Holy Week/Easter declares the universal, eternal nature of the soul.
As I write this, we are in what the Christian Church calls Holy Week. Holy Week is the pinnacle of the Church year.
As I previously wrote, I still love and am grateful for so much of what I received from the Christian Church. It raised me. I am convinced that I couldn’t be where I am now on my spiritual journey without that foundation. And I always loved being part of the Church community, especially on Easter Sundays. The music was magnificent. There was a hope-filled energy that was always needed. I saw that hope give such comfort to so many! The fragrance of the flowers and the color in the sanctuary was beautiful. I especially loved doing the Children’s sermons on Easter.
In the Church’s belief system, everything in Jesus’ life led up to this one purpose: to die and rise again for the forgiveness of all human sin, and to conquer death. This is the primary reason he came to earth, says the Church. Everything else about his life and teaching, was secondary.
As I look at the Christian Church from some distance now, I see a Church proclaiming a story that could easily be heard as saying that what happened 2,000 years ago ONLY happened then. To be sure, it is a profound story! “Holy” things happened. But here is THE profound Truth: Every death is Holy. Every continuation of the soul after physical death is Holy!
As for the death of Jesus:
First, I want to affirm Echo’s recent post that “Jesus didn’t die for our sins, because he didn’t/doesn’t see us as sinners.” I would only add that he knew himself, everyone, and everything to bear the “image of God” as Genesis 1: 26,27 says. “It is good” (Genesis 1: 31) is the first word from God, as God looks over the humanity and all that God created.
Secondly, Jesus was put to death by Rome (with Pontius Pilate as their puppet). Rome had no interest in crucifying Jesus so he could be the Savior of the world. Safe to say it was the farthest thing from Pilate’s mind. Jesus was crucified because he was seen by a fearful Rome as a threat to their power and control of the region. In a fearful world, what Jesus taught could have only one, inevitable conclusion. Physical death.
Finally, every death is Holy! If you are ever with someone who takes their last breath, you are in Holy space. There is a sacred passing and a sacred continuing. Those who are fortunate enough to be there, can truly say, “She has risen! He has risen!”
As for the resurrection of Jesus:
Jesus didn’t die to conquer death, as the Church proclaims. Physical death has always been an illusion. From the beginning, souls have always been what they are. Eternal. Souls didn’t start being eternal after the death and resurrection of Jesus. With God as their essence, how could souls be anything but eternal?
Souls were continuing on to the other side for milleniums before Jesus came to earth and died.
Sidenote: Christianity’s own scriptures point to this reality of continuation long before Jesus. The gospels of Matthew (17:1-8, Mark (9:2-8), and Luke 9:28-36) all describe what is called the “Transfiguration” of Jesus. Jesus goes up on a mountain to pray, along with Peter and John. The face of Jesus changes, and his clothes became dazzling white. All 3 gospels describe a seeing of two men, Moses and Elijah, who were talking to Jesus. Here is Moses who lived approximately 1,400 years before Jesus. And Elijah, who lived 900 years before Jesus. Their souls have clearly continued on. And they are more than OK. They appear “in glory” (as Luke describes it). And they obviously aren’t Christian! I couldn’t help but notice that the implications of this continuation of life long before Jesus, is never talked about in the Church.
Yet one could easily hear the Christian message of Easter and conclude, “this is the first time life has continued on after a physical death.”
The very first reading I ever had was with someone many of you know and respect, Carol Lowell. I went to her office. When she arrived, she seemed very eager and intense. The first part of the conversation went like this.
Carol: “Are you a religious person?” (She knew nothing about me or my being a Lutheran pastor at the time).
Me: I chuckled a little and said, “Uh….yeah. Pretty much!”
Carol: “As I was preparing myself for our time together, Jesus appeared. He wants to lead our time together.”
Me: “Uh…oh my! OK!”
Carol: “He says you can ask him anything you’d like.”
Me: “I want to know about the Cross. Did your dying on a Cross mean what the Church says it does?”
Carol: “He says my death was nothing unique. Many died on a Cross during my lifetime. I did rise to show everyone that I was still alive.” (I wrote in Post 8 about thousands dying on a Roman cross).
There was this overwhelming sense in the room that he was simply saying, “this is what happens when the body dies. The soul/spirit’s energy continues on.”
Yes. There was a certain kind of resurrection with Jesus. He rose in a metaphysical body to affirm the ongoing life of the Spirit/Soul, in a way that would get through to people. He speaks of this in Tina Louise Spalding’s channeling of Jesus, “Jesus. My Autobiography,” and in Gina Lake’s books.
If you do attend a Sunday morning Easter service this year, I hope you are blessed. As I so often was.
Just keep it all in perspective. I hope you can go and celebrate the ongoing life of the soul. An eternal reality that physical death cannot end. Death never has ended it. Not before Jesus, and not since. Celebrate that Divine Life always has the first and last Word.
But the Jesus Easter story is about much more than life continuing. This is a story about Divine Love’s eternal triumph over fear and hate. Always!
Now what is more worthy of celebration than that?
You are that Love! Always have been. Always will be! Happy eternal Easter!
Pastor Tim Tengblad
I welcome your story, comments, or questions email@example.com