LIFE SPRINGS ETERNAL
"Today, you will be with me in Paradise."
"To be heavenly is to be one with the Tao; to be one with the Tao is to abide forever. This one is safe even after the body dissolves."
"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
"If the slayer thinks that he kills, and if the slain thinks that he dies, neither knows the way of truth. The Eternal in man cannot kill; the eternal in man cannot die."
"For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance."
"There is no need of any state or condition called death. The word "death" is a denial of God's idea of life. If we would accept life as God offers it to us, we are obliged to refuse the conditions that man has attached to it."
Those are beautiful passages aren't they? And I'm thinking you might like to know where they came from. Let's find out.
"Today, you will be with me in Paradise."a Words of Jesus on the cross to the thief hanging next to him, speaking of life beyond this physical experience AND speaking a very important message for us this morning - more on that later.
"To be heavenly is to be one with the Tao; to be one with the Tao is to abide forever. This one is safe even after the body dissolves."b Tao Te Ching, scripture of Taoism
"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."c The final verse of the 23rd Psalm
"If the slayer thinks that he kills, and if the slain thinks that he dies, neither knows the way of truth. The Eternal in man cannot kill; the eternal in man cannot die."d The Upanishads, a Hindu scripture
From The Prophet by Sufi poet Kahlil Gibran:
"For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance."e
"There is no need of any state or condition called death. The word "death" is a denial of God's idea of life. If we would accept life as God offers it to us, we are obliged to refuse the conditions that man has attached to it."f Charles Fillmore, Talks on Truth
And on this sacred and beautiful Easter morning, we are here to confirm our belief that Life Springs Eternal and to rest in the assurance that what we call physical death is merely a transition into a new and grander life expression. Knowing that, we are freed to live in the Eternal Now, the Eternal Present moment.
And today, we will each have the opportunity to have a powerful Easter Moment (our theme and experience for the month) so we can fully and joyfully be in the Eternal Now.
An Easter Moment is the moment when we consciously let something that does not serve us die so that we can be born anew into:
* a heightened spiritual awareness,
* a new consciousness and
* an expanded way of revealing the spiritual nature that is already ours so that we can share our gifts with the world.
And this is our metaphysical view of Jesus' death and resurrection.
In The Revealing Word, Fillmore says this: "The resurrection takes place in us every time we rise to Jesus' realization of the perpetual indwelling life that is connecting us with the Father. A new flood of life comes to all who open their minds and their bodies to the living word of God."g
Life is eternal and Jesus' message to us is that it is our job here on earth to have a resurrection in consciousness, which we do every time we let something that does not serve us die and a higher idea breaks through - our definition of an Easter Moment!
And here is an idea that doesn't serve us: that because our physical bodies become ill and even die -- because at this stage in the evolution of our consciousness, this happens -- that we have done something wrong or that we have not practiced our New Thought teachings well enough. That's an idea that doesn't serve us!
Jesus' physical body died on the cross. Did he do something wrong?
Rev. Peggy Bassett was an extremely influential Religious Science minister. She was the founder of Huntington Beach church as well as the founder of the Holmes School of Ministry. At the height of her ministry, she contracted Lou Gehrig's Disease, which took her human life in 1995. Before she transitioned, she said this:
"We tend to think that the purpose of prayer is to terminate sickness, but we forget that the purpose of sickness may be to initiate prayer, or to deepen our relationship with the Divine. If illness is in the service of our own growth - then what really is healing?"
And in his most amazing book Healing Words, which is a compilation of scientific research on the positive results of prayer, Dr. Larry Dossey wrote: "Even if prayer or attempts at self-transformation fail in the course of illness, there is still a sense in which a . . . [healing] can always occur. By . . . ["healing"] I do not mean the physical disappearance of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure or stroke, but something more marvelous -- the realization that physical illness . . . is at some level of secondary importance in the total scheme of our existence. This is the awareness that one's authentic, higher self is completely impervious to the ravages of any physical ailment whatever. The disease may regress or totally disappear when this awareness dawns, for reasons we may not understand. When this happens it comes as a gift, a blessing, a grace -- but again, this is of secondary importance. The real . . . [healing] is the realization that at the most essential level, we are all "untouchables" -- utterly beyond the ravages of disease and death."h
Even more than healing, we need "wholing"; that's spelled "w-h-o-l-i-n-g." Wholing is when we realize who we are, well beyond this physical body. When we realize our Oneness with Life Itself; when we are awakened to a new dimension of life, a spiritual dimension.
