“The Meaning of Easter” by Rev. Christine 4/4/2021
My message today is about the Meaning of Easter. Since before written history people have celebrated springtime, and later it was called the Festival of Easter celebrating the regeneration and resurrection of the earth. Following winter after the trees and flowers having appeared as dead, they regenerate and begin to show new life with buds popping out, and shortly thereafter, blossoms and leaves sprout forth in full resurrection of life.
Again, Easter was already being celebrated when Jesus the Christ experienced crucifixion which followed with being regenerated and resurrected. In today’s world, many Christians refer to Easter Sunday as Resurrection Sunday, or in the Aramaic language, Pascha Sunday. This is a day of celebration, of much joy, and feasting, after having several days of sorrow from the time of capture through the crucifixion. Yet, many people today still focus on the drama and sorrow, of Jesus’ crucifixion, with many blaming others for his death. Rather than to focus on the real message of the resurrection of Jesus demonstrating there is eternal life.
First we have to get over the idea that Jesus was ever a victim. He was a master, and could have skipped the whole drama, and just translated his body as others in the Bible had done. But, the crucifixion was necessary as a teaching tool to demonstrate for us eternal life. He wanted us to know that we too can do this. That regardless of the appearances, we too can rise again. Death as we know it is the last belief to overcome.
In Divine Science we can also see this whole story of the crucifixion and resurrection as our story. We go through these steps in life. Every time we’re ill we regenerate and resurrect to health. Or, if we’re down, we pick ourselves up and rise again. Even our seeming death isn’t the last word; there is eternal life. Prayer treatment also known as scientific prayer, rises us up from appearances of fear, pain, lack or want - to truth and fulfillment.
I’ve selected some readings for us today on the Resurrection by 19th & 20th century Divine Science teachers. Starting with our founder Malinda Cramer from the Come Unto Me series, volume 3 The Christ, which is a compilation from the Harmony Magazine of 1888-1906. Next we’ll have the works of Nona Brooks from her book Mysteries printed in 1924; which is a compilation of talks given. Followed by Emmit Fox’s Diagrams for Living; the Bible Unveiled. Also a compilation of his lectures, and this reading today is from 1935. They each have their very own focus and distinctive styles of expressing.
Before I begin with the readings, I’d like to share that on Good Friday of this year, April 2nd, a small group of us caravanned to visit Malinda Cramer’s grave site, at the Woodlawn Memorial in Colma near San Francisco. It was so special to be able to honor her life work as the founder of Divine Science. Malinda’s life here was from June 1844- August 1906. Just think, over a 100 years have passed, and her teachings are still impacting people’s lives. A special acknowledgment goes to Cheryl Magill for her research, and for organizing this trip.
I shall now present the words of Malinda Cramer: “Life is the resurrection, and it calls to all to come forth from the sepulcher of material beliefs. And, when they have come forth - clad in their grave clothes of opinion and false belief - UNDERSTANDING says: loose them and let them go.
“This is FREEDOM - freedom from a belief in mortality, with which all are clothed who believe that form (or effect) is a source of life and power, or that unfoldment is the source of knowledge and wisdom. And what does Life say? “Seek ye the Lord,” and rise. “Keep my commandments and live.” “Hereby know that we have entered into Eternal Life, because we love.”
“The Christ beholds all things with the understanding of the Infinite mind and knows that there is no death. The Christ knows that every atom is eternal; it cannot be corrupted by erroneous belief. Truly, UNDERSTANDING can say “O death, where is thy sting,” for eternal Life is the victory.
“The resurrection does not refer to the last day (as indicated by time); it is the last day of error, opinion, and belief in mortality and death as being necessary to life. The great declaration which Jesus made to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the Life,” was demonstrated while he was living in the body. And in this day, “death and the grave delivered up the dead which were in them.” This day - NOW - “today is the day of salvation.”
“This declaration characterizes all affirmations made by the Christ relative to himself. This declaration reveals statements such as “I and my Father are One... If you have seen me, you have seen the Father... I am the light of the world... The true bread...the living waters... the good shepherd.. And the door. When UNDERSTANDING illumines mentality with the Truth that it is God’s Truth and Life which is manifest before them - they (Truth and Life) realize the resurrection and Eternal Life.
“In this day, we can say, as did Martha, “I believe and know that thou art the Christ, the Son of god which shall come into the world and demonstrate thyself on earth.” But, we do not say this to another; for there is but One Infinite Life demonstrated everywhere before us. The promised and coming ONE of the ancient Scriptures is come, and all Law is fulfilled in God’s works. All prophecy has come to pass; the eternal Word is made flesh, and God is manifest among us. Let us rejoice and be glad that the resurrection and the Life has appeared to us.” End of Quotes.
Now for what Nona Brooks said: “Resurrection is the culmination of life process in the one who lives in the resurrection consciousness; it is the end of one process and the beginning of another. Since the process of resurrection is taking place in everyone of us, the event which we speak of as the Resurrection is especially significant to each individual.
“We all feel the Law of Life working within us; it is urging us upward and onward. As we are led by the spirit of light into more and more truth, our vision broadens, and we come into a clearer realization of what it means to live truth as Jesus did. There is great comfort and joy in knowing that we, too, share in the process of resurrection, and are capable of attaining to the glory of even a resurrection morn, as Jesus did.
