EBUP44: The Easter Perspective

Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #44

Eric Butterworth Sunday Services — The Easter Perspective Hi Friends -

Forty years ago, in 1979, Eric Butterworth gave this Easter Sunday talk at Unity of New York. It just may be his best talk on what Easter is all about. As you will see, for Eric Butterworth Easter is not about something that happened 2,000 years ago. Rather it’s about something that is happening now. The talk certainly has many intimations of Discover the Power Within You and, like this famous book, it’s not about Jesus so much as is it about you and me.

At one point he references a Broadway play entitled Six Characters in Search of an Author. The reference relates to Eric’s teaching about Meister Eckhart’s statement that God has but one requirement of each of us: to let God be God in you and that the Eternal is forever begetting the only begotten. Eric writes,

I have a feeling that there is something in the Easter story that says to each of us, “I want to live in you.” I don’t want you to just talk about it. I don’t want you to sit back and sing songs about it, and listen to the story and go on your way and say, “Ho hum, another Easter. Let’s go out and see the people on 5th Avenue.” We want to live in you. I want to raise you from death to life. I want to help you to find the way from defeat to victory. I want to be a process in you from sickness to health, from failure to victory, to success. I want to live in you.

Toward the conclusion of the talk, he says,

Let’s not complicate the Easter thing by thinking that Jesus showed us all how to resurrect from the dead, because that’s irrelevant... Fundamentally, Jesus demonstrated for you and for me and for all persons who have eyes to see and ears to hear, that if we lift our eyes and look out the right window, we can see allness in illness, we can see all sufficiency in insufficiency, we can see full potentialities even in limitations, and we find the key to overcoming and the key to victorious, transcendent life. This is what it’s all about.

This is a reminder that what matters in metaphysical Christianity is not a confession of faith but rather a transformation of mind. I hope this Easter Sunday brings forth in each of us a resurrection.

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Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019

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Well this is Easter 1979. About 1940 years ago, more or less, something happened in that part of the Middle East that is still very much in turmoil. I suppose we could say it was a kind of an explosion that set off a chain reaction that is still being felt throughout the world, and which has become kind of a prophetic insight, as Tennyson says, “The one far off divine event to which the whole creation moves.”

So we gather together here, as many folks are gathering in places of worship throughout the world, to relive the experience, to think about it, to find some personal application in our own lives as we identify with it. I suppose as always we ask the question, well what happened, and what significance does it have to our lives today? It seems that an itinerant preacher had come to the big city to spread the gospel. That’s putting it rather basically, but I think there’s no point in using all sorts of glamour words. This, in a sense, is what happened.

He was a threat to the established church at that day, because they thought that he was coming to supplant their religion, which is not at all what he was about. He was a threat to the Roman rule, because they thought that he was coming to set up a new kingdom, which was not what he was all about. There was a great deal of resistance to his being there, a great deal of fear, and a great deal of confusion in the minds of people.

Ultimately he was arrested on trumped up charges, and after a mock trial he was taken to a high hill, and along with two common thieves, he was brutally crucified. Of course, it was supposed by everyone that this would be the end of the man and his influence. Actually, as the ensuing years of history have indicated, it was only the beginning. For after three days they found the stone of his tomb rolled away, and many ensuing appearances to the disciples and to others, seemed to confirm that he had in a very real sense risen from the dead.

Today throughout the world there is a great singing and rejoicing, he is risen, he is risen, tell it out with joyful voice. He has burst his three days prison. Let the whole wide earth rejoice. The Easter sermon usually retells the story, sometimes elaborates a little. Sometimes there’s a re-staging of the pageant, and in our days, when through television we have mass means of communicating such pageants, sometimes the pageants are very beautiful and colorful.

I want to confess something. Sometimes the little imp of iconoclasm within me whispers, “What does all this have to do with the price of oil in Manhattan? What does it all have to do with the high cost of living in modern times? What does it all have to do with one’s personal challenges today? Of which many of us have innumerable.” If this Easter tradition has any meaning at all for our life today, then I say let’s hear it loud and clear and in very simple terms. If it has no relevancy for our time, then against the grain of all the tradition, and against the possibility that I would probably be considered sacrilegious for even saying such a thing, I think we should just forget the whole thing.

