This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Lecture given on June 10, 1976
20:11But Mary was standing without at the tomb weeping: so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 20:12and she beholdeth two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 20:13And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 20:14When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and beholdeth Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 20:15Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou hast borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 20:16Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turneth herself, and saith unto him in Hebrew, Rabboni; which is to say, Teacher. 20:17Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God. 20:18Mary Magdalene cometh and telleth the disciples, I have seen the Lord; and that he had said these things unto her.
We have talked about crucifixion; now let us go to the second facet of Holy Week, which is resurrection. Our text will be on Page 242 in “Harmony of the Gospels”, John 20:11-18.
Remember that we are reading of Mary Magdalene, not Mary, the mother of Jesus. I once heard a Unity minister on a Sunday say, "The mother of Jesus said, 'They have taken away my Lord.’” Many people in the congregation were disappointed, so remember that is Mary Magdalene.
As is the case with Christmas, the meaning of Easter should be sought for not in the spectacular nature of the events themselves but in the meaning behind the whole experience as recorded. You see, the literal person of Jesus was being used by Himself to focus our attention on the experience He was demonstrating, because the Easter experience contains a meaning which is one of the most important laws of the universe: resurrection. Now, too often people think of the resurrection of Jesus as some kind of isolated phenomenon.
We tend to view it as a single event that took place in the life of this planet's most highly developed soul, and it is often regarded as a spectacular miracle or as a proof that Jesus was indeed a super-conscious being. Then again, some persons regard resurrection as a divinely arranged something to come, something which is going to occur in the future; while these views of resurrection, in certain respects, are correct, they are all missing the point. They are too limited. They do not cite the most important meaning of all, which is that resurrection is a universal process, a divine law, which must go on all the time. You see, the literal historical events of Easter merely illustrated the individual resurrection of the person of Jesus; but the universal and the spiritual purpose of the events of Easter are to illustrate the process of resurrection, which is for all persons in the human family. If a person fails to understand this, then to some extent the whole meaning of Easter, as given to us by Jesus, is sort of wasted, it is nothing more than a holiday to let the children eat more candy than they should. This is not what we want to do.
Basically the word resurrection could be two things, it involves two things: first, it refers to something being restored to a state from which it may have departed or fallen or slipped, to resurrect back to what it once was. Or, it also refers to being raised to a state higher than its former level or state. Resurrection is usually preceded by a temporary period of transition, which looks like the death of something, not always but usually this happens. In the symbolism of the life of Jesus, the resurrection, as you know, was a part of a trilogy of symbols: crucifixion, resurrection, ascension. By tradition, we have taken all three of these symbols and combined them into one great celebration, which we call Easter. It is interesting to note that we do the same thing with the beginning stage of Jesus' ministry as we do here in the ending stage.
In the beginning we again take a trilogy of symbols: annunciation, immaculate conception, and virgin birth; then we take these three symbols and combine them into one great celebration. We call it Christmas. Christmas symbolizes a savior in each individual human being, as well as the human race. Easter symbolizes the unfoldment of eternal life for each individual human being, and a vital part of the unfoldment of eternal life for you and me and everyone is in understanding and believing in the process of resurrection.
Right at this very moment for each and every one of us, God's law of resurrection is doing mighty work in many, many parts of your mind, your body and your affairs. In this very moment, many things within you and in your life are in process of being quickened and raised from dormant states or slipped-back levels and being made part of a new level of your development. Now understand, much of this occurs below the conscious level of your mind, but it is occurring just the same. Some of it is occurring consciously; and as we grow and unfold and become more illumined, more and more of it will be done in the conscious level, and less and less needed in the subconscious level. Now the process of resurrection, remember, is not something strange or mysterious or separate and apart from your normal living. It is a logical part of the unfoldment of your consciousness and expression of eternal life.
Remember that resurrection is not something connected only with important or spectacular moments or events in your life or changes in your body. It is a process which is intimately connected with all the everyday details and most minute events of your life and body. Remember, nothing good in your life ever ends. Nothing real in your life ever ends. The only things in your life which end are those that are unreal, useless, or negative. Everything worthwhile about your life is eternal but not statically eternal. You see, too many people think of eternal or enduring in the static sense, and that is not it at all but rather everything worthwhile about you is not statically eternal but progressively eternal. By this, we mean that the good and the real in your life do not just remain enduring in set, unchanging form all the time. For instance, if a person's good looks, which is an expression of the divine idea of beauty, takes a form as certain contours and certain arrangements of facial and anatomical features; but that form of the expression of beauty will change, because all forms change. It cannot be a static eternality, so that type of expression may change into an expression of beauty appropriate to other phases of a person's incarnation; and even though a person may not have the prettiness or the comeliness that he or she once had in earlier life, the beauty of that person need and should not diminish in any way because beauty is a reality and beauty really is in the eyes of the beholder as far as the nature-side of it goes. But the real beauty of the divine idea will continue to be a part of that person's life and expression.
