"CHRIST IS RISEN"
MR. CHARLES FILLMORE
915 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri
EASTER SUNDAY, 1912,
The Central idea of our meeting this morning is "I Am the Resurrection and the Light". "I Am the Resurrection and the Light". All through our consciousness and outer mesh of environment of thought, swaddling clothes, is this statement, "I Am the Resurrection and the Light". It has within it a truth which can only he understood, appreciated by analysis, study. You must look into the situation.
The first statement "I Am", is that which includes all else. If I were to ask you what is the greatest, most wonderful, most mysterious thing in existence, what would you say? Man! But what is man? I can get a thousand different answers to that question. Man is God manifest. And what is that manifestation - how do you describe it? You can describe it in a thousand different ways; but to you, what is it? You say, "Why, it is that which thinks; it is that which knows - but, above and beyond that, it is self-identity; and self-identity always said to itself, "I Am, I Am". Keep saying to yourself "I am, I Am"; think about yourself in your true relation, as the real I Am of God, and you will find that, wrapped up in the swaddling clothes of an outer thought, is the real thing, the greatest of all things, I Am.
Why, do you know that the greatest of all the metaphysicians of all the ages have never answered that question yet, what I Am is, what self-identity is. It must be God; it must be the all-Potential, all-Possible One, and it is, it is. When God expresses Himself, lie says, "I Am". That is the way that He told Moses, when Moses asked Him who he should say sent him, "say I Am sent you".
Now, as we this morning give attention to the Spirit, let us realise that it is I Am. I Am is Spirit, and I Am is the lifting up power. I Am is also the tearing-down power. The Resurrection, the lifting-up, is the one dominant idea. That is now being put forth by all people who really think and understand; and we are here to set that mighty I Am Power into expression in all of its fullness, in all of its Truth, in right relation. Then, let us pray to the Great Power omnipresent. Let us affirm that Presence in its Spiritual relation, by quietly entering into the silence of mind and praying and affirming and realizing that in "I Am is the Resurrection and the Light".
It isn't outside, it isn't in Jesus of Nazareth, the man who lived nineteen hundred years ago. He simply demonstrated it for the I Am in you. He was the example; He showed us the way, but we must demonstrate it.
Let us begin at the right place, in Spirit and in Truth, in ourselves, and say earnestly, with truth the uppermost in our minds of that inherent power in every one of us, "I am the Resurrection and the Life". Say it till the air palpitates with ihe Truth, until the Spirit becomes manifest in us, "I Am the Resurrection and the Life" - that will be our prayer.
When Christianity was introduced in the early centuries to the pagans, it was found that they had a goddess called Eastre, the Goddess of Life; and that, at about this time of the year, they had a festival in which this goddess of Life was used as the supreme deity. Offerings were made and, to those who were in the understanding of unseen forces, there was a recognition of the springing forth of new Life in the earth. When Christianity gave to these pagan races the more spiritual truth taught by Jesus Christ, they found it expedient to incorporate, in order that these people might be reconciled, all, or nearly all, of their customs and rites and ceremonies in the religious way. And this is why we have Easter, and why it has become separated from its pagan idea and adopted and incorporated into a Christian idea. We do not worship the goddess of Life, but we worship a Supreme Spiritual Lifting-up of man.
Now, this brings to the consideration of the subject which Christianity adopted and brought to the particular notice of men, because, back of all these symbols, are great truths; and these truths, rightly understood, are of vital importance to every one of us.
The symbol which we have in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day it of universal application. It is like the figure 1 in mathematics. It goes through all the problems, all the millions of figures that have been made, are but multiplications of the figure 1. And so this truth, that there is within man a power that will lift him into the Life, the understanding and the light of Life, the understanding and the light of Love, is universal. It runs through all Life. But it is governed by a law. God creates under law. All things are done under law.
Now, this law, as symbolized in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a Trinity. He rises on the third day. To get a correct understanding of the meaning of these symbols, one must reduce them to their prime factors, which is, movements of mind.
Now, we all know that there is necessity of a resurrection. We recognize, in our attempts to reach better conditions, do away with the evil and make the good permanent and real, that there is something just a little out of harmony in man's life; and this teaching will lay clearly "before" us the Law, to a quick solution and demonstration of the prohlem. We have been taught that Jesus Christ came as God incarnate, that we might be lifted up into our God likeness; that we might be, as we were in the beginning; that we might be restored to that golden age in which immortality, joy, perfection, all good, reigned supreme.
How is this to he brought about? Through God! No other way. So, we are face to face with the great Truths, that the Supreme God Incarnated himself in flesh, became one of us, that He might show us the way into the Life; that He might, through his example, lift us every one up, if we would follow that example.
In one of the Novels - I think the Romance of Two Worlds, by Marie Corelli - we have given to us the dream, of a woman the Great Supreme Mind gave creative power, power to make a world and people it, which she did. And her people, in the beginning, were all good, were happy; but they fell one by one into evil ways, and finally she saw her world full of discord full of inharmony, sickness, and finally death. She was greatly disturbed and grieved, and thought, "how can I show these people the truth? They won't listen to me - they have forgotten me". And it came to her that the only way she could get their attention was to incarnate herself as one of them; to become a little child; to grow up in their midst, and which she did; and in that way opened to them again the Life.