Because we have all too many meaningless traditions in our world today. Of course, I’m convinced that it is very relevant, but I believe that somehow we must cut through a lot of the, if I can use a favorite word of mine, a lot of the gobbledygook, and somehow let this transcendent process come alive in us. Then we’re going to experience something that is very beautiful, very wonderful, and very lasting.

Some of you may recall a Broadway production a few years ago, very interesting piece of drama that was very modernistic. It was entitled Six Characters in Search of an Author. The whole thing opened on a bare stage. No scenery. No people. Then some characters wandered on the stage, and pretty soon a stage manager wandered on the stage, and the characters all wandered up to the stage manager and they proclaimed to him, “We want to live in you.” In other words, we want to play, we want a drama, let’s do something. Eventually, in a very skillful way, things began to happen and scene began to take place, and eventually a drama continued and it was very interesting.

I have a feeling that there is something in the Easter story that says to each of us, “I want to live in you.” I don’t want you to just talk about it. I don’t want you to sit back and sing songs about it, and listen to the story and go on your way and say, “Ho hum, another Easter. Let’s go out and see the people on 5th Avenue.” We want to live in you. I want to raise you from death to life. I want to help you to find the way from defeat to victory. I want to be a process in you from sickness to health, from failure to victory, to success. I want to live in you.

Now because of the conditioning of our culture, that still bears the imprint of 19th century mechanistic physics, most of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, find that the little imp within us begins to ask how questions. Well now wait a minute, how could a man rise from the dead? After all, when you’re dead, you’re a long time dead. We might as well face it, there are some questions that cannot lead to any useful conclusions. For instance, a physicist might, or I should say a physicist would never ask what color is an electron? I might ask it. You might ask it, but a physicist would never ask this because color is completely unrelated to the character of an electron. There’s no known way to measure its vibrations in terms of color. Even if there were, our eyes would probably not be equipped to see it on that dimension anyway.

There are a lot of questions that really don’t have an answer, in terms of the how and the why and the wherefore. The intellect of course tells us that there’s no way that a man who had been crucified and had been dead for three days could come back again. You see, even though that seems total common sense to conclude it with that argument, it is also common sense that this lectern is substantial, totally solid, and I am leaning on it. If it weren’t here to hold me up, I might fall on my face. I am leaning on it because it has completely convinced me of its stability.

Solid stuff, and yet the physicist tells me that this is really only a macroscopic illusion. It is primarily empty space, that actually you should be able to see through it to the extent that you can’t see anything, because it’s mostly empty space. Even the minuscule particles that form whatever solid mass there is here, are simply energy in motion. It appears solid, and I see it as solid, and I relate to it as solid. I identify it with complete security, but I’m completely deluded.

There’s so many delusions in life like this, so we have to readjust our thinking to the idea that Jesus told us that you just cannot judge by appearances. You can’t know things by what you see, and feel, and sense, and touch. There are dimensions of experience beyond those which are observable to the human sense. One who begins to study the new insight in truth realizes this to a greater and greater degree.

Now it becomes increasingly obvious that this itinerant preacher was no ordinary man. That he actually discovered a new dimension of life, and thus by means of a transcendent perspective, moved through the experience that we call death without being affected by it. Now don’t ask me to tell you how it was done. I don’t think anyone knows the how, and perhaps that is not really relevant. To go into all sorts of scientific or theological explanations of how it was accomplished, is to miss the real story.

It is important that we do not fall into the traditional pitfall by saying that after all Jesus was very God, and God can do anything, so God did anything on that day. Worked miracles. Dazzled all of us with impossibilities, and it is not for ours to wonder why, it is ours simply to accept and know that this is God. In other words, it doesn’t help us, and it misleads us terribly, if we think of this man as God living for a while as a man, playing out a little drama to prove God’s tremendous power in the world, and thus to simply go off and let us know that at one time God visited the earth and walked with man, and now all we can do to find everlasting life, or salvation, or hope, or victory, is to look back 2000 years and believe that it happened, and believe on him, and believe on God.

This, in my view, was not God become man for a while, but it was man, no ordinary man to be sure, a highly evolved man, but man, flesh and blood like you and me. Man whose finger would bleed if you cut it. Man whose hand would hurt if you squeezed it too hard. Man who probably got hungry once in a while. The experience out in the wilderness when he was tempted, so-called by the devil, tempted to turn stones into bread, evidence of the fact that he was hungry, and was tempted to use his power to turn these stones into bread.

