We humans often ask the question, what happens to us when we die, but how many of us ask what happens before we are even born? That may well be a far more interesting question.
Having professed my agnosticism about the afterlife I am now going to contradict myself as I believe strongly that loves lives on in the lives of those we have touched, even after our physical lives end. I know this from personal experience. So perhaps there is some formed idea here. They are part of us in spirit in some way, sometimes I can feel that powerfully. As the song goes, “The ghosts are part of us.” Forrest Church put it so beautifully when he said: “The greatest of all truths is that love never dies, that every act of love that we perform in this life is carried on into another life and passed on into another life, so that centuries from now the love carries, and that is the work of religion. The opposite of love is not death. It is fear. Fear is what armors our hearts. If our hearts are armored, they’ll never be broken, and I have seen so many people get hurt in love and then try to protect themselves against it, and when they protect themselves against love, they protect themselves against the only thing that is worth living for.”
I would add to that that the purpose of religion is to bring that love to life and to share it with our world. This is the work of transformation. This to me is the true message of Easter.
I believe it is the same with every life and the love that life leave behinds, something beautiful always remain.
This brings to mind those beautiful words often shared at funerals by that famous author “Unknown”
“Something Beautiful Remains” – Unknown
The tide recedes but leaves behind
bright seashells on the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle
warmth still lingers on the land.
The music stops, and yet it echoes
on in sweet refrains.....
For every joy that passes,
something beautiful remains.
Every life leaves its mark. Every life impacts in some way. We should never think that we are insignificant, that we do not matter. We impact on everyone and everything around us. Everything that we do and everything that do not do matters. There are those who I have known and who have loved me, who have been gone many years, who are still impacting on my life. Of their lives, something beautiful remains.
Easter is a reminder to me that even after death something beautiful remains. It is an acknowledgement of life’s sacredness. It is a reaffirmation of life that not even death can end. Easter for me is about birth and re-birth, again and again and again…
This actually brings me back to astrological thinking and Elaine’s charts. She suggested to me that I had lived many lives. and that that I was at a stage of real potential right now, if I was willing to take it. This got me thinking of Joseph Campbell and his views of mythos. He wrote of Easter: “It is very much the longing to be born anew the way nature is. All these elements fit together. Easter is calculated as the Sunday that follows the first full moon after the vernal equinox. It is evidence of a concern centuries before Christ to coordinate the lunar and solar calendars. What we have to recognize is that these celestial bodies represented to the ancients two different modes of eternal life, one engaged in the field of time, like throwing off death, as the moon it’s shadow, to be born again; the other, disengaged and eternal. The dating of Easter according to both lunar and solar calendars suggests that life, like the life that is reborn in the moon and eternal in the sun, finally is one.”
This brings to mind the following passage from the Gospel of Thomas, one of the many that was not included in the Bible:
Jesus said to them:
When you make the two one,
and when you make the inner as the outer
and the outer as the inner
and the above as the below,
and when you make the male and the female
into a single one
. . . then shall you enter [the Kingdom]
Now of course many believe that the Kingdom is the place that we go to when we die, if chosen. I do not believe that this is what Jesus was speaking of in the Gospels. Remember he said (in the Canonical Gospels) that the “kingdom is within you” or that it is “at hand” (here now). I believe that he was teaching that the key is to bring “The King-dom” alive within ourselves and to share that with our world, therefore building the beloved community of love. I have come to believe that this is the love that is born again as the stone was rolled away and seemingly found to be empty, because from that emptiness love was once again, born again.
From nothing comes everything; from Despair is born Hope.
It’s time to bring the kin-dom of love to life. It is time to begin living this one wonderful life we have been given…
This is the Love that is born again on Easter morning. This is what grows from the emptiness of the tomb when the stone is rolled away…From nothing to everything…From Despair, Hope is born again…
Now I would like to end with these words of blessing by David Whyte.
The blessing of the morning light to you,
may it find you even in your invisible
appearances, may you be seen to have risen
from some other place you know and have known
in the darkness and that that carries all you need.
May you see what is hidden in you
as a place of hospitality and shadowed shelter,
may that hidden darkness be your gift to give,
may you hold that shadow to the light
and the silence of that shelter to the word of the light,
may you join all of your previous disappearances
with this new appearance, this new morning,
this being seen again, new now, and newly alive.
David Whyte: Easter Morning 2015
In Memoriam John O’Donohue