Speaker: Sandy Souder, March 27, 2016

Good Morning Beloved!

A couple had two little mischievous boys, ages 8 and 10. They were always getting into trouble, and their parents knew that if any mischief occurred in their town, their sons would get the blame.

The boys’ mother heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The clergyman agreed and asked to see them individually.

So, the mother sent her 8-year-old first, in the morning, with the older boy to see the clergyman in the afternoon.

The clergyman, a huge man with a booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, “Where is God?”

The boy’s mouth dropped, but he made no response, sitting there with his mouth hanging open.

The clergyman repeated the question. “Where is God?”

Again, the boy made no attempt to answer.

So, the clergyman raised his voice some more and shook his finger in the boy’s face and bellowed, “Where is God!?”

The boy screamed and bolted from the room. He ran directly home and dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him.

When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, “What happened?”

The younger brother, gasping for breath, replied: “We are in real BIG trouble this time! God is missing, and they think we did it!”

Easter Sunday

Last week we took a look at the metaphysics of the Holy Week from the raising of Lazarus the Saturday before Palm Sunday to the Dark Night of the Soul in the tomb on the Saturday, after the crucifixion.

You were presented with more than a few questions regarding the events that occurred throughout the week and what they could possibly mean to your life as it unfolds Spiritually.

So, how did you do with those questions?  Did anything resonate with you? I do not hold it against you if you didn’t contemplate any of them or if you didn’t go and read the additional questions that were posted; we all must travel this journey on our own time. So, maybe something will come up and prompt you to look at the questions again.  It’s all in Divine Order.  We are just glad that you are on the journey with us.

So, today we look at the Resurrection.  What does THAT mean to us, to you?

You all know that Unity does not follow the traditional Christian belief that ‘Jesus died for our sins.’  We do not believe we are sinners.  Not born in original sin.  Nope.

We believe we were born with Original Blessing.  Big difference there.

So, no sin.  Mistakes, yes.  Error thinking.  Yes.  Not sin, but missing the mark.  With the opportunity to choose again.  And again. And again, if necessary.

What DID Jesus die for then?  What is the whole thing about the crucifixion and resurrection?

Well, part of it is what the Prophets proclaimed in the Hebrew Bible, a Savior would come to free the people; would ride, humbly, into Jerusalem to the song, Hosanna in the highest, a Son of king David no less.  And then there is the predictions from Jesus himself that the Temple would be destroyed and built back in three days.

But you know that much of the story of Jesus parallels that of other “GODS”. For example, the Egyptian god Horus or the Greek god Dionysus. Their histories are similar and the writers of the Gospels may have thought they needed to ‘build Jesus up’ for whatever reason.

In the long run, is it important? No.  One has FAITH in the teachings, not the person.  You do not worship me, but you follow the teachings.  See the important difference? Jesus is our Way-shower, just as many other Masters have wisdom that they have given to us through the ages.

And all of us are teachers in our own ways, showing the way to who we truly are.

SO, what does the crucifixion, resurrection and transformation have to teach us?

We ALL have these moments in our lives, do we not?   Times when we felt abandoned, alone, getting hit from all sides.  Look back through your life…those times when you felt as if you were being crucified for whatever reason.  Did you recover?  Are you recovering?  THAT is your resurrection.

I can recall a situation when I was working for the State of Pennsylvania, my Big Boss had put me in a group of co-workers with the direction to look for ways to improve communication among our Division.  When we came with suggestions at our Division meeting, I was presenting our ideas to the larger group.  And I was left alone and hit from every side from the people in the Division, reacting from fear of change. I received no support from anyone, not even the other people in the group assigned to make these same suggestions.  Not from the Boss who placed me in the position in the first place.

When I walked out of the meeting, I felt like I was crucified…and I said so.

But we are defined more by our resurrections than our crucifixions, are we not?

Though it doesn’t feel comfortable at the time, we must allow ourselves to be vulnerable, what Jesus meant by “you must lose yourself to find yourself” in Mark 8:35, that vulnerability allows for change, growth, and transformation to happen.

This was just one example of a ‘growth opportunity’ that strengthened me.

In his book Keep a True Lent, Charles Fillmore explained, “The resurrection takes place in us every time we rise to Jesus’ realization of the perpetual indwelling life that is connecting us to the Father. A new flood of life comes to all who open their minds and their bodies to the living word of God.”

So, we experience EASTER every time we are open to the Christ Presence within each of us.  It happens every day.

The Easter story is about an old way being crucified so something new can be born. This is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. When someone experiences a divorce, the death of a partner, loses a job, or experiences a shift in external circumstances, an old identity dies so a new one can be born.