He was man. Man on the quest. Man working to understand his own innateness, to demonstrate his divine potential, but man experiencing a loving, transcendent desire to help every person throughout all time to know the truth about himself. Man going on, not only achieving his own victory, but proving for all time certain fundamental transcendent laws applicable to every life in any time. In other words, Jesus was one of us, and he made it.

Now this, you see, has been the theme of Jesus gospel, that man can only be explained in terms of his potential, in terms of the person that he can be. This is a long forgotten message, one that is rarely heard. Easter proclaims, more than anything else, that there is a real life genius within you. It is not simply talking about the fact that a man rose from the dead 2000 years ago, praise God. It’s talking about the fact that there were certain fundamental principles which man understood about life, which tell you some things about yourself. That there is a fundamental, real life genius within you, struggling for releasement.

If you can get into the consciousness, even to a certain limited degree, the consciousness that Jesus experienced, and let Easter live in you, then the stones of all kinds of limitation can be rolled away from your tomb, and many of us experience all sorts of tombs in our lives, and I imagine if we took time to have a little rap session many of us would tell some pretty deep, grievous tombs that we’re involved in right now.

Now, this is not to say that this comes easy. You will have to work, and study, and discipline yourself, and you’re going to have to keep on and keep on keeping on. You see, we misunderstand Jesus if we fail to note the commitment and the discipline of his own quest. He did not come into life at a particular level of consciousness all worked out for him so that he couldn’t make a mistake. This is to totally misunderstand the story. Jesus was man on the quest, man experiencing the overcoming, and having much to overcome.

I say this often, and some people get a little bit disturbed about it, people who are locked into the old traditional view of Jesus. That Jesus taught emphatically non-resistance, pray for those who despitefully use you, love your enemies. Yet there was a time when he got very angry, got upset, and whipped the money changers out of the temple. Now it is sacrilegious to some for me to say that Jesus simply blew his top for a moment. I say that not to put Jesus down, but to lift us up. To know that he was man on the quest. He was still experiencing the need to overcome his own emotions.

Paul says, “He was tempted in all points such as we, yet without sin.” In other words, he was continually working, meeting these experiences, rising above them. We see evidences all along the way. We see him when it says, “He wept.” Over Jerusalem. He was emotional for a moment, and unnerved. He was disturbed by the fact that his disciples let him down and we say, “Oh, well of course, anybody would be.” Anybody would be, and Jesus was anybody. He was one of us, you see, on a high level of consciousness, combing along the last stages, doing his master’s degree in human unfoldment, and achieving his own doctorate, as it were, through the process of the final overcoming.

I believe it is vitally important that we understand this and make this identification, otherwise the whole thing becomes irrelevant. It’s just something that happened, something we bow down and worship and say, “Praise God. God rose from the dead back there. Isn’t it wonderful? Amen.” Oh boy, what a terrible life we live today.

Whatever happened in that tomb, on that first Easter, there’s one thing that we must understand about it. There was spiritual law involved. Not caprice, not whim, not God saying, “Oh well. After all, we can do anything because we’re God, so we’re just going to make this thing work out as we want it.” There was spiritual law involved, and because it was law, it was not some one time miracle of God, but the demonstration of a process that must be repeatable. Because under law, that which has been done can be done.

Jesus proved the divinity of man, the law of transcendence, and this you see is the basis of what we call spiritual healing. It’s the basis of overcoming of any kind. The reason that we can achieve and rise above our limitations today is because there is a fundamental law of transcendence. Jesus understood that, demonstrated it, saw it in its highest extent. This is the key to success in your life and mine.

Now every person may have his own crucifixions and tombs of limitation, and I doubt if there’s a one of us here who does not have some grievous challenge in his life, but there’s always within each of us the power to transcend the limiting experience, to roll away the stone, to go through the hour to the light. Whatever happened to Jesus in that tomb, and let’s not oversimplify, and as I said, I’m not going to even attempt to give any kind of an answer as to what happened. Whatever happened, it was not outside of life, it was not outside of law, and thus what happened was a promise of what can happen in life and under law to all persons.

Now we remember that looking back in the Good Friday experience, and some of you may have been with us on Good Friday when we went through this story. As we see the events, even from a esoteric point of view of what happened leading up to this crucifixion, one cannot help but feel the pathos, and the sorrow, and the pity, and the sympathy, not only for the man going through this, but for the people involved, as Jesus said, “Who knew not what they did.”

