We do so many crazy things in the external to celebrate “Easter” that we should really spend time hunting for its meaning rather than for colored eggs. We long for baskets of jelly beans, chocolate rabbits and marshmallow peeps — delivered by that elusive bunny rather than centering in the Spirit that is always here. We eat hams, hens, ducks, potato salad, collard greens, and coconut frosted cakes rather than spiritual sustenance that would never leave us hungry. In some countries, there is even kite-flying, cross-country skiing, and courtship spankings — rather than the realization that “Easter” is not to celebrate the flesh but to uplift the Spirit.
There are so many traditions that have evolved through Anglo-Saxon pagan rituals, that the full meaning of “Easter” has been lost — somewhere between the name itself (speculated to have evolved from the Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre or Eoaster, referring to the goddess Ēostre) and endless bickering over the earthly timing of what is really a spiritual event (whether to observe it after the equinox, when the ancients celebrated the Passover, or calculate it independently). So it makes sense that we have completely forgotten that this tribute is not about a new bonnet or patent leather shoes.
Easter is about Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross and the blood that was shed for our salvation. But more importantly, it is about resurrection. Even before he was crucified, Jesus taught that death would not contain his Spirit. In Capernaum (John 2:19-21 NIV), Jesus told the Jews who protested after he cleaned out the temple, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” The Bible says that the temple Jesus spoke of was his body. Jesus said (John 11:25-26), “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
Jesus did not dwell on the actions of the men who were responsible for his crucifixion, he simply asked God for their forgiveness because he knew that “[t]he Spirit gives life; [but] the flesh counts for nothing.” (John 6:63) He said, “I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51) When we understand the awesome power of Jesus’ ministry and embrace it as part of our own life, we are born into a new consciousness; we walk with a new strength; we transcend the appearances of life; we realize that the Kingdom of God is within.
As Jesus told Nicodemus, “no one can seek the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” To fully realize the infinite blessings that Spirit is expressing as us, we have to form new beliefs, new understandings, new celebrations of the all-encompassing power of God. We can no longer be afraid to ask for whatever we want in the material and the physical world. We can no longer be afraid to be the person that God has called us to be. We can no longer care what anyone else says or thinks.
Our lives are opportunities for spiritual rebirth. Our lives are divine appointments to walk the water of our transgressions and evolve into a completely new creature of faith. Easter celebrates a transformation of the soul that raises our consciousness in a new awareness. If we really open our hearts, our minds and our souls in the resurrecting power of God, our old self will die and a new self will be born.
This calls for a new tradition of Easter: one where we feel the peace that Jesus left his students with and receive the Holy Spirit that now lives in us. After Jesus was resurrected, he told his disciples “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22) As believers, as disciples, as students of Christ, we too are blessed with the peace and the breath and the light. These blessings only require us to release the person we once were and become the phenomenal person that we are.
Jesus gave us a new commandment. He said love one another. Our resurrection is neither fear nor strife; it is simply love. If God is love, so are we. Love is our story, our truth and our victory. Love is our resurrection. Love is our faith. As my brother Chris said the other day, Jesus’ story is my story. Jesus’ story is forever re-telling itself in the eternal wisdom of the Unlimited Power of the Universe.
“One Love,” a gentleman in the gym always says. Indeed, we are “One Love” in Spirit. Resurrection Day is to celebrate this Spirit, this Oneness, this Love that is eternal.
So let’s stop simply taking a break on “Easter” and instead focus on lifting up the true power and purpose of this great day.
Reinvent. Reconnect. Release. Realize. Restore. Rejuvenate. Recreate. Yes, and by the way, Happy Resurrection Day!
Reverend Cecilia Loving
Pastor, SPIRITMUV (www.spiritmuv.com )
(All of the materials in SPIRITMUV email messages are copyrighted by and may not be used without the written permission of Cecilia Loving. )