The Dark night of the Soul is passed and He who has been imprisoned in the Tomb has burst forth in Victory! Christ is Risen He is risen indeed!
The perennial story of the suffering, death and Resurrection of Christ is the annual reenactment of the very story of Creation and Redemption. This is the stupendous truth which is at the Root of all religions and which lies behind the symbolism of every Sacrament. The Eternal Sacrifice, God Sacrificing Himself to Himself; the Lamb slain from the Foundation of the World, the body of the Deity slain and scattered, the Lost Word---all of these are symbols of the Great primeval truth of creation, the supreme sacrifice of the Logos, Who has freely offered Himself as the ensouling Life of matter, cribbed, contained and confined in form, for only through form could an objective Universe come into being. Manifestation is sacrifice, every form that exists is a symbol of the supreme Oblation, God giving Himself to His world that it might Live, holding Himself imprisoned in that form while time shall last. Can we imagine that Sacrifice where in the Infinite becomes finite, the Limitless becomes limited, the Universal becomes particular.
Involution is the pouring out of that indwelling Life, the sacramental Wine, into the various kingdoms of nature, the vessels molded to receive it, until in the density of the mineral kingdom the crucifixion of the Spirit is accomplished, the veil of Darkness descends and the tortured Victim exclaims “It is finished”. The body has been broken, the Life scattered among the myriad fragments, separation and division accomplished, the Unity dispersed. From that moment the process is reversed, evolution begins, the Resurrection and Ascension out of matter, the Search for that which has been lost, the finding and drawing together again of Osiris slain. Then in the course of evolution the human level is reached, the element of self consciousness is introduced which makes easier or retards the process of evolution as man himself directs. Man therefore becomes the very Battleground of the Universe, in whom Spirit and Matter meet----man made in the image of God, wielding the tremendous power of creation which is at the same time destruction; man as Form dying to Spirit man as Spirit dying to form, the eternal struggle leading to eternal peace, death holding the promise of resurrection “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Until now I have been talking in terms of the Universal principles of creation but at another level this great story symbolizes the quest of every individual person. When the disciple recognizes the Truth of the unity of all then he has discovered the Plan of Redemption leading back to the Fathers house. The disciple offers him or her self willingly to sacrifice the smaller confined, separated self for the greater good. When the point of death to the lower limited self is accomplished the words are spoken “it is finished”. And as in the gospel story of the crucifixion the veil of separation is rent. All that has separated us from the larger Universal Life is broken and we find access to the Holy of Holies. We find demonstrated the Divine Life within. We become raised to newness of Life!
So here we find ourselves this Easter as always, searching with Mary Magdalene for the Christ. The stone of separation has been rolled away. Not for the Christ to come out of the tomb for in his fullness he is no longer subject to time, space and form but transcends all of these for He lives in the Eternity of Light. No, the stone of separation is rolled away that the disciple may come and discover that in truth death has been swallowed up in Victory. In His Victory, the victory of the Christ nature we will see our own. The Angel speaks to us as he did to Mary those millennia ago, “Why seek ye the living among the dead” “He is not here He is risen even as He said” Christ is risen indeed. A joyous and blessed Easter Season to All.
The Right Reverend William S.H. Downey
Regionary Bishop for the USA
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