Yet we see and experience, and we’ve seen that so long, that it is etched upon our consciousness, on the symbols of the cross, and the crucifixes and so forth. That show this figure nailed to a cross, and this painful symbol of torture. It’s very difficult to transcend that, and to put it all together and see it in the context of this radiant, beautiful light of Easter morn, proving the overcoming process of man.

I say, don’t get hung up on the cross. It doesn’t mean that everybody must go through crosses to fulfill the Easter story. It means that we must realize what the man was about. He was seeking to demonstrate certain laws and in order to do that he found himself in a position where he needed to go through the story, almost to when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Go through the human picture that was being portrayed, and let it happen to him, knowing that somehow there was that within him that could transcend it.

The beautiful part of it is, as George Bernard Shaw, the great wit, characterizes it, and he always seems to find a way to sum it up in the least possible way, with the fewest words. He said, “They crucified him on a stick, but we get the strange feeling that somehow he was able to get ahold of the right end of it.” That’s the key. Not that he was crucified, not that he rose again, but that he was able to get hold of the right end of it. To deal with it in the right level of consciousness. That’s the key for you and me today.

There’s an interesting statement in Job that can open the way to understanding of Easter. For when Job had come to the end of this painful experience, and many of you probably have read Job, or have seen it dramatized. The play JB on Broadway seemed to evidence this to a large extent. He came to that point at the end, when finally all of his painful boils and all of his difficulties were released, and he was out of the darkness into the light. He was looking back in reflection upon the early experiences that he had had, and he said, in a way of great illumination, almost talking to the spirit within himself. He said, “I had heard of thee with the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee. Now I can see.”

He too had struggled through the questions, why? Why should this happen to me, such a pious, God fearing person? I am a good man, why should this happen to me? Why? Of course, he had come up with no answers. As we said, we cannot always know the answer to the why, or the how questions. In the end he realized something that is very beautiful and something that many of us have come to know through our insight in truth. That the need is not to set things right, to straighten people out, to get all the answers as to what is going on.

The need is not to set it right, but to see it rightly. To get on the level of consciousness where we can let it go, stop resisting it, stop saying, “Why did it happen? How did it happen?” Can suddenly see, from a clear perspective, that enable us not only to see through the dark hour, through the experience, but to see on beyond to see the principle of all things work together for good.

That we can come to a point in life, and many of us have come to that point, where we can look back on our experiences which seem to be crucifixions and tombs, such as an unjust firing from a job, some accident that was not of our own doing. Some physical problem that struck us down seemingly out of the blue. Some rejection by a loved one. All of these many things, which are such great heartaches at time. That we can come to the end, finally overcoming them, being blessed by them, and then looking back and say sincerely, “I don’t know how it happened, or why it happened, and yet now I can see that it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me, because of the good that has come out of it.”

That suddenly we weren’t concerned with setting it right, or trying to know all the ins and outs about it, but we were interested in finding the way to see it rightly, and that’s the key. That’s what I call the Easter perspective, where we lift up our eyes and see things from a higher point of view.

This is what Eliphaz said in Job. Eliphaz was one of the comforters, one of those who gave the long speeches that contained so much tremendous insights. He said to Job, “When they cast thee down, thou shalt say there is lifting up.” In other words, it is the lifting up of the eyes that really counts. To see things from the transcendent view.

The human of us almost instinctively wants to grovel in the dirt, wants to roll over in the thing, wants to feel sorry for ourselves and beg for sympathy from others. We get so embroiled in the difficulty. Why did they do it? Why did it happen to me? Yet when we get the insight of truth we know that when they cast thee down they shall say there is lifting up. We can find the higher perspective, not to try to change what people are doing, or straighten people out, or make the world stop beating on us, but where we can see it from a perspective that looks beyond all of this, sees through the dark hour, sees through the dark tunnel to the light at the other end.

You may recall Jesus facing the 5000 hungry people. It says, and this is the key to the whole story, “He lifted up his eyes and gave thanks.” Again, we could get involved in how questions. How could he possibly feed 5000 people? I don’t know how he did. I don’t know if he did, and that’s really not important. The key to the story is he lifted up his eyes. Turned away from the imperfection, from the limitation, and dealt with it from a higher perspective. This is what I call the Easter perspective.

