An Easter Story

From a transcript of David Karchere’s message on Easter morning at Edenvale, in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, April 20, 2014

As we are in this space together on Easter morning, I thought of words from a Christmas carol. They are from “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

The hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

I think of us here this morning and all that has gone before. There is what is in our recent history, each one of us; the people who have gone before, our parents, our parents’ parents; people we have known through our lives. And of course that stretches back into time, further than we can hardly imagine. And then I think about all that is meant to be in the future, all that has yet to be, and all that is possible. I think about our destiny as people, and our destiny collectively as humanity—all that we can become, all that we can create, all that could appear on this planet. And it is all met in us here today.

There are the limitations of this moment. We may feel our own personal limitations. We may think we are witness to the limitations of others and their shortcomings. At some level of things, we deal with those shortcomings and those limitations, and the ceilings they create for our experience. But more importantly, there is a reality that transcends all that. That reality ends up being what is important. It is our knowing of that reality, our living into it, our welcoming of it, through ourselves and through others, that creates magic and wonder here and now in this present moment. It is all met right here; it all meets together in us. We, individually and personally and then together, are that meeting place. In that meeting place, we find that all who have gone before are present, and all that’s yet to be is present.

We had the privilege earlier this morning of hearing the words of Uranda in an audio recording. That recording reminds us of the spirit that he brought. In some way, such things are records of something that happened and they fade, showing their age, I suppose, after time. And still they bring a presence that is not only historical but which is with us now.

So here we are, in the temporal, but also very much in the Eternal. As human beings, we are made to be a meeting place for the temporal and the Eternal.

I would like to speak about the Easter story this morning. What shall we make of it? It’s quite a story, isn’t it? There are many facets to it. Through the magic of the storytelling of the day, when the story was originally told and in the magic of the translation that’s come to us in English, there is a remarkably insightful account with a great economy of words. There are many stories within the story, many of which are just so powerful!

I’d like to focus on the story of Peter, one of the disciples. He got scared in an hour of need and thought it was wise for him to distance himself from Jesus and what was happening. No doubt he could see that something awful was under way and didn’t want to get swept up in it himself. The prospects didn’t look good. And he wasn’t the only disciple who apparently made that kind of calculation. As the story goes, at the time of the crucifixion the only disciple that was there was John. And we can appreciate that it would have been risky for someone to be there; we can wonder whether we would have made a different decision. And yet, there was one man who was there, and several women too.

So in this Easter story it seemed that things weren’t going well for Jesus. And in fact it looked very much like he had died and would be a nonfactor. So the embodiment of spirit that had been so glorious didn’t look so glorious in the Easter story. He was crucified, so he was on a cross—or some say not on a cross really, but on something that was more like a stake. That’s another story. But anyway, he was crucified and then put in a tomb. That didn’t look too glorious either. And what a symbol that is for our own life and the important things in it, for ourselves and for the people around us. There are times in our story when things don’t look so glorious, when people around us may not look so glorious, and when in our own experience we look at ourselves, reflect on ourselves, and feel some kind of shame over who we’ve become.

The Easter story asks us to see the glory that is present with us, even when it doesn’t look so glorious. It asks us to be with the body of the Divine—with the person or with the body of people who are meant to manifest the glory of the Lord—even when that body doesn’t seem to be doing so. It asks us to look at another person and see the glory of the Lord in them, even when, to our human eyes, they are somehow missing the mark.

In the story of Peter, Jesus was apparently aware of what had happened and sought to clear, as best he could, the pattern of guilt and shame that filled Peter, having done what he’d done—having failed to have the courage to be there when he needed to be there. And Jesus’ attempt in that regard is brought to us in these memorable words: “Feed my sheep.” He had asked Peter, “Lovest thou me?” Obviously there was a lack of love demonstrated—fear had prevailed. So he asked, “Lovest thou me?” And out of his shame, Peter protested too loudly: “Oh, Lord, Lord, Lord, you know I love you—you know how much I love you.” And Jesus’ response was “Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep.” In other words, “Prove it.”

