say, “Yes, that’s right,” and yet within ourselves say, “No way. No way.” It’s like one man after viewing a large figure of an angel that had just been installed in the narthex of his church ... It was a beautiful figure, more than life-size, beautifully white, sculptured white marble with huge wings hanging from the back. The man said to his minister, “How can we expect to reach young people with this message if we insist that they believe in anatomical monstrosities like that?” Well the question is, do we have to believe in the angels of Easter morn? Well as a matter of fact, in biblical symbology the angels represent messengers. More realistically they refer to ideas, inspiration, or an experience of elevated consciousness. In Luke it clearly says, “They came saying they had seen a vision of angels.” In other words, it was a vision so real that they could almost see it.
When the writer recorded the story in later years, and I think we have to remind ourselves that the story was written probably 30, 40, 50 years after the fact, this writer emphasized this little vignette by personalizing the angels. It’s like in the Old Testament they talked about grasshoppers the size of giants, or when the Israelites that were sent into the holy land to spy out the land they came back saying that there were giants in the land and we were in their sight as grasshoppers and in theirs. It’s a case that in years later you look at a thing and you say, “You know that thing was almost as big as a horse,” and so eventually we say it was as big as a horse. It becomes real. The exaggeration takes hold.
We thus forever have been given a misleading implication, because as long as we have the story of angels with white wings and robes standing there parading around, then we have the kind of magic and mystery that builds the cosmology that traditional religion has always built with man on the outside trying to peer in the window and yet unbelieving everything that he sees. It just isn’t real. It doesn’t relate to life.
We’ve been considering my book in recent weeks, Discover the Power Within You, which deals with the concept of the divinity of man. It’s my thesis in the book that this was the essential message of Jesus, that he was not concerned with in any way articulating this tremendous misunderstanding of Christianity, that he was very God, that he was doing special things because he was under divine dispensation, but he was seeking to prove the reality of the God-power that is within all persons and thus it was not the divinity of Jesus but the divinity of man that is the central feature of the gospel story.
In other words, Jesus taught that life is for living, not for dying. Despite the fact that traditional preachers have always said, “From the day we’re born we begin to die. Suffer it to be so now. This is God’s will,” and all of that, can I say, poppycock. In other words that life is lived from within out. On the within-ness of life, which Jesus called the kingdom of heaven, within there is a limitless potential for unfoldment, far beyond anything that any one of us have ever conceived of in the wildest flight of imagination, and that there is a great depth to life within every expression of life. That means within you and within me, even as his whole demonstration referred to the evidence of that great depth of life within himself. We may not understand that depth. We may go through all of our lives trying desperately to grasp some sort of a thread that enables us to understand it. Perhaps it is unknowable. Maybe we can never really understand what life is. Certainly we can know that it’s a little more than the poet who says life is just a bowl of cherries.
In the resurrection we can know that there is no magic and no trickery involved, that it was a great demonstration of the divine potential within life within man. Now I know there are always those who are trying to rationalize everything. The intellectuals around and books have been written on it, talking about the fact that, well, there was probably some kind of a passover plot involved. Jesus probably took drugs and feigned death so that they would assume that he had passed from this plane of life, and then after three days he simply walked out and said, “Here I am,” with some great chicanery or sleight of hand involved.
I say really to take that kind of an approach is much the same thing as the person who first heard that you could send pictures through the air through television. He said, “I absolutely don’t believe it.” As a matter of fact, a few years ago when they ... I think one of the radio stations put up a helicopter to drive around and give reports of the traffic as they happened and he was giving these reports over the radio during all the hours of commuting time. I noted a letter in letters to the editors from someone, obviously very sincere. You wonder what generation he was reared in, but he was saying, “I think it’s terrible that the radio stations these days try to dilute us with such stories as giving reports of traffic all over the city at the same time. We know how they used to recreate baseball games on radio and that’s the way they’re doing this.” He couldn’t believe that there was a helicopter up there riding around noting the traffic.
Well it’s probably true that the people of other centuries had a hard time believing such things as the steam locomotive or the boat that could float made out of steel and so forth. It’s always been difficult to understand things that transcend our present frame of reference, but it’s important I think that we don’t get caught up intellectually in the nitty gritty of these things. We want to understand the fundamental principle involved. It really doesn’t matter. I say, and this is startling to some people, not not only does it not matter if somebody could absolutely prove, though I don’t know how they could, that Jesus didn’t die and rise from the dead, anymore than I would be at all concerned if somebody could prove that Jesus never lived. That ought to get some sighs out of someone.
