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The message and triumph of Easter

From the April 2004 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Mel Gibson's Movie, The Passion of the Christ, was hotly debated long before it hit the theaters in late February. Based on the 12 hours preceding the crucifixion of Jesus, it rekindled old animosities and threatened to ignite new ones. Some Jews feared that the movie could fuel anti-Semitism through characterizing them as murderers of the man Christians view as the Son of God.

How ironic that the life of Jesus, who taught the importance of love no matter what the circumstances, should be used as an excuse for enmity on both sides of the debate. Here was a man whose life embodied two commandments: to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" and to "love thy neighbour as thyself." Matt 22:37, 39. So I believe that the point of his life is missed by focusing on his crucifixion, rather than on his life, resurrection, and ascension.

That which caused Jesus' crucifixion in the first place and continues to fuel the animosity is hatred, which comes under the umbrella of animal magnetism, a term Mary Baker Eddy used in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures to describe the sum total of all evil. Sometimes evil entices one to believe that it is good, such as when one acts in the name of one's religion in a way that is completely contrary to the love one's religion teaches. But no matter how animal magnetism tries to dislodge harmony, the fact is that love and the conscious recognition of the power and presence of good can neutralize its effect. This is the promise and triumph of Easter.

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