A Course in Miracles

Chapter 20 - Promise of the Resurrection

Holy Week

This is Palm Sunday, the celebration of victory and the acceptance of the truth. Let us not spend this holy week brooding on the crucifixion of God’s Son, but happily in the celebration of his release, for Easter is the sign of peace, not pain.

A slain Christ has no meaning. But a risen Christ becomes the symbol of the Son of God’s forgiveness on himself; the sign he looks upon himself as healed and whole.

This week begins with palms and ends with lilies, the white and holy sign the Son of God is innocent. Let no dark sign of crucifixion intervene between the journey and its purpose; between the acceptance of the truth and its expression. This week we celebrate life, not death; and we honor the perfect purity of the Son of God, and not his sins.

Offer each other the gift of lilies, not the crown of thorns; the gift of love and not the “gift” of fear. You stand beside each other, thorns in one hand and lilies in the other, uncertain which to give. Join now with me and throw away the thorns, offering the lilies to replace them. This Easter, I would have the gift of your forgiveness offered by you to me, and returned by me to you.

We cannot be united in crucifixion and in death. Nor can the resurrection be complete till your forgiveness rests on Christ along with mine. A week is short, and yet this holy week is the symbol of the whole journey the Son of God has undertaken. He started with the sign of victory, the promise of the resurrection, already given him. Let him not wander into the temptation of crucifixion, and delay him there.

Help him to go in peace beyond it, with the light of his own innocence lighting his way to his redemption and release. Hold him not back with thorns and nails, when his redemption is so near, but let the whiteness of your shining gift of lilies speed him on his way to resurrection.

If you see glimpses of the face of Christ behind the veil, looking between the snow white petals of the lilies you have received and given as your gift, you will behold each other’s face and recognize it. I was a stranger and you took me in, not knowing who I was. Yet for your gift of lilies you will know. In your forgiveness of this stranger, alien to you and yet your ancient Friend, lie his release and your redemption with him. The time of Easter is a time of joy, and not of mourning. Look on your risen Friend, and celebrate his holiness along with me. For Easter is the time of your salvation, along with mine.

 

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 20 - Promise of the Resurrection

Thorns and Lilies

Look upon all the trinkets made to hang upon the body, or to cover it, or for its use. See all the useless things made for its eyes to see. Think on the many offerings made for its pleasure, and remember all these were made to make seem lovely what you hate. Would you employ this hated thing to draw your brother to you, and to attract his body’s eyes?

Learn you but offer him a crown of thorns, not recognizing it for what it is, and trying to justify your own interpretation of its value by his acceptance. Yet still the gift proclaims his worthlessness to you, as his acceptance and delight acknowledges the lack of value he places on himself.

Gifts are not made through bodies, if they be truly given and received, for bodies can neither offer nor accept; hold out nor take. Only the mind can value, and only the mind decides on what it would receive and give, and every gift it offers depends on what it wants. It will adorn its chosen home most carefully, making it ready to receive the gifts it wants by offering them to those who come unto its chosen home, or those it would attract to it. And there they will exchange their gifts, offering and receiving what their minds judge to be worthy of them.

Each gift is an evaluation of the receiver and the giver. No one but sees his chosen home an altar to himself. No one but seeks to draw to it the worshippers of what he placed upon it, making it worthy of their devotion. And each has set a light upon his altar, that they may see what he has placed upon it and take it for their own. Here is the value that you lay upon your brother and on yourself. Here is your gift to both; your judgment on the Son of God for what he is. Forget not that it is your Savior to whom the gift is offered.

Offer him thorns and you are crucified. Offer him lilies and it is yourself you free.

I have great need for lilies, for the Son of God has not forgiven me. And can I offer him forgiveness, when he offers thorns to me? For he who offers thorns to anyone is against me still. And who is whole without him? Be you his friend for me, that I may be forgiven, and you may look upon the Son of God as whole. But look you first upon the altar in your chosen home, and see what you have laid upon it to offer me. If it be thorns whose points gleam sharply in a blood-red light, the body is your chosen home, and it is separation that you offer me. And yet the thorns are gone. Look you still closer at them now, and you will see your altar is no longer what it was.

You look still with the body’s eyes, and they can see but thorns.

Yet you have asked for and received another sight. Those who accept the Holy Spirit’s purpose as their own share also His vision. And what enables Him to see His purpose shine forth from every altar now is yours as well as His. He sees no strangers, only dearly loved and loving friends. He sees no thorns but only lilies, gleaming in the gentle glow of peace that shines on everything He looks upon and loves.