It’s like the person who might come up and say, “I can prove absolutely and completely that there was never a character by the name of Thomas Edison.” What does it matter? We have the light. It came from somewhere. If we could prove that Jesus didn’t live we still have the residue of a movement of consciousness that came from somewhere.
I prefer to accept without question that Jesus did live, though I find it very difficult to accept a lot of the things that are attributed to Jesus, especially the idea that Jesus was God coming down for a while to teach us a lesson, because I believe that Jesus was a person like you and me, no ordinary person, highly evolved above and beyond anything we’ve ever known, but one who wasn’t trying to show some special dispensation under law, under works of magic to dazzle us with the tremendous powers of God, but one like you and me, who was on the path of spiritual evolution, far beyond along the way of the path that most of us can even imagine, but who was growing step by step, overcoming by overcoming, or as Paul says, “From glory to glory,” seeking to achieve the fulfillment of that which is divinely potential within all persons. If we catch this message of what is going on then the mechanics of the death and resurrection are not really all that important.
Certainly it may well be that these ideas, these vignettes, these stories, have been warped a little bit by those who wrote about them in long time later. Don’t be too concerned about that. Don’t let your mind intellectually wonder, “Did it happen? How did it happen? Why,” and so forth. Try to understand and relate to the principles, the fundamental principles of life, because you see, central to Jesus’ teaching was his concept that he refers to as the kingdom of heaven. He said it is within every person. Now this kingdom was not, as traditional religion would have us to believe, not another world. It was another dimension of life, another level of consciousness within each of us. The word heaven, from the Greek word ouranos, means expanding. It is like yeast. It is like the miracle of the seed. These are the illustrations that Jesus used in trying to explain it. It’s a dynamic that is within every person that is forever rising, bubbling, guiding, transforming, lifting up, the very key to the fullness of life.
Heaven is a rhythm of life, a beat that goes on when everything else seems still, no matter how conformed we become to this world, to use Paul’s thought. Easter then simply demonstrates the promise of this transcendent rhythm of life. Healing is an evidence of it. Prayer simply works with it. An affirmation or treatment declares it. Positive thinking works because of it, the transcendent level of life. It is because of this that Jesus called the kingdom of heaven within, which is the resurrection principle. It is because of this that health and healing are natural. It is because of this that we can overcome regardless what the limitation. It is why every person has the built-in will to live, the will to fight off discouragement and despair and futility. It is why, as the poet says, hope springs eternal in the human breast. Because of this resurrection principle, man is a restless creature who longs for the heights and who can never settle for anything less.
Jesus gives his classic parable, the prodigal son, which I think of as the crux of his teaching and the whole Bible in a nutshell. This parable reveals the bursting forth of the rhythm of life. We can identify with the parable, I certainly can, with the prodigal son. It’s important that we all do. It’s a counterpart of the Easter story, but one that maybe is a little more meaningful in terms of a personal identification. Here was this young man out in the far country living riotously. That doesn’t mean sinning. It doesn’t mean doing all sorts of terrible things. He’s simply living, as one poet calls it, at the circumference of life. That may well be where most of us are most of the time, where we think in terms of materialism and sensuality and sexuality and materiality and so forth. He was out in the far country. He was involved in a life at the surface of his experience. Suddenly there’s a change. It’s almost like somebody comes up and says to you, “My goodness, you’ve changed. What happened to you?”
What happened to the prodigal son? Life happened to him. What happened to you when suddenly you catch a new idea, when your awareness of the insight of truth causes you to change your mind and alter your life and suddenly you have different perspectives, different attitudes, you relate to people on a different level? What happened to you? Life happened to you. It’s not a miracle. It’s simply the awakening of life to a deeper, deeper dimension. The innateness of life suddenly broke through as a seed breaks its shell and germinates and grows into the flower that it can be. The understand the parable of the prodigal son we want to know that not only did life happen to him out in the far country when suddenly he awakened and got a new perspective of himself and of his relation to the whole, but the first urge to run away into the far country was also life happening to him. Whenever you fall down it is more than likely that the falling or the urge to move in some limited way is an urge to break out of the shell.
