“Christ Is Risen”
Today we should rise to a realization of that mighty statement, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” From the minds of unnumbered millions this Easter day there is now proceeding the thought, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” But how many understand the real meaning as they utter the wonderful truth which these words embody?
The first statement, “I Am,” is that which includes all else. If I were to ask you what is the greatest, most wonderful, most mysterious thing in existence, what would you say? Man! But what is man? I can get a thousand different answers to that question, but the truest is this: Man is God manifest. You can describe man as spirit, as soul, as body, or as all these, and yet not epitomize the whole nature of man as God did when he told Moses to say, “I Am.” Think about yourself in your true relation, as the real I Am of God, and you will find that, wrapped up in the swaddling clothes of many external descriptions is the real thing, the greatest of all creation, I Am.
The greatest of all the metaphysicians of all the ages have never answered the question, “What is self-identity? What is that which says ‘I Am’?” It must be God; it must be the all-Potential, all-Possible One, and it is, it is.
When God expresses himself, he says, “I Am,” and that expression is man.
As we this morning give attention to the Spirit, let us realize that it is I Am. I Am is Spirit, and I Am is the lifting-up power. I Am is also the tearing-down power in those who are using wrong words in its name. The resurrection, the lifting-up, is the one dominant idea that is now being put forth by all people who really think and understand; and we are here to set that mighty I Am power into expression in all of its fullness, in all of its Truth. Then, let us pray to the Great Omnipresence by quietly entering into the silence of mind and in meditations and affirmations realize “I Am is the Resurrection and the Life.”
Let the Spirit and the Truth into your soul and say earnestly and fervently, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” Say it till the air palpitates with the thought; say it until tongues of living fire fill you and thrill you with Christ Life.
The word Easter is from Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of light or spring, in whose honor a festival was held in April. There has always been a time of rejoicing at about this season because of the springing forth of new life in the earth. When Christianity gave to the pagan nations the more spiritual truth taught by Jesus Christ, they found it expedient to incorporate, in order that these people might be reconciled, all, or nearly all, of their customs and rites and ceremonies in a religious way. And this is why we have Easter, and why it has become separated from its pagan idea and adopted and incorporated into Christianity as the time of the resurrection of Jesus.
Easter has a spiritual as well as a material side, and to the one who is bringing forth his spiritual nature, its significance in that realm is important. In order to understand this significance, it is necessary to go back and inquire what it was that was crucified. Some say it was Christ, others that it was Jesus. We say that it was neither of these. Christ is the perfect idea in Divine Mind, and could not have been killed. Jesus, as represented in this Scripture, is the perfected man, having all the attributes and powers of the Christ. This one also is indestructible. What was it, then, that was crucified?
There has been built up in the race-consciousness an ego which does not recognize God as the One Source of knowledge and power. This ego works from its own personal knowledge, and is trying to form a world of its own within God’s world. It is in Scripture designated as the “adversary,” sometimes translated “devil.” Its only personality is in the man who gives it sway in his consciousness. Every man has it in degree, and we are all sinners until the true Mind as it is in Christ is formed in us. Jesus Christ came to establish this Mind, and he took on for the time all the limitations of the average man. He had a perception of this mission, and the necessity of a certain crucifixion. This crucifixion he prophesied for himself, and insisted upon carrying out, and rebuked Peter when he suggested that it might not be. The “adversary” does not like to admit that it is a bundle of errors that must be wiped out; but this is just what must occur in everyone who demonstrates the Christ-consciousness. The false ego must be crucified.
Jesus Christ went through this experience for the benefit of all who desire to put on Christ. Not that we shall be wholly relieved of trial or suffering, but that we shall be carried along and finally succeed in getting out of sin, sickness and death, and into the kingdom of eternal life. We may seem to suffer during the crucifixion, as did Christ and Jesus when the adverse mind was being destroyed. When we know what is going on, we are not afraid nor concerned about the outcome. When the follower of Jesus suffers pain, he does not attribute to it a physical origin, but searches in the consciousness of the “adversary” for the cause, and having found it, immediately allows it to be crucified on the cross—that is, crossed out.