This Easter, look with different eyes upon each other. You have forgiven me, and yet I cannot use your gift of lilies while you see them not. Nor can you use what I have given unless you share it. The Holy Spirit’s vision is no idle gift, no plaything to be tossed about a while, and laid aside.

Listen and hear this carefully, nor think it but a dream; a careless thought to play with, or a toy you would pick up from time to time and then put by. For if you do, so will it be to you:

You have the vision now to look past all illusions. It has been given you to see no thorns, no strangers, and no obstacles to peace.

The fear of God is nothing to you now. Who is afraid to look upon illusions, knowing his Savior stands beside him? With him, your vision has become the greatest power for the undoing of illusion that God Himself could give, for what God gave the Holy Spirit, you have received. The Son of God looks unto you for his release. For you have asked for and been given, the strength to look upon this final obstacle and see no thorns nor nails to crucify the Son of God, and crown him king of death. Your chosen home is on the other side, beyond the veil. It has been carefully prepared for you, and it is ready to receive you now.

You will not see it with the body’s eyes. Yet all you need you have. Your home has called to you since time began, nor have you ever failed entirely to hear. You heard, but knew not how to look, nor where. And now you know. In you the knowledge lies, ready to be unveiled and freed from all the terror that kept it hidden.

There is no fear in love. The song of Easter is the glad refrain the Son of God was never crucified.

Let us lift up our eyes together, not in fear but faith. And there will be no fear in us, for in our vision will be no illusions; only a pathway to the open door of Heaven, the home we share in quietness, and where we live in gentleness and peace, as one together.

Would you not have your holy brother lead you there? His innocence will light your way, offering you its guiding light and sure protection, and shining from the holy altar within him where you laid the lilies of forgiveness. Let him be to you the Savior from illusions. And look on him with the new vision that looks upon the lilies and brings you joy. We go beyond the veil of fear, lighting each other’s way. The holiness that leads us is within us, as is our home. So will we find what we were meant to find by Him Who leads us.

This is the way to Heaven and to the peace of Easter, in which we join in glad awareness that the Son of God is risen from the past and has awakened to the present. NOW is he free, unlimited in his communion with all that is within him. NOW are the lilies of his innocence untouched by guilt, and perfectly protected from the cold chill of fear and withering blight of sin alike. Your gift has saved him from the thorns and nails, and his strong arm is free to guide you safely through them and beyond. Walk with him now rejoicing, for the Savior from illusions has come to greet you and lead you home with him.

Here is your Savior and your Friend, released from crucifixion through your vision, and free to lead you now where he would be. He will not leave you, nor forsake the Savior from his pain. And gladly will you walk the way of innocence together, singing as you behold the open door of Heaven, and recognize the home that called to you. Give joyously to one another the freedom and the strength to lead you there. And come before each other’s holy altar where the strength and freedom wait, to offer and receive the bright awareness that leads you home. The lamp is lit in both of you for one another. And by the hands that gave it to each other shall both of you be led past fear to love.

 

 

A Course in Miracles

Chapter 20 - Promise of the Resurrection

Sin As An Adjustment

The belief in sin is an adjustment. And an adjustment is a change; a shift in perception, or a belief that what was so before has been made different. Every adjustment is therefore a distortion, and calls upon defenses to uphold it against reality. Knowledge requires no adjustment, and, in fact, is lost if any shift or change is undertaken, for this reduces it at once to mere perception; a way of looking in which certainty is lost, and doubt has entered. To this impaired condition are adjustments necessary, because they are not true.

Who need adjust to truth, which calls on only what he is, to understand?

Adjustments of any kind are of the ego, for it is the ego’s fixed belief that all relationships depend upon adjustments to make of them what it would have them be. Direct relationships, in which there are no interference’s, are always seen as dangerous. The ego is the self-appointed mediator of all relationships, making whatever adjustments it deems necessary, and interposing them between those who would meet, to keep them separate and prevent their union. It is this studied interference which makes it difficult for you to recognize your holy relationship for what it is.

The holy do not interfere with truth. They are not afraid of it, for it is within the truth they recognized their holiness and rejoiced at what they saw. They looked on it directly, without attempting to adjust themselves to it, or it to them, and so they saw that it was in them, not deciding first where they would have it be. Their looking merely asked a question, and it was what they saw that answered them.

You make the world, and then adjust to it, and it to you. Nor is there any difference between yourself and it in your perception, which made them both.

