EBUP43: Palms and Passover

Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #43

Eric Butterworth Sunday Services — Palms and Passover Here is audio and transcript of a Palm Sunday talk by Eric Butterworth about what might have come to the mind of Jesus after his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. He writes,

"So I would like you to come with me to a garden outside the city gates of Jerusalem, up the slope of Mt. Olivet in the little village of Bethany where Jesus had finished supper with his friends, Mary and Martha and Lazarus, in their little clay dwelling and had gone out for a quiet time under the silence of the twinkling stars of the night. Here we see Jesus reflecting over the turmoil and confusion of this very exciting day which had been called the triumphant entry into Jerusalem."

From there, we are guided to insights Jesus might have had about accepting one’s divinity, the significance of the upcoming passover meal, the final crossing out of human consciousness, the meaning of accepting the mantle of messiaship and what it truly means to love both God and neighbor.

If you want a powerful perspective on how to approach this coming week, then this is for you.

Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast

A new meditation and lesson by Olga and Eric with the transcription of Eric's talk is emailed to subscribers (for free) each Friday morning. They make for a nice way to start your weekend. Click here and choose “Eric and Olga Butterworth: Meditation and Lesson each Friday” if you wish to receive one of these each week.

Arrow left   Click here for a list of all our Eric Butterworth Sunday Service recordings.

We are in the process of having these talks available on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcast platforms. Click here for a full list of published episodes. There may be a delay in getting this particular episode out on iTunes and Stitcher, but you may try by clicking here for iTunes and clicking here for Stitcher.

Download

Download the PDF   Download MP3 of Eric Butterworth Sunday Services — Palms and Passover - OLGA

Download the PDF   Download MP3 of Eric Butterworth Sunday Services — Palms and Passover - ERIC

Listen

We provide two different ways to listen to the audio because different Internet browsers have different requirements for playing audio. One of them should work for you. If neither one works, download the MP3 to your computer and use the audio player on your computer.

OLGA:    

ERIC:    

Read

Our meeting today is dedicated to unity, small letter u. In the recognition that there is a tremendous diversity of background among all of us here today. Many who have their roots in various branches and divisions in Christianity, denominations, and Catholicism. Many have their roots in Judaism and its many branches. Still others have their roots in Hindu and Buddhist origin, others in Islam.

This great diversity is the basis in which we come together because we’re thinking today about Palm Sunday, which is a very special time to the Christian, recognizing also that this coming Tuesday begins Passover to the Jew and perhaps beginning with the Seder, which many will be taking tomorrow. Millions of devotees will be doing their special thing during this week.

So I would like you to come with me to a garden outside the city gates of Jerusalem, up the slope of Mt. Olivet in the little village of Bethany where Jesus had finished supper with his friends, Mary and Martha and Lazarus, in their little clay dwelling and had gone out for a quiet time under the silence of the twinkling stars of the night. Here we see Jesus reflecting over the turmoil and confusion of this very exciting day which had been called the triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

It was an experience that obviously could have swayed the ego of any normal person as the frenzied throng tore palm branches from the trees, lining the way and placed them in the road. Some persons even tore their garments from their bodies and scattered them in the path. A very unusual experience. Of course, it is obvious that Jesus was no normal person. With a consciousness that could deal with both past and future in one clear perception.

He well knew that many of the people in the frenzied throng that morning had been on the mount when he had fed the multitudes with the boy’s lunch. Some of them probably had been present when he had helped or healed others, possibly some of them had been the recipient of the healings themselves. But he was sobered by the clairvoyant perception that before the week was over, many of this same throng would be crying, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

You see, Jesus was marching to the beat of different drummer. We cannot actually understand Jesus in this story in the Gospels for thinking in terms of one specific religious orientation. We see a broad perspective, a great unity of consciousness. Jesus was tuned in to a cosmic wavelength. So he was in the process of living out into expression a cosmic drama in which the throngs of people and figures like Peter and Judas and Pilot and Caiaphas were all playing roles, which we can only understand in a personally symbolic sense.

So as he sat quietly in the garden, perhaps he was reminiscing a little bit, looking back to that time when as a young lad sitting out on the hillsides of Galilee watching the clouds drifting by, thinking, analyzing, feeling as did the Psalmist before him, “What is man that thou art mindful of him? And Son of man that thou visitest unto him?” And there dawned into his consciousness what I call the splitting of the atom, the great idea of the divinity of man, the awakening to the realization each person contained within him the individualized expression and experience of the divine.