All the worthwhile things about a person’s life go through development and variation, and this includes one's health, one's supply, one's living conditions, one's work, one's amusement, one's relationship, and all our inner and outer sources of true satisfaction. Now, all of these may sometimes and usually do, come to the end of certain form; but they are always resurrected into some different but higher form. They remain part of the unfoldment of your eternal life. This is the process of resurrection. You may think you have lost something because its form-expression has come to an end, but never forget the law. It will be resurrected into another form within your being, somehow. Its meaning will not change. Its character will not change, but its form will change. If we remember that, we do not get alarmed. We do not let our hearts get troubled. We know the law.
Q. I think the form takes expression, though, according to the way the divine idea is eternalized in the subconscious mind.
A. Yes, and that form can be determinedly different factors in the subconscious. We are trying to learn to put all these determining decisions into the I AM rather than into the ego-self. Let the I AM be the determiner, the guider, of the choices of form. Then we are always safe.
In the Gospel-biography of Jesus, this process is illustrated in the very spectacular manner, which was the resurrection of the entire person of Jesus. While this, too, will be a part of the pattern of unfoldment for each one of us, most of our current resurrections are not on that grand scale. Most of our demonstrations of the process of resurrection occur in the very personal and intimate details of our day-to-day living, so that we hardly take cognizance of many of them and seldom call them resurrection. We call them happenings. They are happenings based on a very real and wonderful divine law.
Now, probably the most familiar example of the process of resurrection is that beautiful experience called healing. See how it works. There are times in a person's life when a certain portion of their good health seems to have died. In other words, they get sick in some portion of their life-expression; so, to ordinary thinking, you would say that this section of your good health has died, has come to an end. So we call that state of the death of this part of our good health, the tomb. That part is dead and buried. How often have you heard people say, "Well I lost my health." It is a dead and buried thing, but if we stop looking in the tomb, which is wrong.
We look at the outer appearance and the symptoms, and we think that this portion of our health has been crucified, and in a sense, has died. We then feel that we have only a corpse or a memory of our former good health. How many people have you heard say, "I remember when I felt better and when I used to be able to ...” They are thinking of that portion of their good health as something dead and buried, a memory of it, a corpse of it, but you see, this is wrong. Our emotions are looking into a tomb called "it used to be" or "sickness” and we think that the only thing we can hope to find is a memory of it or a corpse.
Mary Magdalene was willing to settle for just the corpse of Jesus, if she could find it. So many people will settle for just a memory of their good health, and they need not do this, just as Mary did not need to settle for the corpse of Jesus. She had direct contact with the living presence of Jesus now, not "it used to be" but right now, the living presence of Jesus Christ was there. Well, right now people who believe they have lost their health, "You have taken away my health and I know not where you have laid it.” Right now is their point of contact with the divine idea of health. Healing Now said Mary Catherine MacDougall, Happiness now; so if we stop looking into the tomb and turn our minds to the now and to the life, the life of God's healing presence and power, we soon realize that our resurrection is occurring; the Christ-life in us will resurrect or re-manifest as greater and fuller life.
Sometimes a certain aspect of one of our human relationships seems to come to an end. Now, we look upon this termination of a certain human relationship or aspect of a human relationship as a sort of death, don't we? We say, "My romance-died". We look upon certain forms of human relationships as a kind of death, and we may get very, very sad about this. We may find our emotion, Mary Magdalene, looking into a tomb called "lost love” or “broken marriage” or “child who did not turn out right” or “fear of loneliness”. How many people, dear ones are living under the sword of Damocles which they call, “I might find myself all alone someday.” Oh what useless fear that is! We may think that we have only the corpse of the memory of happiness. The song “Yesterdays” by Jerome Kern is sung by an old woman who is a famous and notorious courtesan in her youth, and she sings about the glory and glamour of those days, which she is now dreaming about, yesterdays, and today she has nothing. Why has she nothing today? Because she believes it and feels guilty about her rampant treading upon the hearts of her youth. What a candidate for Unity that gal is!
Again, if we stop believing in the tomb of lost happiness, turn our minds to the light of God's life, God's divine idea of universal oneness and unity, then we shall bear witness to a resurrection. We find that although certain forms of relationships which might have brought us happiness may have terminated for us, those old relationships have conditioned us and have prepared us for newly developing types of relationships. The corpse of old memories of happy relationships will be resurrected into the living body of new and meaningful but different kinds or relationships, which will bring us happiness. You have had your crucifixion and you will have but we also have to remember resurrection.
In regard to this process of resurrection and how it pertains to our personal life, Paul has something very interesting to say about this. Now remember, I equate this directly with the law of resurrection, "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" (I Cor. 2:9). There it is. This describes the ever-renewingness of good in your life; the process of resurrection is going on all the time.
Q. In my mind, I still have a question as to how regeneration and resurrection tie into together.
A. That is a good question, and I am glad you brought it up. Remember these are words, and they both mean the same thing; however, with this difference. Resurrection, as we are now, is occurring almost all in subconsciousness. When it becomes a fully conscious thing, it is called regeneration. It is not under our real control now. It is a result of our choices now, mostly in the subconscious; but when it becomes a fully conscious thing that we are directing, that we are in charge of, it is regeneration.
Text of the original transcript at the second paragraph of p.309 through the 6th paragraph of p.312.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-15-2014