Updated: Jan 29
Happy Easter, bus riders! Today, instead of passing a basket for you to cover the bottom with green paper, we are giving out baskets with a bed of green plastic shreds, so you can hunt for the Easter eggs and the prize chocolate bunny!
I’m sorry we have no live chicks, dyed pink and yellow, and no dyed blue baby bunnies to give away. The Health Department stopped that when America became a bus stop nation and stopped being rural. There is no longer adequate space for most families to raise farm animals.
I’m being facetious.
You see, Easter has become synonymous with the advent of spring, which symbolizes births, babies, and reproduction. Spring is when things start to grow again! A drab, barren landscape becomes a burst of colors to behold.
To celebrate the newness of spring, the Church of Rome has used its holy slide-rule and determined that Easter is the closest Sunday to the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. The Vernal Equinox is the official timing of the season of spring.
Unfortunately, God must have forgotten to tell Moses how to calculate when the first month of the Hebrew year would be, because one would think the Moses way (as seen in all Hebrew calendars) is wrong. That means Rome had to figure out how to calculate when Easter will be each year, so its faithful would not be lost and confused.
Somehow, Rome missed how Nisan (the first month of a Hebrew year, even though it is a spring month) will always begin on the first new moon after the beginning of spring (the Vernal Equinox). That means 15 Nissan is when the first full moon will follow that new moon, since the moon makes a complete cycle in 28 days. Half of 28 is 14, so if you add 14 days to 1 Nisan, then you get 15 Nisan, which signifies the beginning of Passover recognition. Passover is a God-commanded eight-day celebration, recognizing how God freed the Israelites from bondage, by sending Moses.
In case you dropped your complimentary Easter calendars, 1 Nisan this year will be on April 7. That is when the first new moon takes place, after the official beginning of spring, which was Sunday, March 20. So, the Jewish recognition of the Passover will be between April 22 and April 30 (or 15 Nisan to 22 Nisan). Thus (and the Eastern Orthodox Church follows this method), Easter Sunday is really supposed to be May 1 this year.
But, here we are, Easter basket in hand, all dressed up in our new Easter dresses, bonnets and handsome suits. So, let’s make the most of a new spring having been sprung!
God did not accidentally free His chosen people after the advent of longer days in the Northern Hemisphere. It didn’t just happen to be spring when Moses parted the Red Sea. God does nothing in a haphazard way.
Spring represents the time of rebirth, when dormant plants spring back to life and renew a cycle of growth and development that produces new fruits. However, springtime in the wilderness does not mean new foods abound, from which all the Israelites could be fed. Besides a flock of quail being flown in once to feed the group, it was forty years of manna in the morning, manna in the evening, and manna at supper time for the Israelites. That was spring, summer, fall and winter every year.
Therefore, God sent Moses to lead the Israelites to a new religious spring, following his arrival to begin that process. Moses arrived as winter came to a close and spring had sprung upon Egypt. Once freed into the wilderness, God’s chosen Israelites would be tended by the Most High Gardener, throughout all seasons. Moses would preserve the seed in the wilderness, Joshua would sow it in Canaan, David would raise and maintain fields of crops in Israel, which would grow to eventually become Christianity.
The Israelite seed would be planted in the fertile ground of Canaan, when the timing was right. That timing was again the Passover, during Nisan, fifteen days after the first new moon of spring.
Knowing this, one can see how God wants his priests to offer to the world the newness of Spirituality. Israel was planted to become a living vine, from which priests for the One true God could be harvested, so the whole world could be fed salvation.
One can see how Jesus died and was resurrected as a spring forward from that foundation of faith … as part of God’s overall master plan.
Thus, the connection to spring and babies being born is how we think hunting for dyed eggs and bringing home a new pet for our children to experience first-hand the cycle of life is synonymous with Easter. We think birth and renewal is connected to the Resurrection of Jesus.
However, as unfortunate as it might seem … that concept is wrong.
