Yesterday was Easter, and in the sermon I gave at the Franklin, New Hampshire UU church, I connected the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection with the journey of sacred activism to heal ourselves and heal the world. The Easter story has a deeper meaning and wisdom to offer us – about death, rebirth, transformation, suffering, joy, purification, the opening of our hearts, the greening of our souls, passion, and Love.
The journey of sacred activism is really a spiritual death and rebirth, during our lifetime. It involves a descent into the personal and collective shadow parts of ourselves, an embracing of our dark sides, trampling our fear, ignorance, greed, ego, self-loathing and worthlessness, addiction to power, the pain in our hearts, the emptiness in our souls, and more. This inner chaos and crisis is really an awakening and cleansing that the Christian mystics referred to as the Dark Night of the Soul. It is an integration of opposites. Through this purification, facilitated by spiritual practices, we can embrace our wholeness, including the fullness of our masculine and feminine nature, and begin to connect with the deeper Light, Love, Joy, Wisdom and Creative Power in us, that is our birthright as spiritual beings. The great 13th century Sufi poet Rumi put it this way,
The grapes of my body can only become wine
After the winemaker tramples me.
I surrender my spirit like grapes to his trampling
So my inmost heart can blaze and dance with joy.
It is a profound transformation, the death of the false self, and the birthing in us of what has been called the Christ Consciousness. But this transformation is not just – or even mainly – about our own spiritual development. Rather, through this rebirth, we unleash a deep love, passion, and compassion for the world, because holiness exists in everything in the world, from the tiniest flea to the biggest whale. The inner work compels us to act to heal our world, but without carrying forward any unhealed wounds of anger, fear and control, thus preventing true change.
To be sacred activists, to live our lives to the fullest, takes great commitment and, above all, passion. Rumi says it best:
With passion pray. With
passion work. With passion make love.
With passion eat and drink and dance and play.
Why look like a dead fish
in this ocean of God?
Why, indeed! Happy Easter, everyone.