We are starting to form a little tradition in The Virtual Chapel where we put together a community article at Easter time. The way this works is I pose an open ended question in the Chapel, let people know that their responses will be used for this purpose, and then copy and paste all the answers together into one document. Then I take a great deal of artistic license and edit them all together into what I call a community article. The one we did last year was around the question “Why did Jesus need to be crucified?” You can find the article which arose out of the discussion by clicking HERE.
This year I asked the question “what is the deeper meaning of the Easter story?” though some people chose to speak more about the need for crucifixion, which is a beautiful connection to last year’s article. As I mentioned already, the article which follows is an amalgamation of many voices and opinions. As such, the article won’t always be consistent throughout and there will be a diversity of perspectives all brought together in one piece. Some of the opinions expressed here will also be different from mine. To me, this is a beautiful thing. It allows us to celebrate the theological and spiritual diversity which we share in a beautiful harmony in our community. The world needs more of this.
I’m at a point where it feels as if Christianity has put all of it’s eggs in the Easter basket, but what if it were the logical conclusion of an already scandalous event? What caused such an uproar was the scandal of the incarnation. From the moment of birth of the Christ, there was a perceived threat to authority. Isn’t it true of us as well? When birth of the Christ happens to us, there’s an immediate threat to all the authoritative voices in our lives, real and not. We often give in and crucify, entombed, at times, our entire lives. Both Christmas and Easter, unfortunately more than any other event, are made into historical events, one time deals, happened long ago, in a far away land. It’s happening now. It’s hope in the face of despair. It’s life in the face of death. It’s the paradox of our humanity.
On Good Friday Jesus died, a crucified Nazorean. On the third day, Easter Sunday, He emerged the Risen Christ. The deeper meaning for me here is that it takes time for things to be revealed in their fullness, therefore Faith is being patient with the process and with what God is doing. To overcome death, Christ had to die. His suffering and death was an act of sympathy towards humanity. We suffer and die, so out of love and sympathy, Christ chose to suffer and die. Finally, the purpose of his resurrection was not just to do away with sin, but rather to give us hope for life after death. To defeat death, Jesus had to go through death. So personally I am glad for this Spring season of rebirth and reminded of Christ’s resurrection. Jesus walks out the talk of what forgiveness, love and rebirth mean. I had a preacher friend once who said “your walk talks, and your talk walks, but your walk talks louder than your talk walks.” I feel it fits here.
Easter has many deep meanings! At our best I think we only scratch the surface. On one level, the tearing of the veil between the most holy place and the holy place shows that Jesus has made a direct experience of God, once reserved for the high priest (and only after undergoing rigorous cleansing rituals) now available to all. On another level, the descent of Jesus into the underworld parallels the swallowing of Jonah by the fish, as well as stories such as the descent of Innana, the journey down Kunlun mountain, and so on. In a metaphoric sense, it refers to the journey we must all take into our own underworld, our own darkness, to bring what’s there into the light to be healed; through this process of sanctification, we are reborn/resurrected. On yet another level, Easter is a lesson on faith: no matter how dark things look, there is nothing God cannot turn around or overcome.
One of the things that captures me, is the two thieves Jesus was crucified between. The one who accepted who he was, and one who questioned. Jesus could hold the polarity of these two men in His crucifixion. As he was in his life so he demonstrated in his death. Meditating on this way of being helps me in my humanness and my default to dualism.
Christ held the both, and ; not either or. The crucifixion demonstrated and encourages me to a non dual mind. For me the deeper meaning is that everything will be taken up and elevated. The cross shatters the illusion of separateness between God and Their created world. Through the Love of Christ, I am invited to cross the threshold NOW and accept my inheritance today through the love and suffering of this one, unique life that is simply a bleep in time from the big bang where Christ and I were born through all of eternity where all of us, every one of us created in Love will continuing serving God. The cross is the omega point that is everywhere where God’s circumference is nowhere.
If it is true that the Bible is the greatest parable ever written, then the “deeper meaning of the Easter story” is that it is the last paragraph of the last page of the last chapter of that sacred text. A parable is defined as “a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.” This parable’s “simple story” was perhaps played out in reality – the actual life of Jesus – though there is little evidence to corroborate the existence of that life. And its “spiritual lesson”? Did God cause this book to be written on two levels in order to lay out the steps man must follow to reach his “final incarnation” into Christ Consciousness? And the story of Easter? Jesus represents spiritual identity – the real or Christ Mind, of each individual, a conscious connection to which had been lost by humanity at the time that this story began.