Sometimes, as some of our AA people say, sometimes we have to be driven to our knees so that we can find our strength. Sometimes for us it means that we have to go into the far country and experience want in terms of a physical problem, in terms of unemployment, in terms of injustices and so forth, not because it’s divinely directed into our life, but because in our consciousness a part of breaking out of the shell of the conformity of human consciousness means that ... The breakup often means that we must be drawn into certain experiences that Jesus refers to in the parable as simply riotously, living at the circumference of life. The going out as well as the waking up is the happening of life, the urge for growth and expansion.
It’s important to understand, to get the message of what Jesus was about, that when we see this holy week experience and this excruciating pain of the cross of Golgotha, and the seeming death of Good Friday and then of the awakening and the rolling away of the stone on Easter morning and the resurrection, “He is not here,” praise God, hallelujah, hallelujah, that all of this, again, is life happening to this man who was demonstrating the potential of all of us. In other words, this happening of life was not only the Easter morning experience but all along life’s way. He had caught the rhythm of what one writer calls the upward, progressive movement of life. When he said, as he did, “Follow me,” he was talking as an older brother who knew that what he was about was not only pursuing his own goal of overcoming, but he was leaving a trail for us all to follow. That’s why he chose to take the course that he did.
To me, it is sad, very sad, that in our traditional Christian approach we have put Jesus on a cloud where we can’t understand him or identify with him. We can only see him as God, praise God and bow down and worship him, even though he would say to us as he did to the man that came up to him and knelt down before him and said, “Good master,” you can see him pulling him up and he said, “Why callest thou me good? None is good save God. Don’t worship me. Understand that what I’m about is simply revealing the potential of that which is in you.” It’s sad that we’ve created this great distance between the man Jesus and the man and woman of us that is seeking to grow and unfold along life. Jesus made his overcomings all along the way in life not because he could not fail but because he would not. That’s important.
There’s someone who says, “Well he was God so how could he fail?” Well if he was God and could not fail then why would he have temptations in the wilderness? Why would he sit there as he did in that last Garden of Gethsemane experience and say, almost sweating blood as tradition has expressed it, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me?” If he were God and he couldn’t fail why was he so tempted at this point? Why did he come to the verge of failure? Simply because he could have failed. I have to believe that. If I believe that Jesus could not fail, could not, because of his nature as a spiritual being separate and apart from us, then I wouldn’t be dealing with the insight and truth that I do today. As a matter of fact, I would be an atheist. I believe that he could have failed. That makes the overcoming that much more powerful. He would not fail because he had to deal with the same overcoming process that you and I do.
One of the writers, Paul, caught this message. He says he was tempted or tested in all points such as we. Then he adds, “Without sin,” but he had the same temptations. He had to work and overcome. He had to discipline his self just as hard as any one of us has to discipline himself. If you’re trying to keep your thoughts positive, if you’re trying to rise above certain past limitations of life that have become habitual, if you’re trying to overcome alcohol or drug addiction, if you’re trying to lose weight, if you’re trying to be loving in the face of injustice, it takes discipline. I want to believe, and I believe with all my heart, that when we see a Jesus who says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” that here was one who achieved that level of forgiveness because he dealt step by step, overcoming by overcoming, from glory to glory, to achieve that consciousness.
When he made that statement he was revealing not only the tremendous overcoming power of the Christ potential but he was demonstrating for us the potential for overcoming in every one of us. That’s the way we must go, you see. Again, he was no ordinary man. Let’s don’t feel that I’m in any way putting down this tremendous dynamic of the overcoming of Jesus, but I insist he was a man. He was called Master not because of the manner of his birth, not because he had something special going for him from on high, he was called Master because he had mastered all the processes of life, because of the overcoming, the victory all through life’s way. All along the way he was involved with his own self-mastery.
On Easter morning, to me this was a great commencement day. This is what Easter is all about. He had made the great demonstration, not just coming back from the other side of death into life. That’s one way of looking at it. That’s simply one window that we can see through, but it’s so much more than that. The fulfillment of Easter is that there is a dynamic for overcoming, for transcendent life within every person and he demonstrated it all the way, beyond what is called the final victory. He proved himself by journeying into the beyond and back. He had demonstrated much more than overcoming of life. He had verified the principle of the divinity of man, which was the essential key of his life and teaching. I think we downgrade Jesus when we think of Easter as a great miracle of God instead of the demonstration of the depth potential of man, of you and of me.
