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CHRIST IS RISEN (IN YOU AND IN ME)


 



 

The Easter story is one of the most profound and pervasive in Western culture – and spiritually one of the most misunderstood.


Its historical importance is undeniable. It has shaped – for good and for ill – much of the world’s understanding and (of course) is unquestionably the foundation of all of Christianity: Roman Catholic, the many Protestant denominations and the Eastern Christian faiths (Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc.).

 

The word “Easter” has uncertain origins. It may come from the name of a Pagan goddess named Eostre, goddess of spring and fertility, celebrated in a month known as Eosturmonath in Old English.

 

It may also come from an old German word for east, from the Latin word for dawn. Spring > sun > dawn > east > Easter, according to a Merriam-Webster editor.

 

The French word for Easter is Pâques, which comes directly from the Hebrew word for Passover.

 

Whatever you call it, the time of Easter is the time of the Resurrection, when according to the Bible, Jesus arose from the dead, 3 days after he had been crucified. There are several sources beyond the four chapters of the Bible known as the Gospels, that reference the crucifixion of Jesus.

 

Some accounts are more accepted by historians as accurate than others, but one, by an historian, Tacitus is considered of genuine historical value.

 

In The Annals written around 116 CE, Tacitus describes the persecution of the Christians by Nero and states in Annals 15.44 directly that Pilate ordered the execution of Jesus:

 

Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name [Christians] had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus. [emphasis added]

 

Scholars generally consider the Tacitus reference to the execution of Jesus by Pilate to be a genuine, reliable and independent Roman source.

 

So, there is some pretty good evidence of an actual man named Jesus and of his crucifixion, but what of his resurrection?

 

Historically, there are contemporary accounts that argue back and forth about the story of Jesus rising from the tomb. However, the “facts” of the case are in fact (pun intended) quite irrelevant to the metaphysical “facts” that can be clearly understood in the Easter story.

 

For, beyond the physical and the historical, the Risen Christ is in Truth the Spirit of God in each and every one of us.

 

The “fact” is that the Biblical resurrection of Jesus is not just something that happened once 2,000 years ago and we’ve been riding on that wave ever since.

 

It is not a one-off event! It is an on-going event that takes place – is taking place – in you and me.

 

Rebirth, resurrection, New Life, is something that each and every one of us will experience as we rise up in consciousness from thoughts and beliefs in separation and death, to ones of Unity and eternal life.

 

A Course in Miracles has quite a bit to say about Easter and the resurrection. In Chapter 19, “The Attainment of Peace,” it says:

 

It is almost Easter, the time of resurrection. Let us give redemption to each other and share in it, that we may rise as one in resurrection, not separate in death. [Emphasis added]

 

To me this says that the way to lasting peace is to share life together, and not the illusion of separation, which is the illusion of death.

 

In Chapter 20, “The Vision of Holiness” we find:

 

For Easter is the sign of peace, not pain. A slain Christ has no meaning. But a risen Christ becomes the symbol of the Son of God’s forgiveness on himself; the sign he looks upon himself as healed and whole. 

 

This Easter I would have the gift of your forgiveness offered by you to me, and returned by me to you. We cannot be united in crucifixion and in death. Nor can the resurrection be complete till your forgiveness rests on Christ, along with mine. 

 

In other words, the idea – the reality of our being is that we are not flesh and blood, we are not bodies, but we are pure Spirit. “A slain Christ has no meaning” because that Spirit within us is eternal and can never die.

 

As the Course emphasizes over and over (and over and over) the way out of the illusion of separateness, of bodies and limitations and lack and death, is forgiveness. We give it and by giving it away, it is the only way that we can ever receive it.

 

“Nor can the resurrection be complete till your forgiveness rests on Christ, along with mine,” means that we are integral parts in the on-going resurrection of the Christ.

 

Jesus did it! You can too. And you will!

 

Thankfully, most of us do not have to go through the “hell” that he did, in order to reach this state of clear understanding that we are all One. Of course, we all go through our own private “hells”. That is how the illusion of separation seems to work.

 

Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen,” as the old song goes.

 

Yet when we offer forgiveness to each other, we see that we ourselves are forgiven – for our mistakes, our misconceptions, our ignorance and illusions and misunderstandings, etc.

 

And then we will naturally not see the illusion of separation, the illusion of death, but we will look “…upon [ourselves] as healed and whole.”


It is often overlooked that Jesus forgives several times while on the cross. He is “crossing out” the error thinking that sees “what they do” as of any importance whatsoever. The body is an illusion. The Spirit is the only thing that matters; the only thing that is real.

 

This Easter, look with different eyes upon your brother. 

 

You have the vision now to look past all illusions. It has been given you to see no thorns, no strangers and no obstacles to peace.

 

This is the way to Heaven and to the peace of Easter, in which we join in glad awareness that the Son of God is risen from the past, and has awakened to the present. Now is he free, unlimited in his communion with all that is within him.

 

 

What a hopeful promise the resurrection gives to us, whether you believe in the literal story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection or not. It does not matter, in my understanding.

 

What matters is that we are all on the journey home, to a place that we (really) never left. Like the sleeping dreamer, we are safe and snug in Heaven, dreaming we are separate bodies, separate minds. These illusions seem real, seem powerful.

 

With the illusion of forgiveness, the only illusion that leads us up out of the morass of the dream, we slowly see the light dawning just behind the thin veil of our eyelids. We start to realize that the dream is just that – a dream and unreal.

 

As The Course begins with these words, we are all Christ, Risen in You and in Me:

 

Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

 

Happy Sunday

Happy Easter

Joyeuses Pâques

 

 

Johnny

 

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