Dealing with it from the realization of allness, of wholeness, which sees beyond the question of what color is an atom? Beyond the question of how you can rise from the tomb. What is death? What is life? Beyond all of this, to a flow of the infinite process which is transcendent to all human consciousness and human experiences. It is on this level that we tune in upon a divine dimension, and suddenly new ideas, new ways flow forth through us.

I’ve said often, and I will say it again, and I would say it before the whole world if I had an opportunity, that the chances are that we will never solve the so called energy crisis, or energy shortage in the world, until we come to a place where, like Jesus says, we lift up our eyes and give thanks. We stop looking to Saudi Arabia or to Iran or halfway around the world, stop looking to pipelines and these great big boats that carry this goey stuff along the world and constantly break up and spill goo all over our beaches.

If we stop looking to human processes and lift up our eyes and give thanks that we’re tuned in upon universal substance, which is limitless, and then and perhaps then only man in the form of someone, like a Thomas Edison, or an Einstein, or some great genius will give birth to an idea which will be a whole new method of realizing energy. Something that we’ve never even dreamed of. Something even transcendent than harnessing the sun. It can come when we lift up our eyes and give thanks.

This lifting of the eyes is a kind of adjusting of the focus of sight. Turning from the appearances. Turning from the intellectual thoughts of, “I know this and this can’t be done, and that can be done. I know all about it because I got it out of my physics textbook.” The best way to really understand that in perspective is to go back, as I’ve done every once in a while because I’ve saved a few books, and read through my high school physics books. I begin to see now that most of what I had in my high school physics books, to all intent and purposes, was a lie, because our whole insight has changed. It was fact for the time, but facts confuse. Only truth is real and valid, and we lift up our eyes and allow more transcendent things to flow through us.

We limit Easter if we think of the resurrection as referring only to death. If we think of, this is the day Jesus rose from the dead. Praise God, hallelujah. I mean, that’s beautiful, and it’s nice, and most of us have been exposed to that through our lives, and we’ve sung songs about it, and so forth. We limit the whole experience if we think of it as just referring to death. It deals with consciousness. Consciousness at that moment that enabled Jesus in some way to rise above the physical experience of death.

It deals with consciousness, it deals with tuning in upon a divine flow, and it could have been many other things. It could have been simply healing, and perhaps was demonstrated in the healing. It could have been another time when Jesus stood before the tomb of Lazarus, his beloved friend, who had been three days in the tomb also, and again it says, “He lifted up his eyes, and he declared, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Lazarus, come forth.’” Another so called miracle, which the how consciousness can’t understand, and there’s no way to understand it in intellectual awareness, but somehow tuning in upon this divine flow, tremendous overcomings are possible. This is what Easter is all about, not just death. To be resurrected means to get out of the place where you are and to get onto a higher plane.

We live in certain levels of consciousness. You may be more concerned, as most of us are, because this is the conditioning of the world, more concerned with how much money you earn. Though at income tax time, you wish you hadn’t earned so much. You may be concerned with the kind of car you drive. You may be concerned with the house you have, and the clothes you have, and the relationships. This is the human consciousness.

Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation.” He doesn’t mean that in terms of trouble. In the world you have the means of dealing with experiences, tribulation comes from the word tribulum, which in the Latin was a threshing floor. It means that this was the way of threshing the wheat by stomping on it, and this is the way of getting along in life. Making more money, relating to friends, having cars, good jobs, all of these things.

In the world you have tribulation. These things are in the world, but he said, “Lo, I have overcome the world. I have found a higher perspective, an awareness of seeing greater values, things that are more important than these outer human experiences.” To be resurrected doesn’t mean strictly to come back to life from death, because that’s not particularly relevant to most of us, unless we have lost a dear one and would like to bring that person back again. The point is it means to get on a higher level of consciousness.

Again we talked about the word resurrectus coming from the word resurge. If you look in your dictionary, you’ll find that this is the root of the word resurrect, to resurge. A resurgence of life, of understanding, of enthusiasm, of dynamic truth, springing up onto newness of life. Seeing, in other words, through a different perspective. Seeing life from a different viewpoint.

I’ve told this story, but it’s one of my favorites, so I’ll tell it again. Of a little girl who was standing, looking out the front window of her home as her two brothers were dragging the lifeless form of her pet dog from the road in the front of the house where it had been struck down. They’re dragging it back in the yard, and she’s sobbing for all she’s worth.