He was probably thinking also of the time when in his home village of Nazareth he suddenly found himself announcing in the Temple that he would be the one to accept the mantle of Messiahship, to demonstrate the potential sonship of all persons. Knowing that in Jewish tradition, in his own background, it was this recognition of the coming of the Messiah and the many prophetic utterances that led to this coming of the Messiah. He knew that the Messiah was not a person that would come, but a state of consciousness that would be awakened within all persons, each one individually.

So he was saying, “I will accept the mantle of Messiahship, I will be the one to demonstrate the potential sonship of all persons.” He knew that few people understood his meaning, his life purpose. Even his closest disciples didn’t really understand, not at that moment. They all seemed to think that he’d come to set up an earthly kingdom to overthrow the Roman oppression. They read all the prophetic utterances of the coming Messiah in this context.

Most persons thought that he came to tell of his own divinity, separating himself from the race and making him the great exception. They couldn’t seem to understand that his desire was to help people to know their own divinity, thus to show himself as the great example of what every person could do and be. And he had said, “Remember all these things that I do, you can do too if you have faith.” If you understand this divine presence within yourself. That our goal is to discover the power within each person, this dynamic power of the Christ self.

The people thought that this coming into Jerusalem on this first Palm Sunday was his first move toward a militant takeover. Actually, as we see it today, it was more like a caricature of a triumphant entry. But according to custom, when a conqueror came into his own city, he was preceded by slaves and the spoils of his victory, followed by his army. But Jesus had no slaves, no spoils, no army. The conquering king rode in on a horse drawn chariot. Jesus rode on a donkey, a symbol of peace and humility, not war and aggressiveness.

But what the people, and even Jesus’ closest disciples, didn’t seem to know is that Jesus was on the last lap of a lifetime of personal overcoming. His life had been devoted to proving the principle of the divinity of man. He knew that the truth could not be inexorably complete till he had go through, yes, even grow through, the experience on the cross.

So as he sat quietly in the garden on that night on the first Palm Sunday, he knew it was coming. He knew of the vacillation of his band of disciples, as he had said to Peter, “Before the cock crows three times, you will deny me.” He knew of the trial and the crucifixion. But he knew with a conviction that only a purified consciousness could know that it was only the crossing out of the last vestiges of human consciousness so that the true God man could come forth.

So in this quiet moment in the garden on the hillside in Bethany, it was like the final stages of readying the space rocket on the pad before the blast off. In the assurance that the scientific computations were valid and the sophisticated telemetry would be adequate to bring the craft back again to a soft landing on earth. So that Jesus was there on that night, and not running off to a safe obscurity to another land when he full well knew what lay before him, is an evidence of a strong commitment. A commitment such as many of us aspire to, but perhaps have never yet known ourselves.

It was the courage to face the crisis of the cross without the support of even one friend. So he turned what might have been a failure of nerve, into what David Riseman once called the nerve of failure. The courage to lay it all on the line, to be what he had to be and do what he had to do, against the grain of the standards of society. The entry into Jerusalem on that Palm Sunday was the supreme test of letting go because he was not seeking to protect a stand up living, but to perfect a standard for living.

This may be hard for us to understand in times that we might more often hear the cry, “What’s in it for me? Why should I stick my neck out?” Yet here is one who was willing to lose his life that he could save it, in terms of his own awakening to the fullness of the Christ. Also, it was a well lighted pathway through which we can find freedom and overcoming and a joyous standard for living.

He was going on a premise that he proved to be a spiritual principle, that the kingdom of God is within every person. That no matter what the trial, there is a triumph within it. No matter what the cross, there is a resurrection within it. This is the concept that Paul built a case on when he says, “You never face a trial beyond what you can bear, God will not allow you to be tested above your powers. But when the test comes, he will at the same time provide a way out by enabling you to sustain it.” In other words, there’s a cosmic counterpart for every experience in our lives. There’s an answer to every human problem. There’s a fulfillment to every activity in human expression.

And the divine law is so complete and so full and so much a part of our lives and so much a part of it, that we can never experience any kind of difficulty beyond our ability to rise above it, to be victorious over it. And even to look back and see how it has been the best thing for us in our highest ongoing, that all things, they work together for good. It’s a tremendous realization.