You may recall the story of a time when the great pianist, politician, Paderewski, had played a concert with great virtuosity. One of the crown princesses of Europe came up to him afterwards and she said, “Oh maestro, you’re a genius.” He said, very humbly, “Ah yes, but before I was a genius I was a clod.” Then in a sense we could go up to the risen Jesus on Easter morning and we could say, “Master, you are the Christ.” He could well have replied, and I suspect maybe he might have, “Ah yes, but before I demonstrated mastery I was a simple carpenter.” That’s important. Remember Jesus’ words when he said, “All that I do you can do too if you have faith?” That’s important. That’s a statement that we rarely ever hear in the Christian teaching. It’s the link between the traditional and the positive, personally applicable concept that, “All I that do, you can do too, everything.”
He also adds, to make it even more exciting, “And greater things than these shall you do,” not just do the things he did. He did some mighty important things, but even greater things than these shall he do because he’s talking about the potential of fundamental spiritual law. As the years go along we find that as we begin to understand laws and apply them in a higher and higher dimension until they become almost routine ... A child in school today does things that are probably greater than some of the early, early, early scientists because today we have a greater insight into the fundamental of law. Man and woman, each person can only be explained in terms of his potential, in terms of the person that he can be. There’s no way that you can really know or identify yourself except with that which you can be. What can you be? You can be, to use the term that Peter blurted out in a moment of elevated consciousness when Jesus has said, “Who do you say that I am,” Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.”
We think that he was thus evidencing that he suddenly discovered that Jesus was God, very God. That isn’t it at all. He suddenly discovered the deep potential of life. When Peter said that to Jesus it wasn’t so much a tribute to Jesus as it was a tribute to the awakening consciousness of Peter, because if you can see that in another person you see it from a perspective in yourself. This is why I love this idea namaskar, the Hindustani word which simply says the divinity within me salutes the divinity within you. If I can truly salute the divinity with you, truly, see beyond the limitations, see the level of your greater potentiality ... It takes a lot of faith sometimes. If I can see that, something is happening to me. Life is happening to me.
I love that simple little word or some similar state of consciousness such as I love you or I salute the Christ in you or whatever, because it’s a continuous exercise of personal growth. To the degree that I can see the God potential within other persons, to that degree I’m experiencing the God potential in myself, because you can’t see out the window unless the window is there in your own inner self. That’s important.
Easter then proclaims that there is a person of genius within every person of mediocrity. Isn’t that exciting? There’s a person of genius within you no matter where you are in consciousness. Now we’ve been told that a genius is born and not made. True, but what we’ve overlooked is that a person dies and is born again many times over through life. That’s what life is all about. I love the thought of Elsie Robinson. She says, “One dies, or one ought to die frequently. His real birthdays are when he has a change, when there is a shift in his character for the better. Thus his whole life is a series of tombstones. When a person dies, a new person is born. By a series of tombstones a resurrection is certain. Thus one proceeds to the greatness of his soul.”
This gives a new implication to the thing we hear an awful lot, about being born again, but it also adds a dimension to it, because unfortunate so often the fundamentalists and the traditionalists talk about being born again as a once and for all experience. Usually it means intellectually and emotionally accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior and I’m reborn, praise God. Often there’s a tendency, not always but there’s a tendency, for the ego to get involved and to look down at the unborn people around you, “But I’m reborn.” Well I think it’s great to be reborn. It’s great to have a birthday. A birthday, as I say, is basically when you have died and something else is made new within you, but life should have many birthdays. One who is involved in the quest for truth should be seeking constantly to roll away the stones of limitation, to awaken from that of his consciousness that is dead back to life again. We should have many rebirths.
Hopefully many of us have experienced a great rebirth when we first turn from one way of life to another, when we began to give some thought to the new insight in truth. Hopefully along the way many, many times, every time a new concept comes, “Wow! Now I see.” Sometimes we think, “I’m there. I’ll never have a problem again. I have this wonderful insight. Wow!” It’s great for that day. Tomorrow we need a few more wows to make it. That’s what life is, because you never get it once and for all. There’s no way that we can ever be born again once and for all into the new way of life. It’s a constant process of growth, unfoldment all along the way. We see this in the life of Jesus.