Her grandfather, who was a good Quaker, came up, and attempting to comfort her, stood by her and just sort of patted her on the arm and was there to share his warmth and his love with her. They watched as the boys brought the dog back into the yard, and then they dug a hole, and they had a kind of a simple little burial service for the dog. The little girl was crying as if life was over for her.

Finally, when the dog was buried, the grandfather took hold of the girl by the arm and took her to the side window of the same room, looking out on a side garden by the house. There was a tree, a tree that was in full bloom because it was spring. They looked at this tree and the girl squealed with delight because in the fall before she and her grandfather has planted this very tree, and she felt the participation and the fullness of life coming back in the tree. She was so happy, and bubbling and joyous, and the grandfather let her experience this for a moment. Then finally he said, in a moment of great wisdom, reflecting also his Quaker dignity, he said, “You see dear, thee was looking out the wrong window.”

So often we look out the wrong window. We can see only the lifeless form of things that we have tried so hard to achieve that haven’t seemed to work out. We’re so sad, we’re concerned about friendships that have broken up, losses that seem irreparable. We’re so lonely, and so sad, and so disconsolate. Yet always, because life is a living, flowing experience, if we simply look out another window we will tend to see that life goes on. That spring is in the garden again, that something is happening, a resurgence that’s very innate with life itself, and it is always bubbling forth within us if we can only tune into it, if we can just get the high perspective.

Sometimes there’s no way we can set things right. The little girl couldn’t bring the dog back again, she couldn’t set it right, but she could see life rightly by looking out another window. She could see life coming back again. She could see a resurgence of enthusiasm. What a beautiful thing it is to be able to see that.

I’ve had, I should say, I don’t know if I can count them up, but I’m sure that I have conducted thousands of funeral services during the years of my ministry. There was a time when I always thought this was kind of a sad thing, but before very long I realized that this was really one of the potentially joyous experiences that I was engaged in, because my whole role was to try to lead people by the hand to have them look out another window and to see life from a different perspective. I’ve always felt that this is probably one of the most enriching, most fulfilling experiences that I’m involved in.

I don’t mean that I look enthusiastically with funeral experiences, but I no longer think of them as sad occasions, because it’s beautiful to be able to see people turn from darkness to light. Turn from sadness and grief. Turn from emptiness. Turn from the feeling that my life is bereaved, it’s over, there’s nowhere to go. To turn and look out another window to find a higher perspective. Stop trying to set it right and just see it rightly, and see that life goes on, and see the person who is dead has moved onto a new experience for himself, that there can be no ending in life, and that life for yourself goes on. That you can go on and find new releasement of courage and enthusiasm, and find that somehow, as Job did in the later years of his life, all things work together for good. That even though it seemed sad and tragic, yet somehow it opened the way for new dimensions of experience for me.

This is a beautiful thing that is involved fundamentally in the Easter perspective. Remember Jesus had said, “In the world you have tribulation, but I have overcome the world.” When you come over experiences, when you lift up your eyes and see them from a higher perspective, and suddenly beyond emptiness you can find fullness. Beyond the illnesses of physical experience you can relate to the allness of universal life, which is always present. Beyond the insufficiencies that you face when you take on a job, or some new challenge that seems beyond you, you can tune in upon the all sufficiency of the creative process which is ever within you, and which facing this very experience was an opportunity for you to demonstrate and to prove. It’s turning from the human urge to get, to set things right, to the new commitment to see them in the right perspective, to see them.

On this Easter Sunday, if we simply devote this hour, as I’m sure many of us have done many times before, to talking about, and just looking at, and feeling sympathetic toward, and singing hallelujah’s about Jesus rising from the dead on that first Easter. Then we may go away from here saying, “Well, that was kind of an interesting insight into Easter, wasn’t it?” Then we drop it, compartmentalized like, into the file of our mind that says Easter, to be taken out again maybe on another Easter Sunday. That’s all it means to us, and we’ll probably never give it another thought throughout the whole year.

You see, when we get the full meaning of Easter, and stop looking at the tomb, and looking at the death, and the overcoming of the death. Stop looking at Jesus as very God who was working out some kind of a miracle that has no relationship to us. Then suddenly we see that it’s not simply a way of seeing a certain thing, but it is a certain way of seeing all things. In other words, Easter is not just a way of understanding that open tomb of 2000 years ago, but it is a perspective that enables you and me today to deal with every experience of life in the light of the resurrection principle.