Think about the different times you ‘re-make’ yourself.  Old becomes new.

“Metaphysically, the resurrection is our power to overcome, to restore, to renew with health, peace, love, prosperity, and joy, whatever it is that we are trying to revive,” this according to Rev. Gaylon McDowell, senior assistant minister at Christ Universal Temple in Chicago.  “For those in poor health, regaining health is resurrection. People experience resurrection when their relationship or financial problems are resolved through the realization that God is the source of their supply. Anytime we explore new ideas or new possibilities, we are experiencing a resurrection.”

The Easter story demonstrates that there is something within us that was here before we incarnated and remains after seeming death. Death is not the end of life, rather the continuation of the life process. Jesus proved this in the great demonstrations known as the resurrection and the ascension. Jesus’ essence was so spiritualized that he was able to say “the Father and I are one.” He was serving as a reminder that there is no separation between us and Spirit. It is the recognition that there is only Divine Spirit; all else is just an illusion.

Interesting enough, in Aramaic the word for death also means “not present, but somewhere”.  Think about that…

We look to Jesus as a model for how to resurrect from our own crucifixion experiences. The Easter story is a reminder that no matter what seems to happen to us, it does not have the final word. Everything is not as it seems. We can look beyond appearances and recognize that there is a divine plan unfolding. Our task is to hold on to that vision until our life bears witness to truth that liberates us and sets us free.

Any resurrection is built on the consciousness of forgiveness. Only then can we see the gift in the seeming betrayals in life. When people or situations betray the pictures that we have in our mind of how things should be, that is when we must invoke the consciousness of forgiveness.

And not just forgiveness of the other, but also of ourselves.  Byron Katie would have us ask, Is it true?  Is it still true that the situation is happening?  NO, we are in a different present moment now.  It was a picture we had in our mind of what was or should be.

What are you holding onto as if it is happening now but is a past experience?  This is where your forgiveness work begins.

We can see the statement of “forgive them for they know not what they do” from a different perspective. Our critics or so-called enemies are really our best friends in disguise. Such people push us to new levels of being and make us do things we wouldn’t likely do without their assistance. Such people make us pray when we don’t want to or when we don’t have the spiritual discipline to do it on our own. They make us see our part in the fray.  They make us realize we are ready for a change.

They make us look at things and situations from a different perspective; at least they do if we are willing to go there….

Those people who seem to be against us don’t know what they’re doing. They’re actually making us access dimensions of our being that we would not be able to touch without their help. So we forgive them, for they didn’t really know what they were doing. They are supporting our own resurrection process and helping our life become fully supported by Spirit. We realize there is only God, only good, and we don’t need anything else.

In other words, we can say this situation is an opportunity to go beyond our self-imposed boundaries. This opportunity is calling for the highest and best within us to shine as never before.

We are reminded of our workshop with Rev. Stephanie, “No one and nothing is against you,” From the book, “The I of the Storm.”

Jesus has been giving us clues all along on how to access this eternal dimension and spiritualize all aspects of our life. We would ask ourselves: What did he do? What was his way of being in the world?

Well, he prayed all the time. He often stole away from the masses to keep his communion with Spirit high. He did this as a way of life and not just in an emergency. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say, “There was an emergency and Jesus went to the mountain and prayed.” No. He prayed all the time and, as a result, when the big moments came, was “prayed up.”

I can remember when I was at Unity Village, hearing that phrase a lot.  Being ‘prayed up” meant you were ready for what came.  Every breath is a prayer.  What are you breathing into your prayers?

So, when the seeming betrayal in the form of Judas took place, Jesus was ready. We are reminded: it was a seeming betrayal. Judas is often unjustly maligned. But without Judas sacrificing himself, Jesus would not be remembered today. Sacrifice means to make sacred. Judas is often condemned as the one who loved Jesus the least. In fact, he may have been one who loved him more than anyone. He served as the catalyst for the resurrection to take place.

So we see the seeming betrayals in our life from that vantage point and begin to practice a new way of being in the world. We no longer see ourselves as victims but as vehicles of pure Spirit.

The entire universe is asking that we be our true selves.

St. Catherine of Sienna said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Within everyone is a sacred gift, our divine purpose.

It was for this purpose we were born. Spirit transforms our world a little at a time by means of us. WE are needed to shine our light to make this world a better place. When we let our light shine, we will rise above any crucifixion experience and the entire world will celebrate the Easter of our hearts and we will rise.

“I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.”

Easter is not merely the celebration of the life of Jesus. He reminds us that we are capable of doing even greater things than he did. We love and celebrate the master teacher by practicing his principles, living his teachings, and following his example.  Let God be God through you.