EVERY YEAR ON EASTER SUNDAY, millions of Christians celebrate Jesus' resurrection of his body from the dead some 2,000 years ago. This time-honored event deserves recognition and celebration. Yet it's also vital to realize that a resurrection of thought is a present possibility for each of us to experience in some degree every day of our lives.
Mary Baker Eddy explained that from a spiritual perspective resurrection can be understood as: "Spiritualization of thought; a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence; material belief yielding to spiritual understanding" (Science and Health, p. 593).
The first time I glimpsed what resurrection means outside of the usual religious context was while I stood in front of a file cabinet gazing up at the big clock between my desk and my boss's office in City Hall where I worked. I was checking to see if I had time to work on pressing projects before some meetings started. Suddenly I realized that this was the wrong question. My spiritual intuition told me that the more fundamental question was: How is God expressing His divine qualities this very moment?
To experience resurrection, we need to follow the example of Jesus who overcame all mortal obstacles by always expressing his Christly nature.
The answer came to me, again, through spiritual intuition: God is the great I am expressing individuality in His creation. What this meant to me was that the great I am, which helped Moses do his monumental work, was also guiding me through my work load of a much smaller scale. I felt the humility this implied, the grace and gentleness of God working with me. In that moment of spiritual realization, I lost my sense of time and space. I saw that my identity was not primarily that of an office worker, but as the child of God. I felt a wonderful sense of freedom, as if I had come out of a tomb of pressure and self-doubt. I don't recall what work got done that day, but the significance of God at one with me, guiding me through my day, has stayed with me.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote that "real Life is God ..." (Science and Health, p. 51). Life, then, is not trying to meet deadlines. It's not juggling competing obligations and relationships. Life is God, who is our true being, our source, and our substance. Every time we have a glimpse of this spiritual reality, the mental boulders restricting us—like stones sealing us in a tomb—are removed to some degree. And we move forward, living more freely our oneness with divine Spirit, divine Life.
It can be frustrating, of course, when material beliefs don't quickly yield, or when they seem so entrenched that they mock whatever spiritual progress we have already made. Mental dullness, moral weakness, lack of inspiration, and the burden of unhealed problems can feel very dark and heavy, like being stuck in a tomb. In addressing this issue, Mary Baker Eddy asked, "What is it that seems a stone between us and the resurrection morning?
"It is the belief of mind in matter. We can only come into the spiritual resurrection by quitting the old consciousness of Soul in sense" (Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, p. 179).
To experience resurrection—to quit "the old consciousness"—we need to follow the example of Jesus, who overcame all mortal obstacles by always expressing his Christly nature. We may be bombarded every day with material evidence contrary to the perfect, spiritual, and eternal nature that Jesus so unequivocally demonstrated in his healing works and resurrection. Yet we can turn away from staring into any dark hole of materiality and lift our thought toward the spiritual sense of existence that Jesus showed us is the only real existence. Striving to live our lives in accord with this spiritual sense of life, we'll find ourselves renewed, resurrected, gravitating more and more toward the spiritual evidence of eternal Life.
I have always loved that after his resurrection—when Jesus talked with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus (see Luke 24:13-32), when he appeared to the disciples, who had assembled in a locked room for fear of the Jewish leaders (see John 20:19-21), and on the shores of Galilee (see John 21:1-14)—he didn't complain about the crucifixion. He didn't talk about how scary it had been to be in the tomb, or how cruel the soldiers were. He didn't berate Peter's cowardice for denying he knew Jesus (see Matt. 26:69-75), or condemn the others for being absent at the cross. He didn't dive into grief about Judas' betrayal and suicide (see Matt 27:3-5). Jesus expressed such authority and strength after the resurrection, he seemed unencumbered by any memory of suffering.
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.
The Christ-power that Jesus demonstrated in his unparalleled life is here right now, helping us to wake up from the dream of life in matter. We can stop agreeing to strictures on our lives and the inevitability of decline, deterioration, and death. When home, work, or church demands compete with each other, we can turn our thoughts to divine Principle's perfect ordering of the universe, expecting our schedules to conform to that perfect order. When our hearts ache with disappointment, we can acknowledge that divine Love is present, embracing us with tender care and comfort. When bodily ailments seem all-consuming, we can turn a listening ear to the Christ, to the divine messages that cancel suffering.
Every time we turn from the weariness of mortality to gratitude for our life in God, we experience resurrection—"material belief yielding to spiritual understanding." The Christ is here and now working as divine law in our lives, compelling our freedom from all aspects of mortal bondage. As we follow the light of the Christ—even in the most mundane experiences of our life, we day by day find our way out of the tomb of materiality into our eternal Life. And that makes every day an Easter day—a day of great rejoicing!
Contributing Editor Lois Rae Carlson practices and teaches Christian Science from her home base in Chicago, Illinois.
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