We tend to think of Easter as the happy ending of the ministry of Jesus Christ, but all at the time it seemed that his work was a total failure. His tiny band of followers had scattered in fear and panic. Some hid in Jerusalem, fearful of facing their own trials and crucifixions. Others returned to their hometowns, frightened and discouraged, and tried to resume their pre-Jesus lives. It seemed to all of them—except, I think, to Jesus’ mother and Mary of Magdala, his beloved disciple—that his ‘kingdom of heaven’ vision had died with him on the cross.
And yet the ministry of Jesus Christ almost immediately began to grow in astonishing ways. Through stories, teachings and shared memories it quickly spread through Israel, Syria, Egypt, Asia Minor and onto the European continent through Greece. In less than a century—the blink of an eye in terms of human history—it had become a force to be reckoned with, to be embraced or resisted throughout the entire Roman empire. How could that happen?
It happened because Jesus Christ did not end his personal ministry with the high drama of what we now call Holy Week, and the stunning finale of the Resurrection. He shrugged off the mortal limitations of time and space, so that he could continue his work on an infinitely larger stage. Instead of a small number of followers in a tiny Mediterranean country, he could now affect the lives and consciousness of the entire world.
I think we, too, try to scatter to our metaphysical hometowns once we have observed the joy of Easter. The Lenten process of ‘spring cleaning’ in consciousness has been long and tiring, whether we were aware of the process at work or not. We’d like to turn our attention elsewhere, to go back to tending our nets, just as before. But we will quickly find that that’s not possible.
The process that began as the spiritual commitment of Ash Wednesday, moved through the ‘spring cleaning’ in consciousness of Lent and culminated in the glory of Easter has expanded our entire life experience, and there’s no going back. Our personal resurrections mean that we have remembered more of our spiritual Truth, and experienced more of our spiritual Power. We are called, as the Twelfth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous expresses it, to ‘practice the principles and carry the message.’
How do we do that? We follow the example of Jesus. We trust, and surrender to, our true identity as the Christ. We know that we will be are guided every step of the way as we set out—excited and a little anxious—to discover the work that is ours to do, and the life of infinite blessing that is ours to experience.
Today I AM open and receptive to the call of the Christ. I affirm that everything I do—however ordinary or insignificant it may seem—is an expression of my spiritual Truth, and an opportunity to transform this human experience into the kingdom of heaven. I AM grateful for my Good!