I think there are evidences in Jesus’ consciousness that we can see if we look carefully between the lines and reread the gospels. There are times when Jesus had rebirths. There are times when we see him within the stone of limitation. That’s shocking to some. I see him when he gave vent to his anger and his disturbance and his upset when he ... Remember that time when he whipped the money changers from the temple? He lashed them with fury and kicked them all out. It makes a beautiful scenario. CB DeMille does great things with this sort of thing. Of course we justify it. We say, “Well after all he was very God and this is what you call righteous indignation.” Either we’re dealing with life in terms of principle or we’re not. Jesus said, and he left no room for equivocation, “Resist not that which is evil.” Yet here he is resisting it. He had allowed himself for a moment to slip in consciousness. Is that shocking? Some people are terribly shocked if they even think of Jesus as anything but very God.
Here was one who was climbing the hill and stopped for a moment and allowed himself to experience just a little bit of resistance. “Understandable,” we say. “Here, here, marvelous. He ought to have thrown them out,” but yet resist not him that is evil and here he was resisting. The important thing is he was growing along the way too, and he had these overcomings to make. As I say, when he said, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do,” we know that something had to happen between that state of consciousness and the consciousness that wasn’t very forgiving, that would have just thrown them out on their ear. Life happened to him. I often say that if Jesus could not have said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” in that moment on the cross, there would have been no victory. That would’ve been the end. He would’ve died and would have been a long time dead, as they say.
Is that shocking to you? To me it’s important because it deals with the dimension of the divinity of man, not the divinity of Jesus. This is not to pull Jesus down. It’s to lift him up, to elevate him to a higher position than any of us have ever even imagined in our highest flight of fantasy, but to know that what he did and where he was and how he overcame is an evidence of what each of us can do along the way.
Now if the Easter story were simply a play, the author could have hardly chosen the characters more imaginatively because, as we know and I dealt with this on the radio the other day, and if you remember that you’ll bear with me for a moment, that it was Mary Magdalene who was at the tomb when it all happened. It was Mary who had the vision of angels telling her of the meaning of it all. It was to Mary that the resurrected Jesus appeared with the instruction to take the message to the others. This is the Mary Magdalene who tradition suggests was the loose woman that was once taken in adultery and was about to be stoned when Jesus intervened, the same Magdalene who became a committed follower of Jesus, and at one time bathed his feet with oil and one of the disciples became very upset about it. This is the Mary to whom life had happened along the way.
My question, in writing the scenario of a story if it were a play, why wouldn’t you use John, the beloved disciple, to be there in that role on Easter morning? Why not Peter or one of the other disciples? Why Mary, a fallen woman no less? As a matter of fact, when Mary brought the news of this open tomb to Peter and John and the other disciples, they scoffed in disbelief. No, the key to that scenario was Mary. I’m not suggesting it was a play. I’m saying if it had been a play. In other words, the figure was right. Mary had to be there. In the light of the ensuing events, and of the whole Christian movement that began with the resurrection implication, it could be said that the most important single figure in the evolution of the whole of Christianity was Mary Magdalene. Strange how we haven’t come to that conclusion, that whatever, simply because, as often is the case, we’ve thought of the fallen woman.
Like I’ve said at Christmas time, I have a great thing for the lifting up of the immortal Scrooge of the Christmas Carol because we always think of Scrooge as this stingy old codger, “Bah humbug!” That’s to totally, totally degrade the lesson of the story of the Christmas Carol, because what about the Scrooge that awakened and took Tiny Tim to his heart and helped the family and became a whole wonderful person after that? No, we’re too busy thinking of Scrooge as the bah humbug character. We’ve still emphasized Mary Magdalene as the fallen woman. This perhaps is why Mary has never been elevated to her rightful place.
This should give hope, I think, to every person who has worked his way back from fallen times, whatever they be, or who is struggling to work his way back, to overcome his guilt-ridden experience of life. There’s a little of all of us in that. On the cross Jesus gave assurance of eternal grace to the penitent thief whom he said would be with him today in paradise, using a symbology that most of us are familiar with. In the story of the prodigal son, the young wastrel, after he’d come to himself, was showered with blessings, given everything that the father could give him. The older brother, who hadn’t gone out, was standing back there saying, “Hey wait a minute here. I stayed home. I didn’t do anything. How come I don’t get all of this?” It almost seems that the younger one was preferred. The preference was in the level of consciousness you see, because the older brother was a prodigal at heart but he just didn’t have the nerve to do it, evidenced by the fact that he was jealous afterwards, you see.