The rites of spring, eggs, fruit, and the quick reproductive natures of rabbits and chickens are rooted in pagan ideologies. While that can be seen to symbolize rebirth, it is only on the earthly plane. Rebirth into a mortal existence means being born into a life that leads to an assured death. Death is symbolized by the return of winter, after the fall. This is opposite how spring is a return to mortal life, that opens up fully in the summer.
In Greek mythology, it is the tale of Persephone, the daughter of Demeter (the earth goddess) who married Hades. After Demeter refused to let new growth come upon her earth (out of sadness for the loss of her daughter), an arrangement was made so Persephone could split her time with her mother on the earth, and with her husband in the underworld. When Persephone returned to the earth, Demeter had everything grow anew; but the sadness created by Persephone’s going away led to Demeter causing the earth to morn and stop growing. This means spring, and a return to the living, merely reflects a rebirth as does reincarnation.
Reincarnation is the rebirth of an eternal soul into the death of a mortal body. It is not born into eternal life because a physical body is limited to how long it can live. While Persephone reflects the changing states of a physical realm, where birth and death are always followed by renewal of a repeating cycle, Jesus’ resurrection is about rebirth of a soul into the spiritual body that encompasses eternal life.
To grasp this difference, look at the mandatory reading from chapter ten of the Acts of the Apostles. Peter (who would become the adopted patron Saint of the Church of Rome) said “to Cornelius and the other Gentiles, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
That was not spoken to a group of Roman soldiers as if Peter had a revelation that the pagan worship of spring and fertility rites – which the Romans recognized – was equivalent to “a fear of the One true God and doing what is right and acceptable to that One true God.” All humanity born to death sees no favor from God, as being born into death is a cycle of nature that God deemed to be good … for His material creation. However, God seeded His religion into the world, so that natural cycle could find a spiritual outlet to eternal peace.
What we do not read today is how Cornelius was visited by an angel, sent by the One true God, because “[Cornelius] and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” The angel instructed Cornelius to send for Simon Peter, so Jews and Gentiles could come together as one. Prior to that, Jews represented the priests-in-training for presenting salvation to the world, while the Gentiles represented the cycle of nature – born to sin.
That is what Peter meant when he spoke of fear and doing right, which are heard in his words we read today to Cornelius. “Doing what is right,” from a “fear of God,” means ceasing to sin. Jews and Gentiles alike are all welcomed by the One true God to serve only Him, with an equal reward offered to both groups of human beings … that of being filled with God’s Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, one can defeat sin (thus death), ceasing the need for repeating the cycle of reincarnation.
So, when our reading today ends by saying, “All the prophets testify about [Jesus] that everyone who believes in [Jesus] receives forgiveness of sins through [Jesus’] name,” we miss where Acts 10:44-46 states:
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.”
Cornelius and his soldiers, who were fearful of the One true God, were generous, and were those who prayed daily, they received forgiveness of sins, just as Peter and his fellow apostles had been forgiven of sins – through receipt of the Holy Spirit. All had gained the reward of eternal life, through that presence within them.
Receipt of the Holy Spirit made them all be resurrected – instantly – as a new Jesus, no longer common souls trapped in flesh that was only ensured a future death. They were reborn souls that had been washed clean of sins forever, receiving eternal salvation as another Son of Man, as Sons of God.
In the reading from 1 Corinthians (an option along with Isaiah 65:17-25), Paul is shown to say, “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, [then] we are of all people most to be pitied.”
Think about that for a moment.
That says (in a paraphrase), “If you worship Christ as if the Holy Spirit will magically renew your flesh, so you can enjoy the fruits of this life … and not care about eternal life …[then] you are to be pitied more than some pagan who worships the sun’s return to being overhead longer, so the days are warmer, and so fruits and grains can grow again … but … who knows nothing about fearing the One true God.”
If you do lip service to Jesus, but bow down before the Easter Bunny, then shame on you!
Anyone who knows that God offers eternal life with Him in Heaven, for a price that requires the sacrifice of self … only for that one to think: “You know what? I’m good. Rather than sacrifice my own ego, can I just get some gifts for saying I believe that eternal life thing can be done?” That person needs to be pitied, just as Judas needed to be pitied for his betrayal.