Lovest thou me? Feed my lambs. Be of service to other people. Be of service to people who may not look so glorious. The word lambs implies that we’re called to be of service not only to those that we see as being spiritually mature; we’re called to be of service to those who are awakening. “Oh, I’m past that now. I’m flying in the higher ranges of consciousness, the elevated range of spiritual enlightenment.” As I was saying at Sunrise Ranch recently (indicating the attitude of some people), “I’m not at the First Sacred School or the Second, certainly. I actually began at the Third and I’m now up in the Fourth, the Fifth…the Fifty-seventh. I couldn’t bother to be a teacher and a light to others, sharing the most fundamental things about what it means to live life as a human being.” What does Maureen Waller say, sarcastically? “I’m all right, Jack—pull up the ladder.”

It takes humility to teach. It takes humility to feed the sheep and feed the lambs, and to see the possibility that’s present in this present moment—to call upon what seems to be in the past, what seems to be in the future somewhere, to call upon the Eternal and let it be met in us here and now. Any glory that ever was, any glory that’s possible to a human being, is possible to you and me now. And it’s possible to the people who come to be with us, if we will only have eyes to see them coming.

Another story within the story is the story of Mary Magdalene on Easter morning. Jesus has arisen out of the tomb, and she sees him and takes him for the gardener. And distraught at not finding the body in the tomb, she asks if he knows where her Lord is, for, as she says, they have taken his body and she doesn’t know where they have laid it. She can’t see the glory that’s right in front of her.

So what’s the bigger issue: that we should show our glory and that others in our life should show theirs—or that we should see it, that we should see its presence all around us? I think if we saw it, we’d show it. And there’s a risk that if we tried to show it before we saw it, we’d be in some kind of ego arrogance, as if we could make ourselves glorious. We become glorious when we see it.

In my own life I have few greater privileges than that of being a light to the young people who are coming to Sunrise Ranch. They are amazing to me. It reminds me of any of us at that point in our life. It’s amazing to see their eagerness, their openness, their desire, their passion, and to come to find that I have something to offer them that makes a difference in their life—to know that in some way they’re struggling and they’re searching, and to find that I have something to offer them that makes a difference. That I could help them find things that were shown to me, which I’ve come to know and understand in my own life and value so deeply—that I could help them find that! What greater privilege could there be?

I’ve wondered why Emissaries around the world haven’t had more interest in feeding the lambs and feeding the sheep. I’ve wondered what has happened to a person who couldn’t find it within themselves to extend themselves to another, and particularly to a young person. I could propose theories about what has happened to those who do not have that interest. And I suppose all those theories add up to self-concern and self-preoccupation; they add up to hitting some kind of ceiling for oneself. That was Peter’s problem. And if you hit a ceiling yourself, you’re not feeling particularly generous to share what you know with others. That knowing has been buried.

I don’t believe in feeding the lambs and sheep—feeding others, in other words—as if you yourself didn’t have something wondrous and great to do in your life. “It’s all up to them now” could be the attitude. I can tell you, for the young people I know, that wouldn’t be very inspiring to them! But when we’re continuing to move past the ceilings that could have stopped us and might stop a lesser person, when we are continuing to be on our learning and growing edge, opening up to what’s next and what’s new for us, then we’re in a place where we do have spiritual nourishment to offer to others. And particularly to young people.

So here we are on this Easter morning. Easter is about rebirth and a rising up. It’s about ascension in consciousness, which certainly is about moving through ceilings. And because there is ascension in consciousness, ascension in awareness, there’s ascension in how we’re being in our life and in our world. So it’s a pleasure and a privilege to share this Easter morning with you. We only get so many of them, you know. And we got to be here together for this one. I left my family and I left my community at Sunrise Ranch to be here. They are celebrating Easter service at this hour, and they’ll be having Easter dinner. My grandson and my daughter are up at the Ranch, and his other set of grandparents, and others. So my heart and my love is with them, but my presence is with you, because I knew that we had something vital to share on this weekend—and we have. And I value that deeply. It honors and brings forward all that’s been before, and it brings to focus all that can be hereafter. But it’s our coming together in this time, in this now, which allows creation to happen and allows all of that to have meaning, in us and between us. That’s the privilege of this day.

The hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

David Karchere
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