Now, this, in a crude way, shows out the Great Supreme Life, God, incarnated himself in Christ, and "became nothing, yet demonstrated all, showing us the way. Now, this is not a religious theory, but, as we look into the sources of creation; as we look into our own consciousnesses we look into the real forces lying back of mind and thought, we see that it all rests upon consciousness, upon the power of thought in man; and that it must be through this avenue that we shall resurrect man; that we shall do away with those things which lead to the greatest of all tragedies in human life, which is death.
Now, Jesus Christ is the example. He demonstrated the proposition; lie taught along that way. If you study His life, you will find that He first entered into the religious and moral side of the question, his Sermon on the Mount, His teaching as to the relation of men. Then, the next step was the putting forth of the example, of the power of man to do away with existing conditions of Mind, in which He healed, in which he purified, casting out the devil. And the next step was that man, the Supreme I Am, had power over the elements. He stilled the storm, walked upon the waves; increased and multiplied the things of the natural world, showing in these various steps that these was a progressive law, up to the final, which was the overcoming of death.
Now, we accept all these as miracles of One who was God, but "we can't do those things!" Gradually, however, it. dawns upon us that we are to follow along the line taught by Jesus Christ, and, following Him up to the highest tide of our faith, get the results, but it seems that we can't always have that faith in the invisible and step forth upon the unseen and realize that it is a rock. That is the power of the mind, and the mind must forge ahead in its ideal. But Jesus Christ was and is an example to us. We are arriving at a definite conclusion, through experience, that we can heal our ills through the use of His spiritual consciousness. The same life that He had is for us. He said, "Follow me, and do as I do"; and we are doing; but we only arrive at, a certain point in the proposition, and then we stop. We follow Jesus in healing. Some of you have found that we have control of some of the forces of nature, if not all. But when we come to that final step, the resurrection from the dead, we, some of us stop, short. We can do the minor things, but we excuse ourselves from the final, by looking out and seeing what has been the history of men; that they have died, and we think all men must die. There is no salvation at least in our present power, our present understanding; yet, logically, we are step by step doing away with those things that lead to death. We are healing ourselves, and all expecting to be healthful. Well, supposing that we had perpetual health, would there be death? No! "But", you say "we grow old; and people would die finally of old age".
But, are you not doing away with old age just as fast as you can? I see people on every side who are striving with all their might to remain youthful; and, if we were all youthful, then where would old age play any part in this final tragedy of death? Well, you say at once, "If I were healthy and youthful, I would continue to live right on until I got to the grave". That is just exactly what Jesus Christ taught. "But", you. say, "Jesus Christ went into the grave; He died and was resurrected on the third day"; and you are looking for seme direct climax to your life. If you know that this resurrection is' something that is taking place, that is taking place daily - Paul said, of that truth, "I die daily". If he died daily and kept on living, he must have had a resurrection daily. And we find gradually that this daily dying is the daily dying of that error, the carnal mind. It isn't said that we perish all at once, but every time that you have a true thought; every time that you overcome old error, old evil - cast out some devil out of your own mind and put some true thought in its place, you are going through those three days or three degrees of demonstration.
Now, these degrees of demonstration, or days, in which Jesus Christ is dead and buried and resurrected, are simple statements of mind. There is the perception of the Truth. That is the first day - the perception of the Truth that God is Spirit; that God is omnipresent, omnipotent, omnicient Spirit; and that that Spirit is in man. That is the first step. We see that as a logical proposition. The next step is the realization of the Truth in yourself. That is the second day. I realize that God in me is omnipotent, omnicient, and omnipresent. and the third step is the demonstration of that. I put forth my realization into external conditions. I begin to speak to my body, "You are Spirit; you are omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent". That makes an organic change; there is a resurrection in me, and I step forth into a glorified body. This body is lifted up; this body is resurrected and just to the extent that I make those three steps, those three days, demonstrations in myself, do I came into the Kingdom of God, do I do away with these conditions that seem to environ me.
Now, this goes on until you finally reach the place where you overcome death. You overcome death by overcoming, first, the idea in your mind, and then those conditions which the race have believed in so persistently, which, through the power of their thought are in the atmosphere. They have incorporated themselves into our very cells, but they are put out when you know the law of the three steps, the three ideas in Divine Hind, in your mind. They will overcome all these things.
Now, if we would follow Jesus Christ to the uttermost, we would know the meaning of this season of the year, know the meaning of this observance that we are carrying out, we should enter into the real Spiritual I Am, doing away with history, doing away with the past; looking no longer to the future; anticipating nothing in the future hut what we have in the present; and affirming the power of God Almighty in us, that the Christ of God, the Divine Idea, is "born, is incarnate in us, as it has heen in all those who have overcome, who have stepped out into the light and Life of Spirit, and overcome death.
Now, we every one of us should enter into that consciousness this very hour, right now. Don't put it off; don't say, that there are conditions; don't say that I even have done things or sinned, that I have missed the mark - none of those things count when you realize, "I am the Resurrection and the Life". Now is the acceptible time; now is the time'when the festival of the Spirit of Life is going forward, and you can partake of that Life and that light, you can enter into your own spiritual I Am and come into Divine Understanding and resurrecting power, here and now.
Then, let us agree among ourselves, and let us accept without, reservation, without quibbling, this grand truth, that we have the I Am; that we have the law; that we perceive the Truth, we realize the Truth, and we demonstrate it through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
11:50 A. M. 12:11 P. M.
UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY