There’s an old story by Lavon Brown about a tourist attraction in the Italian Alps. Every year thousands of people climb a mountain to stand at a shrine of a crucifix. But one day, one tourist noticed a little trail, hardly noticeable and covered with weeds, which led beyond the cross. He decided to follow it and to his surprise, came upon another shrine; a shrine that symbolized the empty tomb. It was sadly neglected and the brush had grown up all around it. Almost everyone had gone as far as the cross, but there they stopped.
Today, far too few have gone beyond the cross to discover that the empty tomb is also a symbol of our own resurrection; the resurrection of our hearts and minds and lives so that we, like Jesus, can live the resurrected life.
With Easter, Jesus’ mission was accomplished. He showed us God – not the God created by man – but the God that is Life and Love and Peace and Wholeness – the God who is present in each of us and is the life of all creation. He resurrected God in our minds and hearts. He showed us all this so that we might grasp this great truth for ourselves and then act on it by resurrecting our lives and this world. During his ministry, he demonstrated the nature of God in every way possible, and then told us that we could follow his example and also do great works, once we realized and believed that God is also within us. (John 14:12) Jesus went beyond the cross, emerged from the tomb, and was resurrected. So too can we.
Living the Resurrected Life: Vision
Living the resurrected life means having a vision of yourself that goes “beyond the cross” of current appearances. Jesus’ vision of himself is contained in seven “I am” statements in the Gospel of John. All of these stemmed from his vision of himself as one with the Father. Because he knew that he was the expression of the Father, all things were possible for him. He taught that this is true for us as well, if we will accept a new vision of ourselves as God’s expressions.
To live the resurrected life, we go beyond the cross in our vision of who we are and who we can become. We no longer accept man’s opinion of us, but instead we look within ourselves for the truth of who we are. As Teilhard de Chardin has written, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
Living the resurrected life means having a vision of the world that goes beyond the cross of what the world looks like now. Jesus proclaimed his vision for the world as The Kingdom of God. He looked beyond the cross of current religious dogma and urged his followers to seek the kingdom within them and then live their lives from that inner knowledge.
Living the Resurrected Life: Faith
Living the resurrected life means that we develop a faith that lets go and trusts in the goodness of God. The author Alan Watts likens faith to swimming. “You don’t grab hold of the water when you swim, because if you do you will become stiff and tight in the water and sink. You have to relax. Faith is a state of openness and trust.” As we go beyond the cross of ego, our faith is resurrected; faith in God within us, faith in ourselves.
Living the Resurrected Life: the Law of Love
To live the resurrected life, we live it in love and by love. Compassion becomes our way of life and our hearts are resurrected so that we can look on all forms of life, not only human life, with kindness and respect. Emmett Fox wrote “There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer: no disease that love will not heal: no door that enough love will not open. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world.” Love is the law of the Universe. It is the unity that holds it together. In our practice of this expanded, inclusive love, our lives are resurrected.
On that first Easter morning, Mary discovered that the huge stone that sealed Jesus’ tomb was rolled away and Christ was risen from the dead. The Christ presence within us will roll away the stone that seals our hearts and minds and will restore our lives, if we will live the resurrected life. The true meaning of Easter is that life does not end with the cross; it begins with our resurrection.