II. The Gift of Lilies
1. 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 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.
2. 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.
3. Each gift is an evaluation of the receiver and the giver. No one but sees his chosen home as an altar to himself. No one but seeks to draw to it the worshippers 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. This Easter, look with different eyes upon your brother. 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 dream, a 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.
7. 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 besides 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.
8. 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. 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 illusions; only 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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 in his pain. And gladly will you and your brother 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 your brother the freedom and the strength to lead you there. And come before his holy altar where the strength and freedom wait to offer and receive the bright awareness that leads you home. The lamp is lit in you for your brother. And by the hands that gave it to him shall you be led past fear to love. 
In today’s devotional text, Jesus reminds us of the enslavement we have to our bodies, how we cater to them and try to make them smell good and look good and attract other bodies to us. That which would limit our freedom and liberty, that which is doomed to die, that which has absolutely no worth except as a teaching tool and a learning device – we offer up to each other, we try to attract one another through our bodies, we want to connect to others through our bodies but yet true communion can only take place in the mind.
In paragraph two Jesus talks about the mind’s role in what we offer one another. When I choose to identify with my body I will spend a lot of time, money, and effort on all things to do with my body, making it ready to receive the gifts I think would make my body look good, smell good, and feel good. For all my special friends and relatives, I will also offer the same kind of gifts – we will have long conversations about what we are going to eat, what we are going to wear, the places we are going to go, and the style in which we will live our lives in the flesh. We will do our best to attract other bodies to us where we can exchange the same kinds of gifts with each other. We will discuss all the magic potions and pills that will make us appear more youthful, vibrant, and strong. We will talk about our doctors and operations and all the thing that pertain to our flesh bodies, rarely considering that we are offering a crown of thorns to one another, for the flesh cannot withstand eternity and it will surely die.
And yet when I choose to identify with my Spirit, I will be free of the bondage to the flesh. While I continue to do all the same things I did when I identified with flesh – eating, drinking, dressing, working, and resting – no longer will my body and all the demands of the ego take precedence in my mind for I will know who and what I really am. I will be awake in the dream of death and the certain crown of thorns cannot mar my peace or jar my joy. My gifts will be holy gifts, for instead of offering you a crown of thorns, I will offer you Sonship, I will see you as my Brother, I will be one with you in Love. When I offer you the gift of Sonship, I see you as I see Christ, as Son of God. What I offer you is what I offer Christ, for in the Spirit we are now and ever will be one.
In paragraph four Jesus tells us that He has a great need for lilies, which in this section represents life and purity. When we harbor judgment, condemnation, and ill will toward our brothers, when we see others as flesh and not as Spirit, we are withholding mercy and forgiveness from God’s Son, we are denying the Sonship, we are offering the crown of thorns. This is a call to look deep within to our inner altar and cleanse it of all desire for revenge and spite. All thoughts of sin and separation are part of the dream of madness. The very decision to go to the inner altar is an awakening to the reality of God, for as we go within, we see our true Being, and our body is no longer our chosen home. The thorns we would offer to the Sonship are gone!
We know the difference now between the deceitful perceptions of flesh eyes and the Vision of Christ. We see no separation, we see no strangers, no sinners, no killers and murderers, and religious maniacs. We see no thorns of death but only the purity and love of life eternal. There is a gentle glow of peace that shines on everything and everyone we look upon with love.
This is a conscious decision that we make – it does not happen without asking Holy Spirit to give us the Vision of Christ. When our spiritual eyes are opened, we are urged to use them and share this vision. It is not something to play with. It is not something to get out once in a while and marvel over and then put up on a shelf to keep safe. The Vision of Christ is the salvation of the world, it is the undoing of all sin and shame, harmfulness and bloodshed. It is the only good use of time. Jesus tells us to be careful and to hear this – USE THE VISION OF CHRIST AND SHARE IT. If we do not use the vision of Christ, we are contributing to the ongoing sorrow, pain, and suffering in the world.
We have the ability now to look past all illusions – this is God’s gift to us – Christ’s vision. We have the power to see no thorns, no strangers, no danger, no obstacles to peace. We have put down the fear of God and now we have nothing to fear. Because we know His Love, because we are God’s Will, because we see with the eyes of Christ, we are in charge of undoing the illusion of fear, death, specialness, and separation. We are one with Holy Spirit. We are the Sonship and the Sonship is not whole, the Sonship is not complete until Creation is released. And this is our final obstacle – we are awake in the dream – at home on the other side beyond the veil of sleep. And we cannot go home alone.
Everything we need we have – our home has called to each one of us since time began. All of us have experienced the bitter homesickness of knowing that this world is not our home. We did not know where to look, we did not know how to look, every time we questioned, we were misinformed or led astray. But now we know – we have seen past the veil of time and illusion; we are freed from the terror that kept us trapped in a nightmare that could not be real.
God’s Son cannot die. There is no fear in love. The song of Easter does not glorify the crucifixion but rather undoes it. For the Vision of Christ sees past the dream of death and sorrow and takes us Home to God where we live in peace and gentle kindness one toward the other, forever.
The way to Heaven is the peace of Easter – we join with Christ in His resurrection from the past and awakening in the present. We are free as Christ is free. We are one as Christ is one. And it all starts with sharing mercy and forgiveness, seeing beyond the illusion of sin and shame and sharing the Vision of Christ where all are redeemed.
In your personal devotions today, ask Holy Spirit to brighten the Vision of Christ within your mind, protecting it from the perceptions of the flesh which would terrorize and fill our minds with the dark magic and evil potions of the ego’s realm. Refuse to believe the tales of death and torture, violence and hatred – for they are only vivid examples of the crown of thorns that is promised to all of the ego’s minions. Share the Vision of Christ by bringing every worry and every care to the holy instant and resolving all difficulties there. We deny the ego’s version of the Sonship every single time we fail to judge, condemn, putdown, fret, or worry over the drama and trauma that is the constant newsfeed of this realm. As our faith in the love we share with God grows, all fears subside and fade away and we can be what we are called to be and do what we are called to do with courage and strength and power.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 20 The vision of holiness. II. The gift of lilies. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com