Easter is the celebration of the triumph of Life over death, the triumph of Love over hate, the triumph of Truth over the lie. There are many ways to celebrate this event, and I find four ways fresh and doable.
The first is to take time to honor the daffodil, the traditional Easter flower where I live. Easter we are honoring God in the most special way, and we are talking about the creator of the universe, being expressed in countless forms and ideas, from billions of solar systems and galaxies, planets, suns and stars to whales, d-minor, chocolate, and daffodils. And in the Psalms we read: "He counts the stars and calls them all by name." (Psalm 147: 4) --- and if divine Mind, the consciousness of Life, knows the name of each star, it will certainly know about all the infinite minutiae of creation, too, including whales and daffodils.
Second, it might broaden your horizon to know that not only the Bible talks about Jesus Christ, but also Roman historiography. Flavius Josephus, a Roman historian singles out his healing power and writes about the Easter event:
"About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared." (Testimonium Flavianum. Book 18. Chapter 3.3)
Yes, third, this "tribe of the Christians" has not disappeared, and this tribe is linking his/her own experience to the Christ. Lois Carlson wrote in her article "Easter Day, every Day" something about our lives being linked to Easter and uplifted through the Easter spirit, that has stayed with me. I printed out the article into my notebook and have been enriched by it ever since. Here are her words:
"Following Jesus' example, we don't need to ruminate over bad things that have happened to us. We don't even have to speculate on other adversities that might happen in the future. Instead, the Christ—described in Science and Health as "the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" (p. 332)—is telling us that this is the moment to live in the freedom of God's all-encompassing love. This is the moment to honor the good of life as the precious evidence of God's presence and power. This is the moment to walk away from the misery of mortality and live in the joy of our relationship with our Father-Mother, God.
What this divine heritage means is that we can stop living in fear. There is no obligation to feel harried, to live pressured lives. Similarly, there is no blanket of boredom cast over empty days. Each and every day the Christ is present in our thought to silence speculation about the worst possibilities—to resurrect thought through fresh ideas and solutions." (For the whole article by Lois Carlson click here).
And fourth, adding to this is the encounter with the sound of resurrection. There is the most profound wisdom and truth in the music by Johann Sebastian Bach. I recommend this Easter the Chaconne by Bach (it is the final part of the second partita for solo violin). I don't do this because Bach is a German composer, I am doing it because his music is universal. Bach regarded himself to be a "cosmologist of music", or, as Dr. Bernard Chazelle said, as a "discoverer of music". Bernard Chazelle, a professor of Computer Science at Princeton university, writes:
"...Bach saw himself like Newton, not as the maker of a craft, but as a discoverer of the laws of the musical universe, of aesthetics. And so, for him, it was a way, you know, every piece he wrote, Bach, he signed as SDG, Soli Deo Gloria. You know, to the glory of God, alone. That's what it means. To the glory of God alone. The key word is alone. Because it's not to the glory of God and me, the composer. It's to the glory of God and nobody else. Because the whole point was that he was out to glorify God by showing — by discovering the relation between nature and God. That was his only goal."
Bach composed the Chaconne in 1720 after he had returned from a long trip to earn money and learned upon his return that his wife had died and already been buried. Bach had lost his parents before he was ten, and in the course of his married life ten children died. So there is this personal experience of grief and loss and this profound understanding of the whole picture. In Bach you encounter a man who turns constantly away from mortality to something so enormous, grand, and glorious that it mightily outweighs any mortal sense of life while speaking to humanity with mercy and compassion. Bach truly discovered something deep and hidden in the Science of being in his own way and communicates this discovery in music - a universe of its own. You can read the whole inspiring and fascinating exchange of ideas between Dr. Bernhard Chazelle and Krista Tippett from "On Being" here.
These new thoughts about Bach will be meaningful and of a resurrecting quality to you, and only then, if you make the experience of listening to his music. So please give Gidon Kremer your attention as he is playing Bach's Chaconne - it is only 14 minutes long - "on a single staff, for a small instrument, a whole world of the deepest thoughts"... as another composer, Johannes Brahms, wrote.
Divine Love is present in everything good you see and feel, and as Lois Carlson, wrote: "This is the moment to honor the good of life as the precious evidence of God's presence and power."
About four weeks ago my husband passed on. He was the love of my life, my best friend for decades, my team partner and colleague since I can think, the father of our children, a trustworthy friend, a remarkable practitioner and teacher of Christian Science. So you can imagine my or my family's feelings - what this means to us and what inner work is involved to see the whole picture, to rebuild ourselves from the inside out. Without Love and Her eternal embrace, we wouldn’t feel the peace and gratitude, we feel. Love alone is Life.