What it evidences is that the person who has fallen, the person who has made the mistake, the person who has had the difficulties in life, and thus who has let life happen to him and has come to himself, has taken maybe a circuitous route of unfoldment, but the unfoldment is real and wonderful. Sometimes we hear the statement, “The chain is no stronger than its weakest link,” but a broken link in the chain that has been welded together may well become the strongest link of all. Perhaps on that Easter Sunday morning Mary Magdalene was the strongest of them all. Doesn’t that excite you a little bit? It certainly does me.
I think the important thing is that through this each of us is on the same quest, the same pathway. It’s a long pathway. It’s a hard road. There are many overcomings to make, but the Christian story in all of its ramifications and certainly that which is given such wide play on Easter day, the story of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, that what it’s all about is the divine potential of man, and that that which this one, this tremendous, highly evolved soul has accomplished, he has done it step by step, overcoming by overcoming along the way. It’s the same road that we go. He says, “Follow me. I’ve shown you the way. This is the way. Do as I do. Make the overcoming as I’ve made the overcoming. Know your oneness with the divine process as I have known it in myself, and then you can do what I do.” Then suddenly Easter day becomes a marvelous time. Then we understand something of this victorious aspect of it because we see that it is truly your story and my story.
It’s talking about us, no matter what the experience, no matter what the stones of limitation. Oh how we can emphasize those, “But I’ve got this problem. I’ve got this boss. I’ve got this wife who doesn’t love me or this parent who misuses me, this injustice in life.” We can all point out the stones, but the great truth is toward the dawn of the week, looking beyond the dark hour to the sunrise ... In the Upanishads there’s a statement, “Lead me to the other side of darkness.” That’s the great key. As Louise Alga said about the day to day, “It’s dark and clouds are hovering overhead.” They were when we came in. Who knows? The sun may be shining when we get out of here, but the point is beyond the clouds there is light.
Lead me to the other side of darkness. That’s the concept of rolling away the stone, the stones of limitation, the feeling of despair and discouragement, the sense of, “Oh, life is terrible and unjust.” Beyond that, toward the dawn, there is a new sunrise, a new awakening, a new understanding, a new awareness of the divine potential within you, so that we can say, if we will, if we want to, if we can overcome the sense of, “Oh, who wants to get that traditional?” We can say not only Christ has rhythm, as the little boy said ... Beautiful because there is a rhythmic process involved.
We can say Christ has risen from the dead. Fine, but we can take it the step further. Christ in me is arising now, the Christ of my own divine depth, my own divine potential, to which he testified. The demonstration pointed to this. Christ is risen in me. Hallelujah. This is a new beginning, from death to life. This is my marvelous new discovery. This is the day I’m born again. If you want to say I’m a born again Christian, all right. You’re a born again truth student or a born again Jew or a born again anything. I don’t care, but be sure you emphasize this born again means that you’re born into a new awareness of life. Life has happened to you. It’s not only a great privilege but it’s an added responsibility because now you’re on another plateau. Now you have to fulfill the law in even greater ways.
There will be other deaths and other births, but for today it’s marvelous to know Christ is risen in me this day, a new light, new emphasis on the truth about myself, new born again experience, if you will. Praise God we’re on the way. We see the light up there. Like someone says, “I see the light at the end of the tunnel.” We see at the top of the hill that marvelous, beautiful demonstration that it is possible, and therefore we keep on and keep on and keep on and nothing shall be impossible to us because of the resurrection principle. Let’s be still for this. In just a moment let’s be still, for there is something that is beyond words, beyond understanding, beyond intellectual acceptance. It’s a level of life that can only be accepted with feeling, with the emotions, with love, with a sense of reverence for the transcendent.
Seeing all this as a great and wonderful and glorious possibility, and seeing it all not just as something that happened 2000 years ago, of which today is just a memorial day, but see it all as a memorable demonstration of a fundamental spiritual principle that works in us and through us all. We see right now this morning, this moment, this instant, the potential to let it all happen. Life is happening to you, the fullness of life. As Paul said, “Awake thou that sleepest, that Christ may shine upon you,” the Christ of your own divine potential. Life has happened. Praise God. Hallelujah.