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Region 3 - Central London Sai Centre: Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday 5th April @ 9.50 am

It is Easter Sunday, 5th April, at 9.50 am. I meet Sai devotees from the Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Central London outside Westminster tube station, exit 4. Together we head towards Norton House, a care home for the aged, to sing Easter hymns to the residents. Empowered by the message of Jesus’s love, compassion and forgiveness, our hearts are filled with joy!

Coming from a Russian Christian Orthodox background and being absorbed by Swami’s teachings and Yoga scriptures, I think: what is the real message of Christ? What are the differences and similarities of Christ’s teachings and Swami’s? And what is the deeper reason behind the everlasting conflict between different religions? I am willing to explore all of this, through my heart, and through the Easter experience.

10.10 am - We go through the gates of Norton House and we’ve some time to rehearse and prepare.

Our audience starts gathering close to 11, and we see some have dressed up for the occasion; their effort feels so warming.

Our songs takes the audience through the events of the last week of Jesus’s life. Entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, welcomed by the crowd shouting “Hosanna!” (which means “Please save us!”), then onto Thursday of that week, when Jesus shares the “Last Supper” with his disciples, and gives them the new commandment: “That you love one another as I have loved you”.

On Friday, Jesus, an innocent man, is sentenced to death by a few ignorant people. While dying on the cross in the midst of unbearable pain, Jesus says: “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And then, finally, onto the Sunday and Jesus's disciples' discovery that his death doesn’t mean the end of his life! Although he is buried in a tomb guarded by Roman soldiers, Jesus rises to life again, and in the ensuing days appears repeatedly to over five hundred people, proving his existence, before ascending into the heavens 40 days later.

We finish our hymns around noon and have tea with our listeners. Ann - one of the care home residents - tells me she loves music and that her son is a musician, and she’s so proud of him. We had noticed many of the residents singing along, and, when the time comes to leave, we receive very hearty handshakes and it feels that the message of joy and hope has reached the souls and hearts of our lovely hosts. 'Shine Jesus shine, fill this land with the Father’s glory!’ We now head to the Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Central London, to prepare for our Easter programme there starting at 4pm!

Our programme at the Centre is heart breaking – ‘There in the garden of tears, my heavy load he chose to bear…’. As one of Jesus's disciples, I am sharing the last supper with him and listening to his commandment - ‘True love is patient, not arrogant or boastful, love bears all things, love is eternal’. On Friday, I am witnessing one of the world’s worst injustices! I am walking along with Jesus up the hill, carrying the cross in the burning sun - my heart is filled with grief beyond any description; ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?'. I am dying with Jesus. I rise from the dead on Sunday with Jesus. This is very emotional! I can hardly hold the tears running from my eyes. ‘Then sings my soul, my saviour God to thee, how great thou art, how great thou art!

Jesus Christ was born of 'flesh’, like man. He lived a life in which he was tempted like all other men, yet unlike all other men he had the power to resist the temptations of the flesh. He overcame these impulses and lived a perfect life of obedience, fulfilling God’s will. Jesus said:

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever" (John 6:51)

Jesus told us, we too can be filled with the spirit of God, if we turn to God and give up our insincere, vain pursuit of earthly treasures; if we do, we can also call God Our Father. Isn’t this the same with Swami’s teachings? Controlling our senses and worldly pursuits in order to experience true Divine Love?

“God is love; Love is God. Love is linked to love. When one is full of love He is fit for oneness with God. It is most vital for everyone to recognise and practise this Love Principle.” (Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 29; Chapter 52)

In my heart, I come to the conclusion that there is no difference between Love and service; all the paths lead to union with God or Yoga. 'Christ in me is to live!’

Maria Canas