EVERY so often someone will ask, "Do you remember when World War II ended? Do you remember watching the first man step on the surface of the moon? Do you remember what you were doing when you heard the Berlin Wall had come down? There are some events that etch themselves in memory.
Even these events, though, pale in contrast to what was etched into the memories of Jesus' disciples. At this time of year I make a point of rereading the four gospel accounts of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. These accounts bring us face to face with the birth of Christianity. Many have tried to dismiss these accounts, but Paul had talked with those who had been there. He wrote to the Corinthians: "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
When we keep these events in the realm of fact, and avoid relegating them, consciously or unconsciously, to the realm of story or myth, they incite a more lively Christianity on our part. They awaken a greater realization of the significance of these unparalleled events.
Indeed, when we consciously, deliberately accept the actuality of these events, Easter brings to thought some of the most significant questions that anyone can consider. Who was this man we call Christ Jesus? Why should he arouse such hatred that he was crucified, on the one hand, and such remarkable love from his followers on the other? Why was the crucifixion necessary? Was it necessary? What is its significance today? What does it tell us about God? about reality? about Jesus Christ? about man?
The questions could go on forever. Easter, if we probe beyond the surface, confronts us with challenging questions and heart-lifting answers. Easter inexorably moves thought past the death of Jesus to his resurrection. It declares immortal life lived in the love of God. To those who feel buried under the burdens of unhealed lack, pain, sickness, and disease, Easter breaks through with the light of hope. It tells us of the power of God's love. It dares us to consider an entirely new sense of life.
Jesus healed the incurable, he consoled the heartbroken, he rescued the sinner. His resurrection enabled people to realize that the underlying Principle of these acts is eternal. It will never leave men. This Principle that Jesus' works exemplified is God, who remains an everlasting resort for those in trouble.
It is important to remember that the darkness and agony of the crucifixion were followed by the glory of the resurrection. When we feel we have been harmed by someone or that we are being overwhelmed by disease or that death has taken away those we loved most, like our Master we can turn to God, infinite, almighty Love. When we seek the divine presence and power, Jesus' resurrection assures us that we can know what God is.
Christian Science urges people to heed Christ Jesus' example. He proved that man is never forsaken by God; that no situation is beyond divine aid; that we have an effective and ever-available Saviour, the eternal Christ.
Speaking at a church service on Easter, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, referred to Jesus' resurrection. Her remarks are recorded in Miscellaneous Writings: "I love the Easter service: it speaks to me of Life, and not of death. And she concludes: "Let us do our work; then we shall have part in his resurrection.