As Eliphaz says, “When they cast thee down, thou shalt say there is lifting up.” There’s an obscure passage in the seventh chapter of the Gospel of John, that always has great meaning to me. It’s one that normally is not thought of, and it seems to be one of those passing comments, but like so many passing comments, there’s an implication there that means so much more than we can see. It says, and I quote, “And they went every man into his own house, and Jesus went under the Mount of Olives.” He had been with the disciples, so they referred to the disciples.

They all had families, and they’d come to follow him, and so it was evening time and they were in the area where they lived, and so they all simply went home, and left Jesus standing out there, “The son of man hath not where with to lay his head.” We are told. I used to read that with a great sense of pity. My heart would be so disturbed for this beloved person who was doing so much for these men. They simply went home. They went home in the evening to savory meals, their beds were made, their pillows were fluffed, their family were waiting for them in open arms, and Jesus walking alone up into the hills to be all on his own. I thought that was tragic, terribly unjust.

You see, I was totally wrong, because I can see today that a person is never alone who is all one. That loneliness actually comes to people not who have no one to relate to, but people who have lost their identity within themselves. That while the disciples went home, and probably were overeating at the table out of their frustrations, and tossing and turning in their beds at night restlessly. Jesus was out with a mountain for a pillow. He was totally still, completely at one, totally at one with the whole wide universe, and very happy and very fulfilled. Remember he had said, “I have overcome the world.”

Now this doesn’t mean that he had to go through poverty, that he had to live without relating to people, that he had to have the experience of laying on the ground and walking out in nature without having any opportunity to be at home. Because I’m sure this is not at all what was involved, but I think what is really involved here is that this is an indication that there’s something far more than simply going home, in a human sense. There is that sense of being at home in a divine sense.

When you’re at home in a divine sense, when you have that sense of inward identity, then no matter where you are you’re at home. You feel good, surrounded by all situations and all circumstances. See at a later date, when Jesus faced the human yearning for freedom, and I mentioned this on Good Friday as Jesus obviously did have the human yearning for freedom in his Gethsemane experience, when it simply quotes the words that have been sung about over and over again through tradition, when he said, “Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” Let it pass from me.

I see this in a very real sense, understandable of course, of the man in a very high level of consciousness, on the very verge of going through his master’s degree, writing his master’s thesis, you might say. At that particular point saying, “But why should I do it? Why should I go through this? What reason do I have? After all, I have integrated myself in life. I know that I could live a normal, peaceful, beautiful life somewhere off in Galilee. Why should I go to the cross? As I know lies ahead of me here.” As he did know, because he talked about this. Why?

In other words, “I don’t think I will.” He just had still enough of the human temptation to say, “I want to pull away from it. No, I don’t think I will. If it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Let it go on. Let’s forget the whole matter.” Then he said, “Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” The reason that he was able to come to this conclusion was because he had been building this consciousness throughout all the years of his life. This was not simply a one time surge of courage, this was the result of a resurgence of a courageous awareness of life that he had always had.

You see, Jesus didn’t get the Easter perspective after he had gone through the resurrection of Easter morning. He was able to go through that experience and grow through that experience because of the Easter perspective that had been built up through all of the years of his life when he was involved in practice, practice, practice, practice. Don’t think he didn’t have to practice. Any more than golfer would believe that Jack Nicklaus doesn’t have to practice, or that Jascha Heifetz doesn’t have to practice. It’s like a great artist giving his premiere performance right here on the stage of Avery Fisher Hall.

Quite often people are very enthusiastic, and maybe the critics write something about, “A great virtuoso has been discovered tonight.” Those of us who understand what is involved in music, or skill, or overcoming of any kind, know that the performance that the man or the woman gave on the stage is the fruit of years of practice, practice, practice, practice.

We may feel we’ve just made a discovery. We may feel that Jesus just suddenly discovered the ability to rise above death in this Easter morning, but that which was experienced there was a resurgence of a dynamic potential, a mastery, a virtuoso performance that was the result of years and years, and perhaps if you will lifetimes and lifetimes of practice, practice, built upon overcoming, on overcoming. That he was ready at that moment because he didn’t have to think about setting it right or, changing things, or striking down the enemy as the disciples thought he should do.