It is this adverse ego that causes all the trouble in the world. Its selfishness and greed make men grovel in the mire of materiality, when they might soar in the heavens of spirituality. It is this false ego that causes the body to be sick and die. The body is the lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, by this adverse mind, which Paul calls the “carnal mind.” Jesus said it was a liar from the beginning and the father of lies. It fastens its hypnotism upon the nobler aspirations and makes them commonplace. It betrays into the hands of materialism the Christ-consciousness, and finally meets its own crucifixion. Jesus took on himself “the likeness of sinful flesh,” and it was this “likeness” that was crucified, not Christ, the spiritual mind, nor Jesus, the perfected body, but Judas, the carnal mind, the Adversary, Satan, the Error Ego, the “Sinful Flesh.” This crucifixion goes on day by day in those who are striving to know God. Paul said, “I die daily.” Every time we deny some selfish thought or habit, we crucify the carnal ego. Man’s consciousness is a unit and all its experiences are co-ordinated. When one part suffers, other parts sympathize. Thus the good suffers with the evil in the crucifixion, and error or sin must be wholly eradicated before the body can ascend and remain in the high mind of God. Thus Jesus Christ suffers with Judas—yet not hopelessly. “In all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
The Spirit reveals to those who are seeking the kingdom that their efforts are crowned with success whenever they give up willingly the sinner Judas, and allow him to be crucified. The real mind and the real body cannot be killed, but always rise to higher planes of thought after every crucifixion. Since there is sympathetic connection through identification of man with his thought, there must of necessity be suffering in the crucifixion, until by the word of denial the error is eliminated.
This is the resurrection—the coming to consciousness of the one undying Life, Love, Substance and Intelligence—Divine Mind, finding its perfect manifestation in man’s consciousness. This Truth, having been formed in the conscious thought, works itself into manifestation in three steps, or days. The first step is, “I am Spirit;” the second step is, “I am Mind,” and the third, “My body is spiritual.” The indwelling I Am at the center of the consciousness, and the great Oversoul that inspired Jesus, is Christ. The body is lifted up by a concentrated realization of spiritual thought in conscious mind, based upon an understanding of the great law of undying spiritual potentiality. Jesus said, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit.” So we, in stepping out of the tomb of mortality, should always make a unity with the Father, and through this establish a sure foundation for the ascension which is to follow.
The loving Mary represents human sympathy which “stoops down” and looks into the tomb for the Lord, but “he is risen,” and she finds him walking in the garden. Beware of the limitations of human love—look for your masterful I Am thought, Jesus, in the Omnipresent Living Force and Vitality of the One Life penetrating and permeating every part of your body, which is the garden of God. Human sympathy holds us to material conditions when we think we are free. Those who are spiritualizing the consciousness are very apt to be pulled back into mortal ways through their personal loves, when just about to succeed. When Jesus said to Mary, “Touch me not, for I have not yet ascended to my Father,” he represented the Wisdom of the I Am in this respect, which does not allow human love to bind it on its upward way.
“Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” The weeping Mary and the sad disciples “stooping down” and looking into the tomb for their living Master, represent the forgetfulness of sense-consciousness in the presence of negativeness. Jesus plainly taught that he would rise from the dead, yet his disciples forgot this, and sought amongst the dead for the living. The church is looking into the tomb for the victorious Jesus, when it teaches that he was crucified and that he “died” on the cross. Paul talked about being “crucified with Christ,” but he meant that, accompanying Christ in crossing out our sins, we shall rise above them as he did. This is made possible through the overcoming work done by him. By the quickening within us of the Christ-consciousness of life, we enter into life. “If Christ be not risen from the dead your faith is vain.”
It will not be through the introduction into his veins of some vitalizing serum that man shall overcome death and immortalize his body, but through a realization of the Christ-mind and its power to raise that body to a higher life-consciousness. Jesus told Mary that he would go before her into Galilee, which means that the Spiritual Consciousness precedes the human concept of life (Mary) into the Divine Energy, represented by Galilee (vibration). We must ever be sending out our ideals ahead of our realizations until we arrive at the goal—conscious unity with God, “My Father and your Father, and my God and your God.”
All the graveyards and tombs will be deserted and turned into parks when men and women decide to follow Jesus in the resurrection. It is the bodies of people that are buried, and it is these same bodies that we are commanded to raise up. This resurrection is not at some great Easter day, but every day that the consciousness perceives the mighty Truth that man does not have to die, but can with Jesus go through a transforming process which results in the redemption of the body. This transformation is the resurrection, and it is a daily casting off of the old and putting on of the new. This change goes on until the whole man is renewed, and he becomes indeed a new creature in Christ Jesus. It is in this way we “put on immortality.”
We literally “die daily” and are resurrected daily. The three “days” or steps in mentality that bring the consciousness of the Indwelling Life in the body, can be realized in a moment and all the degrees taken in a flash of spiritual light when the soul is seeking God.
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”—I Cor. 15:21, 22.