The backdrop against which this whole Palm Sunday experience is set, and by coincidence, the Jews of the world will celebrate Passover on Tuesday. Perhaps the family Seder tomorrow. Later in the week, Christians will celebrate Maundy Thursday. It’s not often noted that these two celebrations have come forth from the same source. The Jewish Passover celebrates the great event in the life of Judaism, Moses leading the Israelites out of their bondage in Egypt. When Pharaoh refused to free the Jews from slavery, the angel of death is said to have come and taken the firstborn of every family. But Moses had been guided to have the Jews kill a lamb and with its blood to mark the door posts of their homes. So the angel of death is said to have passed over them and spared their young.

It is possible that the word Passover had its roots in this event. But it is also related to the Paschal lamb that was slaughtered. There’s some feeling that it was part of a festival of spring or [inaudible 00:10:41] that goes back much farther in antiquity, long before Abraham came out of Ur of the Chaldees to form the new band of Israelites.

The ritual of eating unleavened bread also has a mixed origin. Sentimental tradition says that the Israelites left Egypt so suddenly that they had no time to leaven their dough, carrying it with them. Thus it was the bread of haste. But however it came to be, the unleavened bread has become an important ritual associated with Passover.

Now along with Passover and a specific application of it came the Seder, the home observance of this lovely ritual which, as we say, many will experience tomorrow. There was and is a festive atmosphere eating the Passover meal where the master of the household breaks the bread and blesses it and the wine with the formula which the Talmud preserves for us, “Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, who giveth us the fruit of the vine.”

And before we look at the Christian communion, or the mass, or the Eucharist, of the Lord’s Supper, let us recall that Jesus and disciples were all Jews, reared in the synagogue, trained in the rituals of Judaism. Christians tend to forget this, some Christians have never ever been told that this true. Christian ministers tend to forget it, conveniently. But we can’t really understand the roots of Christianity or the Christian teaching lest we see this relatedness.

Several years ago, when my book Discover the Power Within You first came out, I had a call from a Rabbi in Brooklyn, who is a very distinguished Rabbi, very well known. He said he just read a copy of my book, Discover the Power. He said he was excited and thrilled by it. He said, “Would you say that this is the Christian meaning of the relationship of Christianity to Judaism?” I said, “Quite frankly, I can’t say that this is the typical Christian view, but it’s my view.” He said, “Well if this were the view of Christianity, there would be no reason for a distinction between Christianity and Judaism.”

We need to remember that Jesus made it quite clear, he did not come to set up a new religion. Again, this is conveniently overlooked. He said, “I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.” And the law that he’s talking about was the Torah, the ancient Jewish scripture. He had no idea of breaking it apart, negating it, relegate it to the ash heap. This was the ancient Jewish scripture. Jesus simply had the idea of giving relevance to the traditions of his religion, putting it all in the present tense.

One of the features of Christianity, which sometimes is greatly understood, it needs to have a great deal of light, has a tendency of looking back always to Abraham and Isaac and Joseph and Moses, the Jews did this, the Christians do this. Jesus said, “You have heard it said of old, but I say unto you, now is the time,” now is the relevant place in life. All the religious experiences of the past, the dynamic inspiration and guidance of Moses, the spiritual oneness with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets, all this is dealing with the immanency, the oneness in time, the nowness of the spiritual process.

Judaism had become lost, it related into the past. The Christians, in the development of Christianity, fell into the same trap. Looking back to the time when Jesus walked the earth, or they usually say when God walked the earth. So it’s always, back there was the time. It’s always looking backward, trying somehow to get back into that consciousness. Jesus said now is the time.

So the great important essence of Jesus’ teaching is putting it all in the present tense, who really follow what he had in mind, we have to put it in the present tense today. This is all that we try to do in Unity. We don’t negate the teachings of Christianity or the teachings of Judaism. We try to see it as now is the time, this moment, the kingdom of God is within, it’s at hand, it’s now. Now you can become a child of God, now you can realize the truth. Put it into practice. Make it a vital part of your life. This becomes practical Christianity.

So it’s significant to note that the Last Supper of Jesus was actually a Passover Seder. Many Christians would find this objectionable, but I say note Matthew 26:17. “Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover?” This was a matter of fact statement. This was a Jewish adherent talking to his fellow Jews, saying, “It’s Passover time, where are we going to eat the Passover?” Like a group of Christian travelers in a foreign land saying, “It’s Christmas time, how are we going to keep Christmas? Should we put up a Christmas tree? Should we exchange gifts? Should we have a Christmas service?” This is the context in which the statement was made.