He was ready because he didn’t try to set it right. He saw only to see it rightly, and when he saw it from the Easter perspective, he could easily go through, and grow through, and be blessed by, and all mankind ultimately can be blessed by this great experience because it demonstrated principle. Easter then deals with the starting point of this whole new insight in truth, it’s the cleanest, clearest, fundamental of it all, which is simply training the eyes to see. Training the eyes to see.

From the very earliest times in life, our identification with the world comes through sight. Gradually through our lives we must ultimately come to know insight. Until we do, we’re locked into appearances. We’re locked into a world of experiences, and we will only seek to set things right. When we gain insight, when we find the way to see out of another window, to see transcendent perspectives, then suddenly we can relate to the same people, the same situations, on a higher level, and find the key to victory, to overcoming, and to abundant life.

We’re all seeking this. We’re all looking for it, and it’s a beautiful experience when we come to understand this. Let’s don’t complicate Easter by thinking that this was simply a crucifixion and a resurrection, an overcoming of pain and death. All that is incidental. Fundamentally is the perspective that enabled Jesus to find the strength in the Garden of Gethsemane, to turn from the human judgment to the cosmic perspective where he could say, as the astronauts might say, “Okay, all systems are go, let’s take off.” He was ready.

Let’s not complicate the Easter thing by thinking that Jesus showed us all how to resurrect from the dead, because that’s irrelevant. In a sense it is true, but it’s irrelevant because right now most of us are not that concerned about how to rise from the dead. We may be involved in a lot of complicated how questions that we can’t resolve. All that too is incidental in the process.

Fundamentally, he demonstrated for you and for me and for all persons who have eyes to see and ears to hear, that if we lift our eyes and look out the right window, we can see allness in illness, we can see all sufficiency in insufficiency, we can see full potentialities even in limitations, and we find the key to overcoming and the key to victorious, transcendent life. This is what it’s all about.

As the medieval mystic poet, Brother Angelus says, “That thou seest, man, become too thou must; God, if thou seest God, dust, if thou seest dust.” We seek now in the consciousness of the perspective that we can glean from this Easter thing, that we see God because we see from the consciousness of God. We see from the glorious realization that is made real for us by this man, this highly evolved man of 2000 years ago, who demonstrated the real life genius within all of us. That each of us can see from God consciousness, and see things rightly. We don’t have to try to change things in the world, we simply see them from the Easter perspective, seeing out the right window.

Easter declares you see, that not only do we draw the best from everyone and everything, and relate to life on the level of your very best, but Easter helps us to realize that your best is limitlessness. It’s the ability to see with eyes of love, and thus to project a tremendous energy of love wherever you go, even as you did at the start of this hour. Hopefully you will do it as you go forth from here. That you will see through the perspective of love, and you will see one another in a new light, in a new transcendent awareness.

You’ll see beauty and ugliness. You’ll see allness in illness. You’ll see tremendous potentialities, even within the challenges of life. Yes, you’ll be able to look at shortages, and even energy crises from a new transcendent perspective, knowing that somehow something good is working. Something that will help mankind as a whole, and you and me particularly, to experience a more abundant, a more fulfilling life. This is what Easter can be, and we pray that it is what Easter shall be to each of us through the remainder of this day and the whole year to come.

Let’s be still for just a moment.

Using the power of visualization, the imaging power of mind, I would like you to just look out into your world right now, from a very basic human material level. See the people that may be problem people. See the situations that may be limiting. See the world of shortages and difficulties. See the cities of crime and confusion and hunger. See all of these things, and then responding to not the Quaker father, but the loving father within yourself that Jesus talked to us about, taking you by the hand and leading you to another window, where you can see the blossoms on the trees of life. When you can see allness and fullness.

When you can see from a transcendent perspective. You see your life, and you see the world, and you see the people in it from the Easter perspective. Where you can feel the joyous realization that no matter what happens around you, all that really counts is what happens in you. When there is the resurrection, or the resurgence of life and fullness of God activity within you, then you become a radiant expression of the truth. You’re no longer a part of the problems of the world as you are when you see them in a mirror darkly, but you become a part of the solutions.

As you go on your way this day, may you be conscious that though in the world there is casting down, yet in consciousness there is lifting up. Resolve that you will keep yourself lifting up, looking out the window of truth, seeing the good, seeing the potentialities, seeing the blessings, and you will become an influence for good wherever you go. You will become a purveyor of the positive, of the radiant, of the loving on this Easter Day, 1979. Praise God for the truth that makes us free. Amen.