by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
Long ago, before the time of power-propelled vessels, a sailing ship was stuck off the coast of South America, because there was no wind to fill its sails. Week after week went by with no wind. The ship did not move, and the sailors were dying of thirst.
One day, a schooner drifted by just close enough to read their frantic signals for help. The schooner answered back, “Let down your buckets.” When they did, they found fresh water! Although they were far from the coast, the fresh water current of the Amazon River surrounded the sailing boat. All they needed to do was reach down!
A resurrected spirit is one that is willing to “let down their buckets,” to open themselves up to God’s presence in their lives. The resurrected spirit is ready to take its place “among the saviors of the world.” The world needs a resurrected spirit — the world needs you!
So much of the time we are bombarded by the problems of the world, and this current pandemic is a good example of that. We feel like the sailors on that ship, dying of thirst for comfort, safety, and peace. But, God is calling to us, “Come unto me. Lay your troubles down; let Me help you. I will never leave you comfortless.” His promise is life, and His promise is our resurrection.
On Christmas Eve 1993, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale died. Dr. Peale’s messages are one of a resurrected spirit. His books and sermons touched the lives of millions around the world, and he touched the life of this Center. His magazine, Guideposts, was a model for the approach and warmth that we adopted for The Holy Encounter. But he did not always believe in a resurrected spirit. He overcame his own childhood challenges and severe inferiority complex, through the power of God’s resurrecting spirit, to become one of the most dynamic and charismatic preachers in history.
Maya Angelou, the world renowned poet who delivered the inaugural poem at President Clinton’s first inauguration in January of 1993, became the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost for the 1961 inauguration of John F. Kennedy. She is a resurrected spirit. At the age of seven, she was raped. After telling a family member what had happened, her attacker was found murdered. Maya stopped speaking for six years, fearing that her voice had killed her attacker. As an adult, she was an exotic dancer, ran a bordello, and had a child at the age of 16. Maya could have felt like life had victimized her, but she chose to become a resurrected spirit. Today she is one of the most esteemed poets in America, and she attributed this honor to her willingness to turn to God, “to let down her buckets,” when she was troubled. In her book, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now, she wrote,
“My faith is tested many times every day, and more times than I’d like to confess, I’m unable to keep the banner of faith aloft. If a promise is not kept, or if a secret is betrayed, or if I experience long-lasting pain, I begin to doubt God and God’s love. I fall so miserably into the chasm of disbelief that I cry out in despair. Then the Spirit lifts me up again, and once more I am secured in faith. I don’t know how that happens, save when I cry out earnestly I am answered immediately and am returned to faithfulness. I am once again filled with Spirit and firmly planted on solid ground.”
Oskar Schindler, whose life was portrayed in the movie Schindler’s List, is a resurrected spirit. He was a womanizing German industrialist, war-profiteering Nazi Party Member, who saved the lives of 1,100 Jews during World War II. His motivation for having Jews work for him (which is what saved their lives) may have began as purely selfish, but it turned into a humanitarian passion as he became touched by a resurrecting spirit. At the end of the war, Schindler was given a ring by the Jews he saved with the inscription of a Talmudic verse which reads, “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”
In A Course in Miracles we read,
“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.” (T-20.I.1:3)
A resurrected spirit has a willingness, no matter how small, to see the hope instead of the hopelessness, to heal instead of suffer, to become whole by reaching out to others instead of withdrawing into ourselves. Easter becomes a time for us once again to remember God’s promise in our lives; His promise of peace and triumph over the seeming adversities; His promise of the resurrecting spirit that is alive in you right now!
We are no different than a Norman Vincent Peale, Maya Angelou, or Oskar Schindler. We have the potential to resurrect in the face of our seeming defeats and difficulties.
Jesus is reminding us of his message of resurrection this Easter season; not a message of pain and suffering, but a message of hope and healing. “Let down your buckets,” not in defeat, but in victory, and quench your thirst with God’s resurrecting spirit.