So in that Last Supper, immortalized by Da Vinci, the disciples sitting around the table with Jesus, we see Jesus doing what every master of a family in Jerusalem was doing at that time, having the Passover with his family, in this case, the family of his disciples. It’s important to be clear on this, Jesus did not have the Passover with his disciples and then have the Lord’s Supper. They were one in the same.

A careful examination of the scripture indicates that Jesus had no intention of creating some institution for perpetual observance. He wouldn’t setting up some new ritual. Remember, Jesus was a teacher. So as they sat quietly having their family Seder, Jesus took advantage of the occasion to say, “As long as you, as Jews, will continue to keep the Passover, do it in remembrance of the new consciousness that I have shared with you. Do it in remembrance of me.” And the me does not mean the man, Jesus, but rather it means the Jesus factor in ourselves. That which lifts us into deeper discoveries of our own divinity.

He was saying in effect, “Well the Passover celebration deliverance of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, you’re living today. Celebrate this new experience in remembrance of your own release from human consciousness, and your freedom to evolve into the divine creature that you are.” Get it all into the present tense. Be here now.

No where did Jesus tell the disciples to stop observing the Passover. It’s important again to keep reminding ourselves that Jesus and his disciples were Jews and that in the beginning Christianity was a movement within Judaism. In the early Christians, as Paul says quite frankly, the early Christians went regularly into the Temple to pray. It was still very much a part of their Jewish tradition. Jesus said, “Do it in remembrance of me.” The me, meaning the Jesus factor of our own consciousness.

There is no evidence in the scripture at any part where Jesus made any basic change in the manner of eating the Passover. Christians put a lot of stress on the certain factors of the Passover, certain elements that are used within it. Paul mentions no change whatever, the bread and the wine employed symbolically in the Christian ritual were the customary food for the Passover. The master of the feast would break the bread and bless it, pass around a communion chalice of wine. Not one thing was added for the Last Supper.

Actually, Paul was critical of the move to assemble as Christians and have the Last Supper in congregations, as a ritual in a church. This is startling. Those who insist that scriptural authority is behind the establishment of a special holy communion conveniently overlook this one statement of Paul’s. He says, “When you come together into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. Have you no houses to eat and drink in?” In other words, he’s reminding them that they should have their Seder at home with their families. Again, this is a shock to Christian tradition.

Many of you have been conditioned to accept the vicarious atonement as the basis of the Christian Eucharist. This is what I call the hideous dogma of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb, whose blood was shed for all of us to take away the sins of the world. Even this was built on the old Jewish concept of atonement which sin could only be remitted by sacrifice. In the early days it was a blood sacrifice and many of you remember that in the Temple, up to the time of Jesus, it was a constant smell and the screaming of the slaughtering of animals. Blood flowing everywhere. The Temple was a butcher shop, startlingly enough.

And many of the prophets of old decried this and called for a new concept, new consciousness, which eventually came during the time of Jesus. But the important thing is, this was a pagan superstition that antedates Judaism. Originally it was a sacrifice of human flesh. It’s hard for us to realize that when Abraham came out of Ur of the Chaldees to lead the people which became the Israelites into a new land, a new consciousness, they were coming out of another civilization, another society. And far, far back into that society, in the land of Palestine, where Pagan people who actually had human sacrifices to appease the gods. And much of this carried over into the traditions of Judaism and Christianity.

We see just a brief shadow of this pagan tradition when Abram is led upon the mountain and he feels the guidance to sacrifice his son on the altar. We see this, in the context, we usually put aside and think of it purely symbolically, but it evidences the fact that not too far back in tradition, where there was this practice, actually a very much a part of life. Abraham did not do this, but the fact that he felt the leading to do it, and the willingness to do it indicated that it must have been not too far back when this tradition was very much a part of the practice.

Jesus taught that you can’t offend God. God knows nothing of sin. Sin is a perversion in our own consciousness, a frustration of our divine potential. Our feeling of separation, our feeling of bondage to the Egypt of since. You don’t offend the principle of mathematics when you make a mistake in addition. You make the mistake and you suffer to the degree that your mistake confuses your experience. But the principle is not offended in any way. All you need to do is stop making the mistake and the problem is solved.

When you realize the mistake and pass over it, you experience immediate at-one-ment. So the only absolution for sin is realization of at-one-ment. This is where this concept, this fundamental principle has been overlooked. We’ve got into the idea that you must atone for your sins by some sort of absolution, some sort of sacrifice, however it might be. This is at the heart and root of much the Christian Eucharist. This has been the driving urge of people through all time, to find oneness with God. As Emerson says, “Why can we not have a first hand and immediate experience of God?” Why can’t we find God in ourselves?

