Although I know there are no accidents in how this life unfolds, there are still moments that catch my attention. And I just had one. I had already decided to carry my previous post a bit further today … drawn to share some of Jesus’ teachings without the pulpit and pews. Years ago I was introduced to The Gospel of St. Thomas and while doing a bit of research, came upon this site and an introduction by yet another author named Anonymous. As I began reading the introduction, direct connections with what I had shared recently were evident. A song from last week by Dougie MacLean drew attention to man’s idea of progress … while in the previous post, the distinction between the message and the messenger were accentuated. For whatever reason these arose again in this introduction, catching my attention … although, as I read, there was even more:
In a country where from childhood all willows are cut back, no man can form an idea of a willow as it could have been, if it could have turned freely into the tree is was intended to be. In a world where all children are polled and trimmed in their freedom from childhood on because they have to learn to live in this society, no man can imagine a man as he was intended to be. Man has no idea of an independent, free man. At one time, man has been like that, free and only dependent on nature.
Now, people live imprisoned in their convictions, traditions, beliefs and habits, dependent on others, culture and nature. By doing so, they have constructed an artificial, virtual cage. The bars distort their sight on reality. Therefore, mankind lives in an unfair, dishonest society in which the rich become richer, the poor become poorer and where nobody knows the right direction. Because everybody is convinced of the idea that there is no way back, only progress is an option, without anybody knowing where this progress will lead.
Around 2000 years ago, someone escaped from the world of shadows and came back to tell those who stayed behind of the real life, and to show them the way out. At that time, they claimed he had risen from dead, became man, or had awoken. Nowadays, people would claim he had reached enlightenment. He had experienced that righteousness is the condition to reach simplicity and blessedness and that it is difficult to live as a righteous (man) in an unrighteous world, as a living amongst the death. The righteousness and compassion (for) the chained ones demands you to go back. He preached a completely different way of life and not a different way of thinking.The story is that the establishment killed him, his words are misunderstood and that they turned his life into a religion. Humankind took possession of the messenger and did not understand the message. If somebody has seen a beautiful theatrical performance he can tell about it enthusiastically, but he would better show people the way to the theatre. His metaphors of the unspeakable made his message unclear. The experience is not expressible in words. For that reason, he gave people the opportunity to take his words figuratively. The words of the teacher of righteousness, some people call him “Jesus”, are probably best and least distorted preserved in the gospel of Thomas. The question remains if “Jesus” is not merely a metaphor of the Logos, the conscience or the inner voice, and if the personification “Jesus” has been used merely as a vehicle to carry the message. Ultimately, it does not matter because it is the message and not the messenger that counts. After having been passed on orally over time the words have been written down by disciples, who clearly did not understand the essence, which has lead to some strange and incomprehensible changes. It must have been a very simple message and yet scientists have studied the texts for decades without being able to decode the message. They devote their attention, so to speak, to the treasure map, and fail to (search for) the treasure.
The Gospel of St. Thomas was not included in the Bible, but is, in its entirety, nothing less than a list of things Jesus said. It would seem obvious that, if indeed these really were words Jesus spoke, they would have most assuredly been included. Right? But then of course, there’s always that echo, “who’s to say he said them, if he even existed.” And ’round and ’round we go. We’re told who and what we should believe … or not … and it is truly fascinating.
Fortunately, I’m coming to an interesting place … where I acknowledge, “I really don’t know for certain. Any of it.” But I know what resonance is. Have you ever slapped a tuning fork on your leg, set it to your guitar, and heard the vibrations of the fork and string come together as the string is tightened? It is gorgeous … and you know when it’s right.
And so you see, there are two components. The fork and the string. In order to come together, they must both be pure. A rusty string will never bring the clarity of one that is clean, like new. I suppose that’s where the rubber meets the road. In a post some time back, I brought up the notion of “purifying” ourselves … and it comes again. I’m rambling a bit now … so I need to steer back on track. But I suspect you’ll catch my drift.
My intent today was to venture into what Thomas brought, the actual (or supposed 🙂 ) words of Jesus, but I think I’m going to allow the words of our Anonymous friend to settle. Mind you, what you see above is not the entire introduction, so I encourage you to visit the site. I’m not proclaiming that any or all should be accepted … but our anonymous friend does stir the embers. In fact, I haven’t delved deeply into “his elucidations” on the actual Gospel … but I will. It will be intriguing to try moving around to where he was standing when he wrote. It’s not always possible to do … but it certainly doesn’t hurt to, at least, try and see from a different perspective.
Until then, know peace!