Friday, April 18, 2014

BEYOND TRADITIONAL RELIGION: THE REAL MIRACLE OF EASTER

First, let me tell you what I can’t and don’t believe about Easter. I don’t believe that Jesus literally and bodily rose from dead. I like what the now retired but ever-iconoclastic and controversial Anglican bishop Dr David Jenkins [pictured left] said about that idea. He called the notion ‘a conjuring trick with bones.’ How wickedly funny! 

I do, however, know this---Jesus rose spiritually from the tomb. Punishment and death could not destroy the power of his personality and his spirit and his message. Jesus lives today, not so much in the lives of those who purport to follow him (most of whom show little or no resemblance in their daily lives to Jesus at all), but in the lives of those persons, the bulk of whom would not want to label themselves as Christians, who give constantly of themselves to others in practical service and self-sacrifice so that the troubles of suffering humanity might be relieved.

I now want to say a few words about what I refer to as the ‘macro and micro’ of the Easter story.

In a previous post I have written about the ‘macro’ of Easter, namely, that the Crucifixion is an 'object lesson' and acted parable or dramatization of the ongoing cosmic sacrifice---the self-limitation (crucifixion) of life itself---in which the spirit of life, the one absolute reality which antecedes all manifested things, ever descends into matter, ever offers itself, and ever gives of itself to itself in manifestation, so that life, in all of its multiplicity of forms, may be perpetuated. It is a mystery. It is a wonder. It is divine. What a tragic and terrible thing it is that conventional, mainstream Christianity has so totally literalized and carnalized this truly sublime myth, distorting---even destroying---its true meaning.


Now, the ‘micro’ of Easter. Easter, as we all know, is about dying and rising again. The end of every day is a ‘death’ of sorts. It is gone forever. Now, that is a very good thing, for if it were not to happen there could be no tomorrow. Every new day is a rising of sorts. But it’s even deeper than that. Every new moment is a new beginning---a resurrection of life. We must constantly ‘die’ and ‘rise again’ into newness of life.  Most importantly, we must die to self each moment of the day if we wish to be free from the bondage of self. I have often said that we are in bondage to self. All our problems result from that. Freedom lies in constantly dying to self and being resurrected into newness of life. No, not even Jesus can do that for you, despite what some misguided people may have told you. You, and you alone, must do ‘it’ for yourself. You, the person among persons that you are, can and must break the bondage of self---the prison-house of self you have made for yourself---if you want to really become the real person you were destined to be.

May you be resurrected into newness of life this Easter.


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