Although there is so much good and spiritual power evident and although we all felt and feel the victory and progressive step this involves for himself, as well as the spiritual uplift with which divine Love is holding not only him but also us in her unique way, he is missed. There is a rhythm in Life, and this rhythm is healing, it is kind and it is right, and this rhythm leads me gently forward. There is difference between healing grief and learning to move forward in a new way, and I am experiencing progress under Love's divine care. We are giving ourselves the four seasons in their fullness to not only know that Life is continuous, transformative, grand, but to feel it without the blink of an eye and feel the normalcy of Life without my husband. Kindness with ourselves is the divine way to healing, as it is in the Christian Science practice, and this is true also for our family.
One particularly challenging day a friend, who with much spiritual power supported all of us, had written me a simple text: "Creation is intact, just feel it. Only that."
Yes, I thought, through the veil of tears, I accept that, I feel it and I know that this is true. I really do. I spent the entire day feeling myself into the intactness of creation, into the divine energies of Spirit, Mary Baker Eddy speaks about, and understanding deeper than ever before the absolute power of Life to hold Her entire creation complete and intact without losing one single idea, not even the tiniest one, not to talk about my dear Klaus. The very next morning I awoke with this inspiring message directly from divine Love, it felt: "Creation, you know, has not been indented, not in the least.” I realized that Mind is thinking His creation by perceiving ideas and manifesting them. After all it is His world, we live in --- His world, we are, the world of infinite ideas. And this world is intact and has not suffered a loss.
I took out the Bible and did something I haven't done in a long time: I read the entire record of creation in one reading. I felt the power of the intactness of creation. Mind cannot stop creating and envisioning new and ever more glorious ways of showing forth its unending resources. Mind cannot stop remembering, Mind is the memory, the Cause and the beginning of everything. Because Mind never forgets, we are immortal - everything Mind thinks or creates is here forever. Right where we are.
So what followed the same day was the impulse to step into this divine, intact world, and the inspiration told me to start swimming with the whales, in a figurative way. I truly love and admire forever, like many of you, the depth of the ocean, the mighty blue, the majesty of the seas. So the sea is giving me a vivid example of the vastness of creation. While you read this, an incredible wonder of activity is going on out there - blue whales and sea turtles and sea lions and dolphins and clown fishes and crabs and lobsters and flying fishes and halibuts and humpback whales and krill and manatees and octopuses and oysters and plankton and sea cucumbers, and sea otters and a million other elements inhabit this mysterious, glorious kingdom of its own, like nations in their own right, expressing the richness and splendid grandeur of divine creativity. Before my inner eye this world unfolded a mighty image of creation, forever developing, expanding, progressing - alive. Such fullness, such richness, such goodness, such diversity – all in one.
Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being. The Scripture reads: "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being."
It is pretty obvious to me that in order to truly meet anyone, we must trust Mind to manifest it – we truly meet when we recognize each other as Mind sees us, and this communion is eternal. The whole picture shows us where and how we are. Human reasoning simply has not all the information we need, Mind knows it all, the mighty center and consciousness of all, the All-in-all.
So I started slowly "to swim with the whales" – to move forward and enter with a sense of expectancy the grand activity of Life itself, to answer Love’s gentle calling. "To swim with the whales" means to me being in Life and participating in the beautiful vitality of being - in my experience this translates into listening, nurturing a spiritual sense of expectation, of being really still and watching out for good, it means praying and exercising the skill of gratitude. Our daughter and I started a gorgeous puzzle with an artistic interpretation of Noah’s ark, I am reading a novel a friend gave to me, I met a friend, I am going to attend a concert of Schubert's String Quintett with our son. My husband and I had planned to spend a week at the seaside, and I will go this weekend, spending time at the Baltic Sea and “swimming with the whales”. I honor my husband’s infinite life and his noble and unique individuality --- and I can already see how choosing the narrow and straight path of Life leads into the wide open of Life, right where everyone and everything is and always will be.
When learning about my husband's passing, friends responded by sending us a hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal and adding that we should read this as a letter from him to us. We have done so many, many times and continue to explore the depths of its beautiful message - "the calm and joy of things immortal, the loveliness of Love is all around."
From sense to Soul my pathway lies before me,
From mist and shadow into Truth's clear day;
The dawn of all things real is breaking o'er me,
My heart is singing: I have found the way.
I reach Mind's open door, and at its portal
I know that where I stand is holy ground;
I feel the calm and joy of things immortal,
The loveliness of Love is all around.
The way leads upward and its goal draws nearer,
Thought soars enraptured, fetterless and free;
The vision infinite to me grows clearer,
I touch the fringes of eternity.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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