Chapter Twenty: The Promise of the Resurrection
III. Thorns and Lilies
5 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.
6 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.
7 Each gift is an evaluation of the receiver and the giver. No one but sees in his chosen home an altar to himself. No one but seeks to draw to it the worshipers 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.
8 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.
9 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.
10 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 dreama 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.
11 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.
12 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 illusionsonly 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.
13 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.
14 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.
15 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.