The word religion comes from the root that means to bind together. This is what Judaism is about. It’s what Christianity is about. How easily we forget and become trapped in ritual for its own sake. And so very much self-justifying theology. Note how the Passover Seder with Jesus, later called the Lord’s Supper, has become ritualized. Christians are conditioned to the, what I call the communion syndrome, which calls for taking communion. Which means engaging in an exercise that puts emphasis on the celebration of the ritual rather than the celebration of the divinity within the person.

The word communion is an interesting word, it has been almost sole property of the church relating as it does to the sacrament of holy communion. Unfortunately, sacramental communion has often been a formality that enables the individual to go through the motions without really getting involved.

It is told of Voltaire that he was sitting in a sidewalk café in Paris with a friend when a religious procession came along carrying a crucifix. Voltaire, who was generally regarded as a complete atheist, lifted his hand in respect. The friend asked him, surprised, “What? Are you reconciled with God?” With fine irony, Voltaire replied, “We salute, but we do not speak.”

With many persons, they participate in holy communion, but there’s no real spiritual communication. Actually, true communion with God is not an act, but a state of consciousness. Just because a person goes to holy communion, takes the wafer and sips the wine, does not mean that he’s in touch with infinite resources. And because he does not, in no way means that he is not. Actually, all prayer is communion. All prayer is communion. When we pray, we enter into the inner chamber and close the door and feel a sense of oneness. Non-ritualistically, taken into our consciousness the bread and the wine of the substance and life and vitality of Spirit, without the symbology, without the ritual, when man puts away childish things. The training wheels, as I so often say, the various rituals that are a part of our growth to help us to know a realization of oneness and can feel that oneness directly, then we begin to understand the fullness of truth.

There are zealots within every religion who insist that salvation can only come through one spiritual way. Perhaps the Jewish traditionalists has one concept of how you can only find your oneness with the God, the ultimate of truth and fulfillment in eternal life. The Christian fundamentalist has another one. Various other Christian traditions have differing concepts. Various other religions of the world have different ways in which you find oneness with the divine. Princes of the spiritual fundamentalists, which we hear so much of these days, insist that unless you confess the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, you cannot reach heaven or have a spiritual sense of fulfillment.

I personally believe that anyone can begin where he is and climb the ladder to the skies through the rungs provided by his own religious tradition, whatever it may be. I simply feel that there is a need for self-realization. The person must know himself, not just know God in an intellectual sense, but know himself, know his true oneness, his inner roots.

But I feel that there is an insight through this consciousness into transcendent truth that can help the Jew find his own inner Messiah, help the Christian find his own Christ indwelling. The goal of all of us is oneness, a sense of communion, commonality, which gives rise to community.

Fundamentally, Jesus’ teaching was love God and love your neighbor. He called this the first and great commandment, love God and love your neighbor. This is the verdict on the horizontal, which is so important in consciousness, the vertical plain being the oneness with the divine process, the infinite flow which is ever within us. We’re always in that flow, in levels of consciousness. The horizontal meaning the experience, the relatedness, the holding hands as we do here when we close on Sunday. The feeling of the horizontal experience on a vertical plain.

And when the horizontal is lifted up to the level of the vertical, it becomes the cross. And as Jesus said, “He who would came after me, let him take up his cross and follow me.” Take up the level at which the horizontal experience is related on the vertical communion of oneness with God. If we keep the Passover or take communion without experiencing this communion with God and arms around one another fellowship, without letting go of things that bind us in an Egypt enslavement, without opening the channel for the divine flow with him, we’re engaging in ritual for its own sake.

Jesus once made a statement, it is so shocking, so bold, so challenging. It’s almost the kind of thing that I’m accused of saying all the time. I suppose in a way I would like to believe that I had said this first. He said, “If a man say he loved God and hates his neighbor, he’s a liar.” As I said, I wish I had said that. But Jesus said it. A man says he loves God and hates his neighbor, he’s a liar. That puts it pretty bluntly.

If he has this sense of taking communion and does it ritualistically, had an experience outside of the fundamental process of life and goes back to a relationship with people which is filled with hatred and bitterness and prejudice, then the whole thing is negated. He doesn’t love God, but he’s a liar.

