Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Reflection

Easter Reflection by Pastor Durrell Watkins

“What should Easter mean to us?... It should point the way to the ascended consciousness…Jesus gave us the perfect example of the Resurrected Life and the [Christ] Consciousness—Oneness with the [Divine].” – Lucile Frederick

Whether with family dinners or Easter egg hunts or concerts in the park or church services…many of us celebrated yesterday the newness of life that Easter represents. And this spring season is a perfect time to keep that celebration going, reminding ourselves that renewal is always possible for us.

I think it is a mistake to make Easter an historical event. It has to be more. The story of the hero who cheats death and is raised to new life is an old and often repeated tale. Elijah escaped death by being taken to the heavens in a whirlwind. Osiris was torn to pieces, but was later returned to wholeness and raised to new life. Hercules sacrificed himself and was raised to eternal life among the stars. The Phoenix would plunge to its death and from its own ashes rise again to new life. Stories of the deity or hero who escapes death or returns from it are many.

Rather than trying to dismiss them all, and rather than trying to prove one of the ancient resurrection stories are “true” while the rest are not, it could be that all of them are trying to get at something true and relevant for us. Perhaps these stories about a renewed, resurrected life are telling us what Confucius taught, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”

Life has meaning, and its significance lasts beyond the years of mortal existence. Our significance, our dignity, our ability to cling to hope can raise us up when we fall, and can remind us that we will be raised up after the final fall. Night is followed by morning. Winter is followed by spring. Failure is followed by second chances. Death is followed by new life.

Of all the resurrection stories, I remain partial to the Christian version. Jesus’ resurrection retains special meaning for me because it isn’t just about him. It involved his friends, his followers, his community, his admirers and devotees. His isn’t just a story about a hero who rose to new life…that wouldn’t be an original story at all. His is a story about a common person, a carpenter, a rural peasant who rose to greatness as a teacher, healer, and prophet and who spent his life giving others their dignity back. When he was executed, people still found their hope and their dignity in stories about him, and they continued to experience his power and grace beyond his execution. He lived in them, and they lived better as a result.

Jesus’ resurrection was a tool for lifting up others. As people insisted that they experienced him beyond Golgotha, they somehow found courage and hope in the face of their own challenges. Jesus’ resurrection wasn’t just one more super-human performing one more incredible feat…Jesus’ resurrection was a symbol of empowerment for people who needed to be lifted up in their own lives. And it worked! And apparently, it still does.

An average person with access to divine potential: That’s a story that I can put to use in my own life! A person who is raised to new life after being put down by mighty forces: That’s a story that I can put to use in my own life. The Easter narratives remind us that the power of life cannot be killed, and that significance of a life well lived cannot be diminished. Jesus as an example of the Resurrected Life and the Christ Consciousness is something that is powerful because it isn’t about one person long ago; it’s about what is possible for all people at all times. I hope the power of the Easter message will bless us all throughout this season of renewed life.

(c) Durrell Watkins, 2008

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