Regardless of man's participation, nature every year continues to commemorate Easter. Her faithfulness in this respect provides a vivid and wholly peaceful contrast to the activities of humankind. Whether man is building up or tearing down his institutions, whether peace or strife holds sway in any quarter or in all of the globe, nature continues in her silent way to bring forth the growing things in their season, to mature them, and then to rest.
This rhythmic pattern continues year after year, century after century, seemingly without any effect whatever upon human affairs. The coming of Spring remarkably transforms the kingdoms of life, and the question arises: In what way does the time of Easter transform the life of man? Is man unique, something distinct from nature's operations?
The facts of science deny this idea, for the very tissues of nature are built into the structure of man; nor can we fairly distinguish between the life that infills us and the life that we see burgeoning around us at this season of the year. Reasoning from the small to the large, it is hard to imagine that man has anything within him that is not also contained — indeed drawn from — all-embracing nature. Why, then, is there not each year some visible manifestation of Springtime in the life of humanity?
Ancient peoples celebrated the Spring season: it came as a reassurance of the continuity of life after a period when the forces of life seemed to have withdrawn. They saw in it the pouring outward of the inner forces of nature producing varied patterns of beauty and growth. We celebrate Easter today, and it is certainly not by chance that the Christian story of the Resurrection is associated with this season of the year. There has been a great deal of controversy regarding the date, actuality and symbology of this great event in Christian history. But putting all this aside, the essential meaning of the Resurrection story is this: "Let the Mystical Christ come forth. Open the doors of your inner nature to the Higher Consciousness."
How many rightly interpret those words of Jesus: "I am the Resurrection and the Life"? Certainly their meaning was not to be restricted to the life of Christ alone. The sole reason for perpetuating the incidents in the life of Christ or any world teacher is that they have meaning for every man. "Greater things than these shall ye do." "Know ye not that ye are gods?" The noble qualities so fully manifested in the lives of humanity's greatest figures exist either potentially or partially awakened in every human being. Human life, centered as it is — or should be — on higher planes than the physical, may be transformed through the will and courage of man.
The message of Easter refers to the godlike qualities which are asleep, or lie "entombed" in most of us, except when called forth in moments of highest endeavor or emergency.
It may seem that the Twentieth Century with its complex life on so great a scale is quite remote from the life and times of the Prince of Peace. Yet efforts that produced human greatness in the past can produce it today. The lack of those same efforts in human life produce now as then discord and suffering.
Easter, 1952 . . . how can its problems and its hopes be best described? Many are working nobly for a greater understanding, a lasting peace, a more unified world, yet there are uncertainties and dark clouds. The only bar to man's progress is man himself and it is downright practical and logical to realize that a nobler epoch of human history can only come about when the better and more unselfish natures of men are continuously in control of their daily lives.
Thousands of years from now nature will still bring forth the Springtime. How much nearer mankind will then be to flowering depends upon how closely the message of Easter is taken to heart.
(From Sunrise magazine, April 1952; copyright © 1952 Theosophical University Press)