Easter’s message of regeneration

As we strive to understand that Life is God, as Christ Jesus proved, we will be uplifted from old habits and materialistic thinking into blessings and healing.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Regeneration is at the heart of the 2,000-year-old Easter story. Jesus of Nazareth was brought to trial at the urging of religious authorities who felt threatened by his teachings about God’s love for all, and by his unprecedented healing ministry. He was sentenced by the Roman governor, Pilate, and crucified. The narrative moves as Jesus predicted: he arose from the dead after three days to prove that Love and Life are divine, and can’t be destroyed by hate.

I grew up with Jesus’ story, but as a young adult I needed to search to find its meaning. Belief wasn’t enough. I found direction in the practice of Christian Science, which simultaneously saved my life in an emergency. I was completely paralyzed and rapidly losing my normal functions, including sight. My husband began reading to me from the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, and I heard a clear thought that confirmed the truth I had been looking for. The condition, which was later identified medically as one that can be fatal, immediately left. But, of even more consequence to me, the beginnings of regeneration that I experienced compelled me to explore how this had happened.

I found some answers in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (see Luke 15). It tells the story of a younger son who, after wrecking his life with bad choices, returns hungry and homeless to his father. His father greets him with love, saying, “My son was dead, and is alive again.” The prodigal hadn’t died and come back to life, but he had let go of old ways of thinking and living, and was unexpectedly welcomed into the good that was always waiting for him. Sacrificing his old ways led to his regeneration – to a type of resurrection.

Considering the Easter story, one might wonder, Why did Jesus sacrifice himself? Certainly it may require individual searching to grapple with that question. Wasn’t it done out of complete love for God and his fellow man? Jesus’ monumental sacrifice did enable others to begin to conceive of their own value to God as worthy, loved, and indispensable, because he demonstrated that death wasn’t the end. His resurrection proved that life exists regardless of the actions of hate, and that life is above claims of being dependent on matter, because God is Life.

Jesus’ utter selflessness and subsequent proof of spiritual existence as a present reality moved his disciples to selfless ministry as well. Biblical accounts relate that his disciples also healed, and in some notable instances even raised the dead. Their sense of life had been radically expanded by Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection.

Jesus’ example of self-sacrifice and healing is universally translatable to all humanity, for all time. He illustrates that regeneration requires unselfed thinking. We can begin, like the prodigal, by sacrificing old habits and ways of thinking that focus primarily on self, and by caring more universally.

We are naturally led to give up thinking about self when we understand how God loves and sees His creation. This higher understanding that God is limitless Life, and that as God’s offspring we each reflect that true Life, leads heart and mind more spiritually. In a very real sense it resurrects us. It allows our thinking to be transformed by the Christ-spirit that Jesus exemplified.

Jesus taught to turn from a focus on flawed self-sense and be lifted to higher thoughts and acts. That may seem like sacrificing individuality. But it really uncovers a deeper and more satisfying identity. As Science and Health says, “This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man’s absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace” (p. 265).

Resurrected views look outward; they’re broader, kinder, less materialistic, and they lead us to see that everyone is embraced in perfect Life. Our uplifted perspective contributes to uplifting the spirit of humanity. Selfishness, fear, and sadness diminish, heart and mind are renewed, and the body responds correspondingly, often in experiencing a needed healing. Resurrected thinking affirms each individual’s timeless value to the infinite God that created each one of us.

Practical sacrifice and resurrection speak to every heart, wherever thought reaches beyond self to the consciousness that lives to bless others. That life finds itself “alive again” as the prodigal did!

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