A simple question yet remains, and needs an answer. Do you like what you have made? – a world of murder and attack, through which you thread your timid way through constant dangers, alone and frightened, hoping at most that death will wait a little longer before it overtakes you and you disappear?

YOU MADE THIS UP. It is a picture of what you think you are; of how you see yourself.

A murderer is frightened, and those who kill fear death. All these are but the fearful thoughts of those who would adjust themselves to a world made fearful by their adjustments; and they look out in sorrow from what is sad within, and see the sadness there.

Have you not wondered what the world is really like; how it would look through happy eyes? The world you see is but a judgment on yourself. It is not there at all. Yet judgment lays a sentence on it, justifies it, and makes it real. Such is the world you see; a judgment on yourself, and made by you. This sickly picture of yourself is carefully preserved by the ego, whose image it is and which it loves, and placed outside you in the world, and to this world must you adjust, as long as you believe this picture is outside and has you at its mercy. This world is merciless, and were it outside you, you should indeed be fearful. Yet it was you who made it merciless, and now if mercilessness seems to look back at you, it can be corrected.

Who in a holy relationship can long remain unholy? The world the holy see is one with them, just as the world the ego looks upon is like itself. The world the holy see is beautiful because they see their innocence in it. They did not tell it what it was; they did not make adjustments to fit their orders.

They gently questioned it and whispered,

“What are you?”

And He Who watches over all perception answered. Take not the judgment of the world as answer to the question,

“What am I?”

The world believes in sin, but the belief that made it, as you see it, is not outside you. Seek not to make the Son of God adjust to his insanity. There is a stranger in him, who wandered carelessly into the home of truth and who will wander off. He came without a purpose, but he will not remain before the shining light the Holy Spirit offered, and you accepted, for there the stranger is made homeless and you are welcome.

Ask not this transient stranger,

“What am I?”

He is the only thing in all the universe that does not know. Yet it is he you asked, and it is to his answer that you would adjust. This one wild thought, fierce in its arrogance, and yet so tiny and so meaningless it slips unnoticed through the universe of truth, becomes your guide. To it you turn to ask the meaning of the universe, and of the one blind thing in all the seeing universe of truth you ask,

“How shall I look upon the Son of God?”

Does one ask judgment of what is totally bereft of judgment? And if you have, would you believe the answer, and adjust to it as if it were the truth? The world you look on is the answer that it gave you, and you have given it power to adjust the world to make its answer true. You asked this puff of madness for the meaning of your unholy relationship, and adjusted it, according to its insane answer.

How happy did it make you? Did you meet with joy, to bless the Son of God and give him thanks for all the happiness which he held out to you? Did you recognize each other as the eternal gift of God to you? Did you see the holiness that shone in both of you, to bless the other?

That is the purpose of your holy relationship. Ask not the means of its attainment of the one thing that still would have it be unholy. Give it (the ego) no power to adjust the means and end.

Prisoners bound with heavy chains for years, starved and emaciated, weak and exhausted, and with eyes so long cast down in darkness they remember not the light, do not leap up in joy the instant they are made free. It takes a while for them to understand what freedom is. You groped but feebly in the dust and found each other’s hand, uncertain whether to let it go, or to take hold on life so long forgotten. Strengthen your hold, and raise your eyes unto your strong companion, in whom the meaning of your freedom lies. He seemed to be crucified beside you, and yet his holiness remained untouched and perfect; and with him beside you, you shall this day enter with him to Paradise, and know the peace of God.

Such is my will for both of you, and for each of you for one another, and for himself. Here there is only holiness and joining without limit. For what is Heaven but union, direct and perfect, and without the veil of fear upon it? Here are we one, looking with perfect gentleness upon each other, and on ourselves. Here all thoughts of any separation between us becomes impossible. You, who were prisoners in separation, are now made free in Paradise. And here would I unite with you, my friends, my brothers and my Self. Your gift unto each other has given me the certainty our union will be soon.

Share, then, this faith with me, and know that it is justified. There is no fear in perfect love because it knows no sin, and it must look on others as on itself. Looking with charity within, what can it fear without? The innocent see safety, and the pure in heart see God within His Son and look unto the Son to lead them to the Father; and where else would they go but where they will to be? Each of you now will lead the other to the Father as surely as God created His Son holy, and kept him so. In your brother is the light of God’s eternal promise of your immortality. See him as sinless, and there can be no fear in you.

 

 
 

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