Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit
Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)
Easter RenewalRebirth Available To All
© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
in The Sun, San Bernardino, California, Saturday 30, 1991, page A7]
The awe-inspiring message of Easter is that the divine presence of Jesus Christ lives on, unceasingly loving us. What are the uplifting possibilities for us inherent in His resurrection?
Easter is the cornerstone, the principal festival of the Christian calendar. It celebrates the Divine's continued presence on Earth in the form of Jesus' resurrection on the third day following his crucifixion.
Easter dates from the origin of Christianity. It's probably the oldest Christian observance, next to the Sunday Mass, and this actually became the weekly rejoicing of the resurrection. Liturgical texts put emphasis on Easter being the Christian Passover, or time of redemption.
This festival of eternal life has spawned several popular customs. Easter eggs, brightly colored and decorated, have become prominent symbols of the new life. The Easter rabbit, symbolic of both human and lunar fertility and its cycles, lays eggs in nests prepared at Easter time. Children find these hidden eggs, and thereby claim their possibility of true life.
The celebration of Easter by Western Christians is on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the vernal equinox of March 21. The vernal equinox heralds the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when the sun moves north across the equator.
The temporal co-existence of Easter rejoicing with the vernal equinox can be seen as a powerful and tangible demonstration of the rebirth, renewal and renaissance of the Earth, all of its life, and ourselves. Nature, freeing herself from the harsh winter and wrapping herself in spring's green vitality, eloquently portrays God in Christ's ineffable love, which transcends physical death.
According to all four Gospels, Jesus' resurrected presence was greeted by repeated amazement, disbelief and doubt by all whom Jesus had been with. His reply was to model aliveness, as well as admonish them for their faithlessness and stubborn refusal to believe. Jesus even allowed disciple Thomas to feel his bodily wounds, before authoritatively commanding, "Stop doubting and believe." (John 20:27)
What will it take for anyone, having found the stone rolled back and the body missing, to know beyond doubt of the Divine's rebirth, and transmit this in the knowledge of life that doesn't pass? Are we not here to live in the full light and delirious joy of this unshakable knowledge?
What could you and I do to make Christ's resurrection real and alive for ourselves? I propose the free adoption of Christ's admonitions to His disciples as a fitting and faithful response. Key proposed tasks included:
(The Bible, The New Testament, Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:45-53; and John 20:21-23, 21:15-17)
Wouldn't the personal gift of ourselves to God show a heartfelt commitment to thought, word, attitude, and deed to His wish? Wouldn't this fulfill God's yearning for our voluntary turnaround? Isn't the true meaning of Easter to be found in the fabulous passage from apparent death to everlasting life?
The name "Jesus" means "deliverer." Clearly, He was the envoy of love. He came as the triumph of light over darkness, evil and death. He came to set people free from their illusionary attachments, ignorance and slavery to wrongdoing.
Christ's resurrection promises to bring out in mankind the latent virtue and fervent ability to love as God loves us. Thereby, we are emotionally moved, touched and ennobled. What stops us from celebrating His eternal presence not only yearly and weekly, but daily and hourly, and even moment by moment?
As we find our way to the tender hearth of
God's ever-present love of us, the essential question remains: How fully can we
give ourselves to God's embrace, knowing how eagerly He awaits our awakening in
order to give Himself to us. Our response to God's invitation, transporting us
from the hoax of death to joyous eternal life, will be manifested as we develop
into the whole souls we were always meant to be in His light.
Friedman, of Redlands, is a writer and licensed psychologist practicing in Loma Linda. He's associated with CPC Rancho Undo Hospital and is a regular commentator (or KVCR 91.9 FM in San Bernardino.
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