The crucifixion has always been a mystery for me. A conundrum. Why would parents murder their child? Why did Jesus have to be crucified? Perhaps this is heresy, but if Jesus was both fully human as well as fully divine, he didn’t. Jesus could have said no. Just as Mary could have said no at the Annunciation. The fully human side knew the pain, agony, terror facing them. Jesus sweat blood. Yet, Jesus said yes. Why? For me, that “yes” is the ultimate shedding of our inner selves, our ego. Not that Jesus was prideful, oh no, but in this final and willing yes to God, he was helping all of humanity relearn what most of nature has never forgot-how to be one with God. One in your own true nature. Not something you were never meant to be.
In that one, cruel, terrible, human act, Jesus became fully divine. Faith, forgiveness, love are all bound in that one act. We are also reminded of our own life’s transitional journey. Our real life begins! Where we merge with the Christ on the endless cycle of life-death-rebirth. A cycle playing out now as we celebrate Ostara. The Spring Equinox and the rebirth of Mother Gaia. I love that it’s in spring. It’s a play on what’s going on around us and in us, on so many levels. Rejection, redemption, rebirth, letting go, letting God, letting grieve, sorrow, joy, forgiving, resisting, hoping, unbelieving, asserting power, rejecting the other, protecting status, crucifying reality. Only for love to rise and point the way to life after death despite ourselves.
The grain of wheat had to die and be buried to bring forth new life. Jesus’ resurrection is the first fruits of the new creation. Jesus took obedience to God to its ultimate conclusion. After praying that he didn’t have to go through with it, he was “tempted in every way we are, yet without sinning.” The resurrection shows that death doesn’t have the final word. I do believe that the crucifixion was a necessary part of the story of the relationship between God and humankind but I haven’t got a nice neat theology of why!
Need is such a strong word. I like to think of it much more as it wasn’t a need, but external circumstances being what they were forced Jesus’ hand. And to follow his path and teaching authentically and to its ultimate end, he chose to die. Was it necessary, did he have a choice? No, and yes? But he did choose to die, and were all better for it. A shock and aww, but more I understand and know God, the more I dislike the cross. It was a day that God submitted to our ignorance and hatred of the Truth, for us “to believe.” I can’t imagine what Jesus of Nazareth went through, to see all the people who He has compassion and love for turn away from God. But yet it was never the end, and He knew God’s Will would overcome so we would “be as One.”
I wouldn’t say that Jesus needed to die, but that he did symbolizes for me that he was willing to be authentic to his calling even in the face of the crucifiers. I would like to have that courage should that be asked of me. And, it seems, we humans pay more attention to the memorialization of great teachers/truthtellers/prophets/change makers more than to the persons themselves. Look at the power of the memorialization of Martin Luther King, George Floyd, the 14 women massacred in Montreal, the Rohynga slaughtered in Myanmar. These people have come to call us to act against injustice, to rise up together. As has Jesus’ death for many people.
I think the deepest part of the Easter story was that Christ came to live with us and experience our human life, and that included our duplicity, treachery, brutality, and our inevitable end in death. He also came to teach us how we can, instead, live in a way that will honor God and will lead us not to death, but to life forever. He had to go through the whole human process with us, all the way through to death, so that we could see that the way he lived resulted in resurrection and life at a higher level, even though he had to pass through death at our hands first. What we learned is how we are supposed to live, and that death as we know it, is not the end. We would not have learned these lessons if He had not come down to our level and gone through a human life and death along side us, all the while being Himself, Christ, as an example for us to follow.
He came and presented as human, and as Creator/God gave humans free will, many of the elite were greedy and power hungry. He challenged the power structure, and preached LOVE and COMPASSION. This threatened them, and they feared losing their power over the people, and their wealth. They ruled with fear. They were afraid of him gaining more followers. His humility enraged them. On another level, he demonstrated that there was life after death, and it would be beautiful. Also, this scenario seems to play out in every single society before and after. Why though? For the love of riches, wealth and power over the people.
If you enjoyed this reflection feel free to join the discussion as well. Check out Our Community and walk this path along side us. We hope to see you soon!