It doesn't matter if we are facing a physical challenge, a financial difficulty, or a relationship issue. There is nothing to be healed in our lives - there is only wholeness to be revealed and that wholeness can only be revealed in this Now Moment. All life happens in the Eternal Present Moment.
Eternal Life is living in the present moment because the Present Moment is Eternal. Our consciousness of eternal life eventually leads us to the One.
In This Thing Called You (p. 111), Ernest Holmes wrote: "The soul is the one triumphant, indestructible and unconquerable thing you possess. Shot from the Invisible into this experience, it constitutes your great reality. But why wait for physical death to enjoy and experience your immortal being? Do not prepare to die. Prepare to live, whether you are ten years old or one hundred. There is no death. It is impossible for you to die. Stop trying to die and learn to live."i
Live in the Eternal Now. This is the deeper meaning of: "Today, you will be with me in Paradise."
Today, this now moment! What keeps us from living in the eternal now? Two things. The past and the future.
Past hurts, angers, regrets.
Future worries and longings.
Holmes in The Science of Mind: "We should erase the thoughts of yesterday that would rob us of today's happiness. [Say] 'There is nothing arising out of the past that can disturb me. . . . I loose all thoughts that in the past have caused anxiety. The Spirit knows no past and is not affected by the belief in any. The past is swallowed up in the victory of a perfect present, which is filled with love and protection.' Equally, we must not have fear for the future. [Say] 'I see that the future is bright with promise. It beckons me forward into a more complete realization of my own worth and my rightful place in the Universe. All my tomorrows will be happy and filled with harmonious occupations. I look to the future with great and pleasurable anticipation, knowing it will expand my opportunity for radiant self-expression. I love my past and my future and understand that they are but continuations of the one unbroken chain of life. There is no future to be afraid of and no past to bring discord into the present.'"j
Open your mind and heart to a new consciousness of life as an eternal experience, without beginning and without end. Resolve to live this day and every day as if the days of the future will simply unfold out of the continuous movement of the existence that is NOW in its unfoldment.
How freeing it is to know life as a Universal flow! Yesterday no longer exists, and tomorrow and the days of the future will simply unfold out of the continuous flow of the experience that is now in its unfoldment.
Jonathan Swift, Irish author of the late 1600s said: "May you live all the days of your life."k
So we are going to have our Easter Moment now, which will end with a ritual.
Notice that there were two blank pieces of paper in your bulletin this morning. Take them out now. And just sit in the silence for a few moments. And from that space of deep listening, ask yourself what about the past are you open to having an Easter Moment right now. What are you ready and willing to release? To let go? To no longer be controlled by? To no longer let pull you out of this Eternal Now? When you have identified it, write it down on one of the pieces of paper. And then do the same thing with the future and write it down on the other piece of paper.
Now fold these and send them to the center aisle. Would the ushers please pick them up and bring them forward.
[Put in trash can and pray over them] - God accept these and help us to let go and let God handle them. The past is released; the future is released; you are here now in this Eternal Now moment. Amen
But this is not just for today, but for 40 days - the time necessary for transformation. Make a commitment that for the next 40 days you will neither live in the past or the future. That your focus and attention will be on the Present Moment, the Eternal Now. How powerful will that be?
But because I know it is very, very easy to forget an opportunity like this, we have something to remind you. [Have ushers pass out bracelets.] Put it on a wrist and then change it to the other wrist and begin your 40 days again if you move and stay in the past or future for longer than just a couple of seconds.
Put your bracelet on and say with me: "I stand full, free and fearless in this Now Moment. . . . I am one with the Eternal Now. . . . I am one with the Divine Life, . . . and my life unfolds before me . . . in love, joy and beauty."
bTao Te Ching
eThe Prophet Kahlil Gibran
fCharles Fillmore, Talks on Truth, p. 149
gThe Revealing Word, Charles Fillmore p. 169
hHealing Words, Dr. Larry Dossey
iErnest Holmes This Thing Called You p. 111
jErnest Holmes The Science of Mind, p. 245