April 5, 2015, Prescott- Easter was important to me as a child, for two reasons: The first was that it meant the end of hearing of Christ’s suffering, which I could not understand until my teen years and the second was that there was lots of candy. The first part bothered me because Jesus, to me, has always been the Epitome of Love. I could not see any good reason for either the chief priests’ persecution of Him, nor for Judas’ betrayal. The second part had a relatively brief shelf life. My parents never bought Peeps, preferring jelly beans, Jordan almonds, creme eggs and chocolate bunnies. I outgrew all except chocolate, and occasional Jelly Bellies (during the Reagan years, especially).
Nowadays,as a Baha’i, I recognize spiritual truth as being progressively revealed, across human time. Christ brought a focus on letting God deal with peoples’ iniquities, on overcoming tribal affiliations, on loving others in spite of their shortcomings. He also brought the Sword of Truth, not making excuses for one’s behaviour, but challenging oneself to rise higher on the spiritual plane.
Closeness to the Light has had its place in the hearts of men for a multitude of millennia. There have, however, been limits to awareness, and a tendency to revert to the mores and customs that pre-date a Spiritual Messenger, as soon as that Messenger has departed this earthly life. So it was with Moses, with Krishna, with Gautama Siddhartha (Buddha), with Christ and with Mohammad. Those outside a given religion, or with a perfunctory understanding of it, see mythology as creed, hearsay as doctrine.
When Christ was crucified, the Romans reported that He had cried out: “My God,My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” In fact, an examination of the Aramaic and Greek, shows an affirmation of His role as Saviour: “My God, My God, for this I was kept”. His Rising, then, is a spiritual act, a confirmation that the Word of God can never be silenced. Baha’u’llah tells us as much, in The Hidden Words: “My Light can never be extinguished. Why dost thou dread extinction?” The Creator does not abandon His Creation, or the creatures that comprise it.
Easter, then, is a day to be universally celebrated, a key point along the collective spiritual journey of Mankind. Without Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, we would have no way to comprehend the Call to Nationhood, of Mohammad, or the Summons to the entire human race, of Al-Bab and of Baha’u’llah. Without His having resurrected the despairing souls of His Disciples, by appearing to them after the Crucifixion, there would have been no Christian Faith, and the journey of mankind would have been a more immediate, and far deeper, descent into the Dark Ages than it actually was.
These are only my own measured opinions, yet no matter how much I ponder this most essential of processes, I arrive at the same conclusion I drew as a teenager: The Spiritual Teachers are vital to our overall well-being and there is no daylight between any One of Them, in comparison to the Others.