Paul then went on to explain: “Since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being.” That means that everything about your human state of being – flesh, bones, and blood – is only temporarily “first fruits.” Jesus of Nazareth had to be born to death, just like all human beings, as a model for all subsequent fruit of the vine.
Just like fruit – which changes from buds, to blooms, to petal fall, to fruit set, to ripe state, to fall from the tree to be consumed by living creatures, leaving only a pit or seed behind, from which a new tree is grown that will reproduce more fruit – so too does a human being’s body face the same cycle of birth, death, and rebirth to die again. Death comes through all living things on earth.
God did not send His only Son to show us the path to a physical existence. As Paul wrote, “As all die in Adam [Man], so all will be made alive in Christ.” Therefore, Jesus was born of the same mortal death that all human beings are born of .. so the resurrection of his dead body shows the power of God.
We are called by God to Resurrect from our mortal being states, as Spiritual beings. We must die in our love of the flesh, so our souls may be reborn with a love of God.
We are called by God to have the faith of Jesus, so that after our physical bodies are dead and buried we can Ascend to Heaven and stop paying for our sins by naturally recycling to sin again.
In the alternate Gospel reading from Luke, we are in attendance with the “women who had come with Jesus from Galilee.” We walk with them to the tomb. Just as those women symbolize sacrifice, we too must be subservient to Jesus.
When those servants arrived at the tomb to put spices on the corpse of a departed loved one, they encountered “two men in dazzling clothes” – angels of the Lord, just like the one who visited Cornelius.
(Angels visit with those who are God-fearing, generous, and pray often.)
The first thing that was said by the angels to those women – which is also spoken to us, as if we were there with them – was: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
Think about that for a minute.
Why would anybody think Jesus Christ might be found in a plastic egg or a hollow piece of chocolate, shaped like a rabbit? Those things only represent the cycle of worldly being, which is death. The “hunt” for Jesus is within, not in a backyard or in a cemetery. We need to seek Jesus through the Father.
When the angel who spoke to the women of Jesus said, “[The fleshy body of Jesus] is not here, but has risen,” those women had wept and mourned less than three weeks earlier because their relative Lazarus had become ill, died and was buried in another tomb, in Bethany. Jesus then came and said, “Lazarus, come out!”
We are called to be Lazarus, as he was called to be a reborn Jesus, touched by Christ and resurrected from death. Lazarus, although already stinking of death, was saved from repeating that live to sin, die for sins cycle.
Why would the women not be looking for their risen loved one elsewhere, if they truly served God, the Father of the Son of Man?
Since Jesus had raised Lazarus from death, why wouldn’t the same Godly force raise the human Jesus too?
Do you look upon a cross of death, one hanging on a wall, and seek Jesus there … the tomb he is encased forever in, as an idol of death? Or, do you look into your heart to find the risen Lord.
The angel then reminded the women – as the angel reminds us – “Remember how he told you that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again?”
Can you not see how we must find Jesus by becoming Jesus reborn?
It is us who are also handed over to sinners, because being born of death means a life full of sins to repent. It is us who also must be crucified, such that we have our egos nailed to the cross of Salvation, until they are dead. Then, after three days dead, we can be resurrected as Jesus Christ.
Three is not literal, in our cases, but figurative. Can you see how the number three is representative of the Trinity?
Our three days dead mean we must enter into three phases of searching: So we can become the Son; so we can sacrifices all of our self-will to the Father; so the Father will redeem the Son by the Holy Spirit. We have to be dead of ego throughout that search.
The cross is the Trinity, where the vertical is the Son, the horizontal is the Father, and the point where they intersect is the union of the two, by the Holy Spirit. That intersection does not represent the brain, but the heart. Therefore, the cross does more than tell us how Jesus died for our sins. The cross symbolizes our own death, so we can be resurrected as Jesus Christ.
Enjoy your pink, blue, and yellow Peeps when you get home. Hopefully the Easter Bunny left you a tasty surprise, like the joys commonly left behind by Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
But, by all means, remember the words of David, who sang, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord has punished me sorely, but he did not hand me over to death.”
“The same stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”
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