AGAIN ADDRESSING TEN FROM THOMAS

TEN MORE FROM THOMAS

HOSTING A FURTHER TEN FROM THOMAS

OPENING ANOTHER TEN FROM THOMAS

MEASURING OUT A NEW TEN FROM THOMAS

are follow-ups to the post for January 2019 HOW WILL DEATH TASTE? which was originally intended as a stand-alone piece based on selected sayings from the ‘Gospel of Jesus According to Thomas’. 

Who was Thomas?

Thomas, aka Didymus (Twin?) d. 72 AD, was one of the 12 original apostles of Jesus. Born in Galilee in the days of the Roman Empire (same time and place as Jesus?) Died at Parangimalai (St.Thomas’s Mount) Chennai, Chola (India)

The following are the next ten from the remaindered sayings. The introduction to be found in the January post also applies here (as does the conclusion).            

               Saying 64

Jesus said, “Someone was planning on having guests. When dinner was ready, they sent their servant to call the visitors.

“The servant went to the first and said, ‘My master invites you.’

“They said, ‘Some merchants owe me money. They’re coming tonight. I need to go and give them instructions. Excuse me from the dinner.’

“The servant went to another one and said, ‘My master invites you.’

“They said, “I’ve just bought a house and am needed for the day. I won’t have time.’

“The servant went to another one and said, ‘My master invites you.’

“They said, ‘My friend is getting married and I’m going to make dinner. I can’t come. Excuse me from the dinner.’ 

“The servant went to another one and said, ‘My master invites you.’

“They said, “I’ve just bought a farm and am going to collect the rent. I can’t come. Excuse me.’

“The servant went back and told the master, ‘The ones you’ve invited to the dinner have excused themselves.’

“The master said to their servant, ‘Go out to the roads and bring whomever you find so that they can have dinner.’

“Buyers and merchants won’t …. the places of my Father.”

In most societies a mother is either forgiven or applauded for being absorbed in the growth of her baby. A gardener tackling evening aphids or planning tomorrow’s planting may choose not to notice the supper gong and will return to the house only when the light has gone down. Even more distracting is the lure of profit-taking, or joy of proprietorship, to a burgeoning bread-head.

Are any of these using their time unwisely? Don’t we have a lifetime ahead to attend to all things?

(See Saying 63 in MEASURING OUT THE NEXT TEN FROM THOMAS)

Here the servant’s master is being generous, great hearted, magnanimous. Where is the steadfastness of response from the beckoned bourgeoisie?

(A full coincidence of negative responses is something too unlucky. Anger-making too? That would be only human. But the last line changes everything.)

Firstly, we are talking buying-and-selling market movers, the gainmaking surface-skimmers and not the end-users weighed down by limited choices and an imposed apperception of what is possible and what is impossible.

Secondly, the invitation is via lowly agents and not face-to-face with the great man. Sending excuses back via these servants makes it too easy to run the brunt of displeasure.

Thirdly, and here’s the crux, this gift is essentially from God the Father.

So is this another Judean parable about why the “rich and powerful” have no place at the Liberator’s Supper?

YES:

Judaism is the very backbone of communism whereat the top and bottom rungs will be simply reversed and the rightfulness of this somehow survives forever despite that the previously entitled class are now rank underdogs and the leaders of the raggedy poor are now the filthy rich.

AND NO:

Hidden in here is a warning about something unusual to be written about, unpreached of, because although it is God moving in the physical realm yet it is domestic and not religious.

To widen that warning: should God gift you the very thing on Earth that feels consistently better than any alternative could and super-nutritious too, then do not push that gift of God away. Do not self-sabotage much of your future happiness because of some other mind-game that you are absorbed in for the time being.

(Unless that is to go inside seeking your true self, a solo endeavor above any dualism.)

Steer your ship by the pole star of your existence, that light of your life which has been gifted to you, or you may flounder and never receive such a gift again.

(Though you may still attain Enlightenment, when your payback days are over.) 

             Saying 65 

He said, “A …….. owned a vineyard. He leased it out to some sharecroppers to work it so he could collect its fruit.

“He sent his servant so that the sharecroppers could give him the fruit of the vineyard. They seized his servant, beat him, and nearly killed him.

“The servant went back and told his master. His master said, ‘Maybe he just didn’t know them.’ He sent another servant, but the tenants beat that one too.

“Then the master sent his son, thinking, ‘Maybe they’ll show some respect to my son.’

“Because they knew that he was the heir of the vineyard, the sharecroppers seized and killed him. Anyone who has ears to hear should hear!”

Obviously, this gospel of Thomas is subsequent to the death and resurrection of Jesus, as they all are. Are these recorded Sayings, in total, from before or after that stunning event? I should say that this Saying 65 appears to be His explanation by analogy, after the fact.

Now I’m not very keen on explanations by analogy. It works by taking us away from problematic facts to some irrelevant setting that is easier to understand then brings us back again as if the answer to the problem was obvious from the beginning. “Oh, yes, I can see that now”. Likewise with stargazing, it appears to work that looking to another patch of the night sky then returning your eye to the place that you looked but saw nothing can cause the tiny pinpoint of a star that you sought after to appear, surprisingly clearly. It’s a kind of trick you can play on yourself. A telescope could be even better.