“The resurrection consciousness is the consciousness that raises the body from a belief in mortality to a certainty of Life Eternal. The world today needs resurrection. Just as there was a first century resurrection, so let there be a twentieth century resurrection. This resurrection time will be brought about by the spirit of consecration in your heart and in mind which says with Jesus, “Thy will be done in us.” Resurrection will be brought about by our own thought process. It is that consciousness which loves without wavering.
“The resurrection consciousness is the complete consciousness; it includes the whole man-soul and body. I hope that as you read this, you find that today is a day of resurrection - a day in which our lives are being lived closer to Divine Consciousness. God is working through us; let us give Him an opportunity to speak and act through us to his highest purpose. We are God’s opportunities. If we meet all demands of the day with love we shall rise out of limitations for Love is Resurrection.” End
We now have Emmet Fox’s words: “Then Jesus came to the earth. He taught, worked, suffered, and finally died that we might realize that we can make Easter a real thing for ourselves. Jesus, of course, need not have died had he not wanted to. He could have dematerialized his body and gone away to the presence of God without dying, as other had done. But he wanted to make it possible for us to follow him in the regeneration and resurrection.
“Sooner or later, as individual, and as a race, we have to overcome death. Death is the last enemy that shall be overcome. When we have overcome death then we shall have accomplished Easter, and our work will be done. That will be the end of fear, the end of sickness and decay, the end of sin and limitation. A time is coming when the human race is going to overcome these things.
“Calvary had to precede Easter because that is the story of the human heart. No one who has ever done anything really worth while in spiritual development has been able to get there without paying the price. There is no such thing for any of us as getting into the kingdom of heaven without paying a price. Never does Easter morning dawn without the Friday of Calvary preceding it.
The Gospel of Jesus do not say that salvation is a cheap thing or that resurrection is easy... The Bible says that because we are men and women and have free will and self-determination, we are certain to have limitations and difficulties to overcome. Of course, knowledge of the Truth leads us to the realization that all the difficulties which we have to meet are within ourselves. Anything that seems to attack us from the outside is really but the projection of something within. We have these things in ourselves and we have to overcome them. The overcoming them involves Calvary. “The cross must be overcome first. It is a symbol far older than Christianity. In the ancient world it stood for limitation. The true symbol of Easter is the circle, which is the symbol of eternity, of spiritual things. The circle or solar disk if you like, represents triumph.
“The last word in the Christian message is the risen, triumphant Christ – perfect man, perfect soul, perfect union in God. So let us let go of the Crucifixion, cross out the cross of Calvary, and go on to the Resurrection.
“Jesus Christ rose again because he had overcome the belief in separation from God... His body was dematerialized by his thought. Once that is done, the body can always be reproduced again by thought, and that is what Jesus did.
“What theology calls the Fall of Man is the belief that we are separate from God. The Truth is that we are not separate–we are the expressions of God. It is as though God is singing a song and that song is man. We are the very self-livingness of God, not created in some past time, but re-created every moment. Because God lives, we live, for we are part of God’s self-expression of Himself. Yet people have the belief that they are separate from God, and the Cosmic Law is that what we really believe we experience.
“Now, we do not have to die to demonstrate the power of resurrection. I say we do not have to, if we can completely overcome the belief in separation from God. Please note that I am not saying we shall not die. What I am saying is that if any one of us can overcome the sense of separation from God – and that means also overcoming the sense of separation from our fellow man – then we shall not die.
“We shall be translated. Moses did not die; Enoch did not; Elijah did not; John the Divine, the writer of this account of the Resurrection, did not. They overcame that sense of separation from our fellow man.
“As long as I can see danger in another human being, as long as I condemn or resent another human being, I have not begun my unity with God. “He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen,” says John, “how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
“If we want to follow Jesus in the great demonstration, we must cleanse our heart of hatred, jealousy, fear, resentment, and condemnation, and fill our heart with a true divine love for all human beings everywhere no matter who they may be.
“Easter is the crowning diagram of our personal destiny. Easter is there to impress upon us, to drive home to us, to brand into our hearts, that the resurrection is an activity that God calls for in all humanity, not just in Jesus. Jesus showed the way. The resurrection is a practical step for you and me to take today. It is not just a theological belief. It is a fact of nature.
“It is the Truth of Being. It means a perfect body. It means peace of mind. It means a perfect integrated soul. It means reunion with God in thought, understanding, and realization. It means the overcoming of every limitation. We can do it; we have to do it; and in the name of Jesus Christ, we shall do it.” End of quotes.
We have heard the traditional Bible story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Today we have been given a new understanding of these events. We give our gratitude to these three Divine Scientists for giving new understanding of the resurrection, and what it means for our lives in today’s world.
I’ll close with a scientific prayer treatment by Malinda Cramer from Divine Science and Healing: I invite you to get comfortable, relax, close your eyes, and begin with some good deep breathing, acknowledging every breath as the sacred breath and life of God.
“God is Omnipresent and expressed in all creation. I am all present, Spirit, Soul and Body. I am health in Spirit, health in Soul and health in Body. I am one perfect whole. I am one with the infinitude of Spirit, the infinitude of Soul and the infinitude of Body.
“I, Spirit, am one with all visibility. I, Body, am one with all that is invisible. I am one with god Almighty expressed in heaven and earth. Every atom of substance is intelligent and hears my voice. There is no lack of consciousness, no partial truth, mortality, loss, nor gain. I am now absolute life, consciousness its self, and am immortality.” So it is! Amen.