One of the many reasons I’m a student and teacher of A Course in Miracles lies in Holy Week.
In these seven days, somewhere between Christian passion plays and secular egg hunts, lies a universal story of death and rebirth, error and redemption. The Course has helped me understand and try to live out the meaning of this story not just in the week preceding Easter, but every day of the year.
One section of the Course is devoted to Holy Week, giving us a blueprint of rebirth and redemption not because Jesus was crucified, but because his resurrection taught us that we are more than our bodies and ego fears.
Here are three significant quotes from this section of the Course that will make every day of every week more holy for you and the people in your life.
1. “Offer your brother the gift of lilies, not the crown of thorns.” In other words, offer peace rather than attack, love rather than fear, forgiveness rather than crucifixion. By doing so, we’re teaching ourselves and our brothers that we’re all children of God.
Attack, condemnation—even physical gifts given out of obligation rather than love—diminish the receiver and the giver, sending the message that we are nothing but our fears.
“Offer him thorns and you are crucified,” the Course says. “Offer him lilies and it is yourself you free.”
2. “Easter is the sign of peace, not pain.” The Course reminds us that the Easter story is a celebration of life, not death. It’s tempting, it says, to wander into the drama of the crucifixion and mistakenly put our focus there, identifying with the pain and brokenness of the body.
But because we, like Jesus, are more than our bodies, the real story lies in the resurrection and everything it means for our own spiritual rebirth.
“A slain Christ has no meaning,” the Course says. “But a risen Christ becomes the symbol of God’s forgiveness on himself; the sign he looks upon himself as healed and whole.”
3. “This Easter, look with different eyes upon your brother.” According to the Course, we need to call on the Holy Spirit to help us see strangers as friends, and to see people who are wracked with fear (including ourselves) as whole and complete.
This is not idle advice or a simple recipe for a friendlier world. It’s the key to your own resurrection. By intentionally looking beyond other people’s fear to their sacredness, you breathe new life into your own peaceful heart.
Through these three points, the Course reminds us of the meaning that can sometimes be lost in the pageantry of Easter:
In every moment of every day, we have the opportunity to rise again through our own acts of forgiveness, and to be reborn by remembering who we—and all others—are as the light of the world.
Debra Engle is the author of The Only Little Prayer You Need. You can find her on Facebook and at debraengle.com.