Is it Universal? Beyond Christianity?
How does Easter live in your heart each year? What is its meaning for you? How do you celebrate this holy time and holy story?
I ask this question of all my readers, whether you are Christian or not. The Inner Year looks to the Christian Year (not the Christian religion) as a model of incarnation – the divine becoming flesh in order to evolve, serve, and transform human consciousness. You and I are incarnations. There is a spark of the divine, a sacred purpose, dwelling within our own flesh bearing an unselfish, full-of-Self purpose that requires us, as Goethe says, to die and become.
Inner Easter asks us to look to the Easter Story, not to worship and believe, but to seek our own Easter imaginations, Easter inspirations and Easter intuitions about our own story, our own incarnating of the divine. This is not a task just for those who define themselves as Christian. It is a task for each of us because we are human and we speak the declaration “I am.”
My Gift to You for Your Inner Easter
I will be sharing with you twelve questions over the four days of Inner Easter. Your answers to these questions will cultivate a moral awareness of personal development, more than a spiritual awareness of the “greatest story ever told.” Rudolf Steiner admonishes us (as human beings, including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, atheists and all others) to take three steps in moral development for every step in spiritual development.
On Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday, I will send out an email (each day) with three questions for you to contemplate and work with. They will awaken in you an Inner Easter, your own personal, living Easter.
Each post offers suggestions for this deeply profound and personal celebration of Easter. These questions are not religious, dogmatic, or even spiritual, although they reflect the Easter Events and Jesus Christ. Inspired by Christianity, they are universally human in what they provide as possibility for personal development.
The questions will be posted on the Evolving Thoughts blog and I urge you and plead with you to share some of your inner responses to the questions. Selfhood is one of the great paradoxes. The experience and evolution of self is a solitary deed, yet it only finds meaning and proof in how our social gestures appear in the world. I was quite moved when I realized that the Christ is never alone and always in active social engagement. This is why the Inner Year curriculum, based in spiritual wisdom, focuses on the moral development that comes with finding yourself, knowing yourself, becoming yourself in relationship to your incarnating destiny, to others, to the world and to the future. Please leave your comments on the blog.
With every post I receive a number of personal emails with comments and I always wish they were posted on the blog to inspire all the Imagine Self community.
Thoughts on Religious Festivals
For most of us, our religious festivals center around meals more than worship. Our ceremonies take place at dinner tables, not altars. We decorate with symbols that seem more to delight the senses than to bring spiritual significance. They are yearly family rituals rather than times of connecting with the great spiritual mysteries.
Our conversations rarely reflect on the spiritual meaning of the day but focus more on the food and the family and friends gathered. Yet our enjoyment of the food and the company would not take place unless the religious story made the day special and called everyone together.
In the Christian Year and in most other spiritual festival calendars, there are two stories that shape the timing, the worship, and the festivities, the story of the gods and the story of nature. Long before the story of the Son of God, our ancient ancestors gathered together to celebrate the story of the Sun and the turning points of nature.
Considering Easter in 2012, it seems that we have a number of celebrations:
the celebration of Nature
the celebration of the Divine
the celebration of the Senses
the celebration of Relationships
Each of us also celebrates our memories of the festival, particularly from childhood. I still remember the amazing, wonderful, giant chocolate Easter egg my grandfather got me when I was 9 years old. And I remember about the same time, learning the Stations of the Cross and wondering what they were all about.
The Inner Year draws attention to another celebration, the celebration of growing Selfhood or our own moral awareness of self. This is the most challenging and most rewarding of the celebrations for any and every holiday and festival. It asks us to celebrate the sum of our experiences that are revealed by wondering and questioning ourselves from the perspective of the great religious event being recalled.
I explore all these celebrations in my book on Christmas, The Six Ways to Celebrate Christmas! and Celebrate You! If you want to explore the six ways we experience all our holy days, click here.