Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Story of Easter

Easter is the festival of triumph. It follows what is traditionally called Holy Week. The word “holy,” in the context of our metaphysical study, means whole and complete, not sanctimonious. It means physical health. It means freedom of the soul, peace of mind, and the unity of life that is the will of God for all people. Easter signifies nothing less than this. For many people, Easter commemorates a marvelous event that happened twenty centuries ago. But they feel it has little bearing on the present day, and thus the Bible, in one of its great moments, loses its spiritual import. Easter is not a thing of the past, but a grand and glorious awakening for us today and tomorrow and for all the days to come.

Long before Jesus came on earth, long before Abraham went out into the new land, the festival of Easter was observed. In the ancient civilizations, long before written history, people kept the festival of springtime, because that is what Easter is. Civilizations have always celebrated the coming of spring with special rites and ceremonies, because we have intuitively felt that regeneration and resurrection are part of the law of life. The true law of our lives has no part in death. Death is not part of God’s scheme. By the fundamental law of nature, all living things constantly renew, fulfill a cycle, and renew. The seasons have followed one another, never failing through all the millions of years that the solar system has been in existence. Following winter, spring has always come. The trees seem to die away. The leaves fall off, the flowers decay, but spring comes, and they are renewed. Human beings have felt that this process had a special message for them. So always there has been the spring festival following the vernal equinox.

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 others had done. But he wanted to make it possible for us to follow him in the regeneration and resurrection. Sooner or later, as individuals and as a race, we have to overcome death. Death is the last enemy that will be overcome. When we have overcome death, we will 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. There are those who say that humankind is necessarily sinful and can never be otherwise. Such an idea is spiritual blindness and an insult to God. Sin, sickness and limitation are not part of God’s plan for us. Sooner or later, we are going to overcome them. All the things that make life on earth so difficult—sickness, fear, threats of war, aggression of one nation against another, one set of people in terror of another set of people—these things will all disappear. Do not listen to pessimists, because they are at heart atheists. The truth is that God is good, and as the human race realizes this more and more, these things will disappear.

For hundreds of millions of years, the seasons have told us this story again and again. The winter of doubt and fear and frustration will ultimately disappear for the whole human race. Spring will come with its promise and summer with its fulfillment. That is the story of Easter.

- From The Bible Unveiled, by Emmet Fox
A Newt List publication, updated and gender-neutral

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