Good Friday can be a very challenging day to get through, as it gives us the opportunity to identify ourselves with the thought that we are sinners, which Yogananda strongly urged us to avoid. Nayaswami Ananta addressed this issue so beautifully and thoroughly in his talk on Palm Sunday that I highly urge you to give it a listen, if you haven’t already.
Are we all perfect and sinless? Of course not! But dwelling on our faults only increases our weakness, whereas by focusing on the Light we are able to lift ourselves out, bit by bit. My sagacious cello teacher, witnessing my self chastisements on technical shortcomings wisely counseled, “Now you need to focus on what you do WELL.” Sure enough, as my confidence grew, everything else began to fall into place.
This noon we had a two hour meditation followed by a purification ceremony to honor the mahasamadhi of this great master that was Jesus Christ. Here at the village, and hopefully everywhere, you can vibrantly feel the love of Christ permeating the atmosphere.
This evening we offered an excerpt from Swami Kriyananda’s Oratorio Christ Lives, which covered the years from Christ’s baptism to the crucifixion. As we sang Palm Sunday, I felt myself transported back to that joyous day, and experineced Christ’s presence of love so deeply and tangibly as never before. I now can understand the sadness that came from seeing Christ, with so much to give, taken away and crucified by those who rejected God’s love.
The sorrow of Jesus was not for himself.
He griev’d for God’s love, which, eternally giv’n,
Is spurn’d by God’s children, lost in forests of pride.
As Christ was praying in Gethsemane:
Must the love Thou bear’st Thy children ever suffer such disdain?
And during the tragic conclusion, the heaviest of pieces has a crucial seed of redemption within:
When we need You, You descend,
Seeking grieving hearts to mend.
By hate unaffected,
You remain our Friend.
On a cross rejected,
Doomed to meet a shameful end,
Still, with love perfected,
You remain our Friend.
Long we feared to face Your love,
Lest our emptiness it prove.
Now at last our hearts we give You,
Who remain our Friend.
As a conductor, I must pay special attention to bring out those last two lines, because they shift the focus from rejecting Christ to opening our hearts to receive His love. Every time we sing this piece, I ask the choir to not sing it as a dirge, but to consciously express that shift in our consciusness and let it be apparent in our voices, our faces, and in our hearts.
As it says in the Festival of Light,
And whereas suffering and sorrow, in the past, were the coin of man’s redemption, for us now the payment has been exchanged for calm acceptance and joy. Thus may we understand that pain is the fruit of self-love, whereas joy is the fruit of love for God.
It is my deepest hope that you may open your heart to God’s outpouring of love, and experience for yourself the transformation of consciousness.
Finally, I would like to honor a dear friend who is going through a difficult time right now. I am watching what could be a downward spiraling situation become a transformation filled with light, just from the directions that they have chosen: not to dwell in self inflicted darkness, but to live in the Light.
Have a blessed Easter weekend!