This is a time for reflection, gathering together, and sacrament for many major religious communities. On Saturday, March 31 was the first day of Passover for our Jewish friends. The days leading up to Passover are spent cleaning and getting rid of unnecessary items. Sounds like a good practice to me! For our friends of Christian belief, Friday March 30, was Good Friday, March 31 was called Holy Saturday and followed by Easter on April 1.
For those of us in the Religion of Spiritualism, March 31 is considered the advent of Modern Spiritualism. Although communication with spirits goes back to before the days of Adam and Eve, March 31, 1848 is special because it was a proven and documented communication with a discarnate spirit. The unknown spirit entity that was involved in the communication was a person that had been murdered in the rented house several years earlier. He provided his name and location of his stolen belongings and his remains, which were later verified and even his skeleton was found behind a false wall. That is another story for another time.
As Spiritualists, during the Easter season we realize a key discordant difference in our principles from people of the Christian faith. We do not believe in vicarious atonement - that is that someone else, namely Jesus, paid the price for our mis-deeds. We believe in personal responsibility – when we do something wrong, it is up to us to make amends and to make it right.
We view Jesus as a way shower, a healer, an awesome clairvoyant, a good friend, and a person that we should emulate in thought, words, and deeds. As documented in the Bible, Jesus said that anything that he was able to do that we also could do. Paul the Apostle states in First Corinthians Chapter 12:3–11 of the New International Version of the Bible that we all have spiritual gifts.
3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b]11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
When concerned that speaking to spirit may be of the devil, remember, Jesus did it and said that all of us have a gift. Throughout the Bible there is documented cases of materialization, trance, speaking in tongues, spiritual healing, spirit writing, trumpet, levitation, independent voice, spirit writing (can we say 10 Commandments?) and so on. There is nothing to say that spirit communication ended with Jesus dying – quite the contrary. Even with Jesus “being raised from the dead” we are being shown that our spirit does not stay in the ground upon death of the physical body. We all move on to another realm when our body dies.
As a reminder, as a Spiritualist we believe that everyone is on their own journey and where they need to be regarding religion. We do not knock or criticize other religions. We do not try to ‘convert or save’ anyone. People will find us when the time is right.
So, my friends, I trust that this little refresher course about Spiritualism and why we are all open to following this path, will give you some information if someone asks, what do Spiritualists believe? This is just a piece of who and what we are, and as you become more involved you will come to understand that Spiritualism is deeply steeped in the philosophy, the science and the religion with proof of the continuity of life.