Now the true communion or Passover is an experience in sharing, breaking down walls of attitude and action that stand between ourselves and God, and between ourselves and people. So the bread we break in the communion is the body of our collective consciousness of truth and our fellowship on the way. And the wine is our vitality and enthusiasm for the quest. These are purely symbols. We take the substances, the physical acts, and go through the motions. It means nothing to us unless we get that sense of breaking down the separation points, the resistances, the blocks in our consciousness in ourselves with God and our relatedness with people.

I’m going to ask you to join with me for a moment of silence. To get still. You can do this at any level that you want, you can use your imagination. You can think of yourself in church, high church, low church, whatever. Having a sense of communion, an experience of communion where you can think of taking the wafer and the wine, or think of it symbolically. As a Jew, you can think of this as Passover Seder where the father of the house is breaking the bread and passing it around with the chalice of wine, saying, “Blessed be thou, O Lord, who giveth us the fruit of the vine.”

But let’s get this sense that back of this all, whatever may be the outward evidence of the ritual, is a personally symbolic meaning. So let’s feel the bread, the substance of God, the fellowship in the body of our collective consciousness, fellowship on the way. As Jesus says, figuratively, symbolically, “Take, eat. This is my body. Drink, this is my blood.” Get the feeling that something very beautiful, very special is flowing within us as we partake of these symbolic substances.

And let the father of the house, the father within us, express the traditional words, “Blessed be thou, O Lord, and giveth us the fruit of the vine.” Now get the sense of reaching out, perhaps if you will, reach out now and take hold of the person next to you. There’s something very special about this act because it is the horizontal without which the spiritual experience is not quite fulfilled. And get the sense of the divine flow within you, the vertical sense of our oneness with God. Love God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength. And love they neighbor as thyself. The horizontal outreach.

In this consciousness, the Christ, the Messiah, the divine flow is present right here and now. Something very special, something very powerful, we’re a part with it. Our collective consciousness of truth and our fellowship on the way, and the vitality and enthusiasm for the quest. Just dwell silently sight of this for a moment. Feel his flow from within, radiating outward, going around this group in a circle, in a continuity of divine love.

It is only in this sense we can know peace in the world and be peacemakers. When we carry this consciousness forth from here, out into our relationships, with the organizations, with the nations, and the United Nations. The relatedness and the inner relatedness with people, organizations, movements, societies, political ideologies. Divine flow from within to horizontal outreach.

And while we still hold hands and feel this sense of oneness, we turn our inner imaging to that garden at Bethany on that first Palm Sunday. Sit with Jesus for a while. Absorb something of his strong commitment, his divine indifference to what has been lost, his courage to face all that is before, his willingness to simply glory in the beauty of that moment. And again symbolically, take, eat, this is my body. Drink, this is my blood. Blessed be thou, O Lord, who giveth us the fruit of the vine.

Then follow him through the Holy Week to come. Through the Passover feast with his disciples, his agonizing moment in Gethsemane when there’s a brief visage of regret, followed by a strong commitment of, “Not my will, but thine.” Then go with him courageously up the hill of Golgotha, where they nailed the human self and all its limitations on the cross of denial. That with him, you can rise triumphant from the tomb of despair to a life of victory.

And perhaps you can know what Ella Wheeler Wilcox must have known when she wrote, “He whose heart is full of tenderness and truth, who loves mankind more than he loves himself And cannot find room in his heart for hate, may be another Christ. We all may be the saviors of the world, if we believe in the divinity which dwells in us, and worship it, and nail our grosser selves, our tempers, greeds, and our unworthy aims, upon the cross. Who giveth love to all pays kindness for unkindness, smiles for frowns, And lends new courage to each fainting heart, and strengthens hope and scatters joy abroad, he too is a redeemer, son of God.”

Now let go of the hand next to you, bring your hands together in your lap. As you hold your hands together, this is kind of a symbolic expression that has traditionally symbolized worship. Get the feeling that this is a self-evident awareness of the divine flow in you and the hands together symbolize the touching, which in this sense, metaphysically the touching with all persons, so that now, though you’re not holding hands with the person next to you, you feel a sense of oneness with all persons.

May we carry with us today, through this Holy Week and in the weeks to come, something very special, a powerful awareness of truth that comes through a communion, communion with God and a communion with people. All people everywhere. May the commitment be very strong within us to rise above simply settling for a ritual, for going through the motions, to an experience of wholeness. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. And so be it. Amen.