The Nazarene Way of
The key to the overcoming of death and to the processes of realizing the meaning and nature of eternity and the continuity of life can with safety be revealed only when love holds sway over the human consciousness, and where the good of the whole, and not the selfish good of the individual, comes to be the supreme regard.
Only through compassion and service as the expression of love (unity) can the real message of Christ be understood as we pass on towards a joyful resurrection. Love makes us humbler, and at the same time wiser. It penetrates to the heart of reality and has a faculty of discovering the truth hidden by a form.
The early Nazarenes were simple in this way because they loved one another... because they loved the 'Christ' within each other. Dr. Grensted points this out in the following words, giving us a fine summation of the attitude of the early Christians and of their approach, in those enthusiastic days, to Christ and to life in the world:
They spoke in plain terms of God. They did not think of Jesus of Nazareth as a crucial experiment. They knew Him as Friend and Master, and they put their whole being into the enthusiasm of His friendship and service.
Their preaching was the good news of the Way. They assumed that men already meant something when they spoke of God, and, without challenging the inheritance which they received from Judaism, they set side by side with it the Jesus whom they had known living, and dead, and alive again."
They had been through much more than a time of inexplicable miracles, healing, and voices, and a strange mastery over Nature itself, and at the end a conquest of death. If they had told the world, and us, these things alone, would have been believed? Such stories have always found not hearing. And men would still have known nothing more of the meaning of God.
But their experience had been one of such a Friendship as man had never known, of disastrous failure and a forgiveness beyond all believing, and of a new, a free, a creative life. Nothing of all this was of their own achievement. They knew they were men remade, and they knew that the mode of their remaking was love.
This was a providence, a deliverance, greater and more significant than anything anyone had ever claimed for the Creator-God. Yet they could not think of it as other than His work, since God, as all their national tradition taught, is One. It interpreted for them, as we might put it in our more cautious way, the creative reality to which they, with all men, had looked with uncertainty and even with fear.
Henceforth the central hypothesis which men call God was known as love, and everywhere He was made manifest just in so far as love had passed out from Christ to the fellowship of the Christian community.
Christ had risen, and by His Resurrection proved that humanity had in it the seed of life, and that there was no death for the man who could follow in the steps of the Master. In the past, being wholly engrossed with consideration of the Crucifixion, we have been apt to forget the fact of the Resurrection.
Yet on Easter Day, throughout the world, believers everywhere express their belief in the risen Christ and in the life beyond the grave. They have argued along many lines as to the possibility of His rising, and whether He rose as a human being or as the Son of God. They have been deeply concerned to prove that because He rose again, so shall we rise, provided we believe in Him.
In order to meet the theological need of proving that God is love, we have invented a place of discipline, called by many names, such as purgatory, or the various stages of the different faiths on the road of departed spirits to heaven, because so many millions die, or have died, without ever having heard of Christ.
Therefore belief in Him as an historical figure is not possible for them. We have evolved such doctrines as conditional immortality, and the at-one-ment through the blood of Jesus, in an endeavor to glorify the personality of Jesus and safeguard Christian believers, and to reconcile human interpretations with the truth in the Gospels.
We have taught the doctrine of hell-fire and eternal punishment, and then tried to fit it in to the general belief that God is love. Yet the truth is that Christ died and rose again because He was divinity immanent in a human body.
Through the processes of evolution and initiation He demonstrated to us the meaning and purpose of the divine life present in Him and in us all. Because Christ was human, He rose again. Because He was also divine, He rose again, and in the enacting of the drama of resurrection He revealed to us that great concept of the continuity of unfoldment which it has ever been the task of the Mysteries of all time to reveal.
Again and again we have found that the three episodes related in the Gospel story are not isolated happenings in the life of Jesus the Nazarene, but that they have been repeatedly undergone in the secret places of the Temples of the Mysteries, from the dawn of time.
The Saviors of the past were all subjected to the processes of death in some form or other, but they all rose again or were translated to glory. In the initiation ceremonies this burial and resurrection at the end of three days was a familiar ceremonial. History tells us of many of these Sons of God who died and rose again, and finally ascended into Heaven.
Thus we find that the resurrection story is of very ancient date, and that God has always held before humanity, through the Mysteries and through His illumined Sons, the fact of immortality, as before our Christian world, through the death and resurrection of His beloved Son. This whole problem of death and immortality is engrossing a great deal of public attention.
The outstanding need of Christianity today is to emphasize the living, risen Christ. We have argued too long over the death of Christ, seeking to impose a narrow sectarian Christ upon the world.
We have fed the fires of separation by Christian divisions, churches, sects and "isms." Their name is legion, and most of them are founded upon some sectarian presentation of the dead Christ, and of the earlier aspects of His story.
Let us now unite on the basis of the risen Christ - Christ alive today, Christ the source of inspiration and the founder of the kingdom of God; the cosmic Christ, eternally on the Cross, yet eternally alive; Christ, the historical Savior, the mystic portraying upon the canvas of the Gospels the episodes of unfoldment so that all who live may know and follow; alive today in every human heart and the guarantee of the urge towards divinity, which humanity so constantly exhibits.
Because of the presence of Christ in man, the conviction of divinity and of man's consequent immortality seem to be inherent in the human consciousness. It will inevitably occupy more and more of man's attention until it is demonstrated and proven; meanwhile that something apparently persists beyond physical death has been demonstrated.
The fact of immortality has not been proven as yet, though it constitutes a basic belief in the minds of millions, and where such a belief is universally found, there must indubitably be a basis for it.
The entire question of immortality is closely linked with the problem of divinity and of the unseen, subjective world, which seems to underlie the tangible and visible, frequently making its presence felt. Working therefore on the premise of the unseen and invisible, it is probable that we shall eventually penetrate to it and discover that it has always been with us, but that we have been blinded and unable to recognize its presence. Always some have done so, and their note sounds forth, strengthening our belief, endorsing our hope, and guaranteeing to us the eventual experience.
We are privileged to be present at a moment of great crisis for the human race. We are seeing the birth of a new and deathless race - a race in which the germ of immortality will flower and in which divinity can express itself through the transfiguration of mankind.
That which is of value is coming to the fore. It has always been there, but today it can be seen, ushering in the consummation of Christ's work, and bringing to realization His teachings.
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