Taking this analogous explanation at face value:

It seems that God the Father loaned us the Earth to cultivate – gave us a situation where our spirits could increase – and sent others to gather an expected spiritual portion to Himself. (How He might measure that I wouldn’t know nor the mechanism involved but He wouldn’t want baskets of grapes, would He?) The croppers, who took to the world easily and adapted to its ways, failed or did not wish to understand the original idea and resorted to violence, a very worldly way to get rid of an unearthly problem. So God sent His son, only dimly anticipating anything but respect in the face of divinity.

Well, well. It seems that the only ‘debt’ or increase expected was in spirit, a positive benefit, and not in worldly errors or negative discharges. You see all ‘sin’ is patently negative (especially in comparison to vineyards with their positive potential) and there is no such thing as a negative debt. I mean, few would take you to task to repay them a negative figure as that would result in them paying that amount to you!

I suspect that this has little or nothing to do with the Christian redemption of sins or the Christian adaptation of Hell and as for the Christian practice of making a victim out of Him:

In one of the lesser known gnostical gospels the dead Jesus was sent down into their Hell, as everybody was, and goes about being His usual self as a result of which He has inadvertently created as much mayhem down below as He had up on the Surface. This then leads to a furious row between the Devil of Hell and the Surface Devil as to why Jesus was allowed down there in the first place. As a result, the highly disgruntled Devil of Hell expels Him back up into the World.

Seems like there’s a first time for everything, don’t you think? You know, He was with us for 40 days or so after His resurrection and the churches have little to tell about Him during that foundational period. Their teachings to us, His words, are taken from before the Resurrection. Why?

(The first Mark gospel omits any meetings with Jesus the ‘secret’ Son of God between His body being entombed and His lifting up.)

               Saying 68

Jesus said, “Blessed are you when you’re hated and persecuted, and no place will be found where you’ve been persecuted.”

Hated like a criminal, tried by allegations without exculpatory evidence in support, presumed guilty unless proven innocent yet given no hearing. In fact despite flaunting clouds of insinuations there is nowhere that any crime has been noted down against you. Can such a thing happen? All the time wherever evil rules and the public will is too weak to stand-up against those levels of injustice. One top table method is to lead by their noses the mis-opinion leaders into focusing their public upon mass-hate of a being or a thing, unthinkingly, dog-whistlingly.

So-called ‘thought crime’ although not necessarily a crime will go down on your police record, if you are interviewed, under the category of ‘Offense’ which may well stop you getting a job in your home country or obtaining official permissions from a foreign country. They say regulations could exist whereby a hidden and malicious third party can report you for ‘hate’ and your record is then marked with no warning, no recourse, and regardless of the circumstances.

Such unfounded personal persecution can ease you out of the material world as you seek a way forward by discovering internally the direct aid of the highest power of all, the true spiritual power. 

               Saying 69

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who’ve been persecuted in their own hearts. They’ve truly known the Father. Blessed are those who are hungry, so that their stomachs may be filled.”

An accusation can be gladiatorial. We can fight it. Yet we are sometimes brought down from within. A person we wrongly judge to be on our side may break through our usual defences with real ease and release flares of increasing sensitivity, plant mines of self-doubt, dig traps of distrust, dropping bombs on or sappping away at our own securest fortifications. We are so wounded by being wronged by our own side. They have reinforced our enemies against us and betrayed us, breaking our heart.

The highest empath in the Universe will have responded directly to your aching heart, confirms Jesus, as surely as the hungry get fed.

(I wonder if that description is acceptable to God which I fear it is not as no human being is capable of saying what God is or what God wants, or if God even experiences wantings, because the more you know Him/Her/It then the less sure you feel that you could ever understand God, the loftiest intelligence of all, except in those moments when God explores us and we Him, simultaneously.

For me, this was during the unique experience of mutuality that I wrap inside the year ‘1984’.

There is no long-lasting spiritual plateau, in my experience. You are either increasing or decreasing your trajectory. I then came down a long way but God is with me still, I feel it, and I love you, wonderful God!)  

               Saying 71

Jesus said, “I’ll destroy …. house, and no one will be able to build it …”

Household buildings, family bloodlines, institutional places of worship? The body as the temple of the spirit, the higher self? Whatever Jesus brings down to nothing … none can revive it? How is this a man?

               Saying 72

[Complainant], “Tell my brothers to divide our inheritance with me.”

He said to him, “Who made me a divider?”

He turned to his disciples and said to them, “Am I really a divider?”

No, no and no again. He has said elsewhere in Thomas (Saying 61 in the previous post) that He is equal within the Whole. So could you be (depending a little upon whether your time is about coming around again). Division is a sharing-out of the greater to yield fair sections that are lesser. Yet the Enlightened One is not here to divide (a materialistic strategy suited to bomber-crews and bookmakers alike) but to live in wholesome parity within the All. 

               Saying 73

Jesus said, “The harvest really is plentiful, but the workers are few. So pray that the Lord will send workers to the harvest.”

I may by now have struck the reader as one overjoyed and enthusiastic about Thomas’s Jesus texts. Not quite, not always. This fascinating and profound document is my Christmas Tree on which I may hang both gifts and baubles from my own up and down life to-date. But it does not constrain me from future adventures – and further regrets perhaps – after this season has passed. I am just examining a book as well as I can.

Jesus has disparaged prayer elsewhere in Thomas (Saying 14) and in the bible also, on the basis that God always knows what you need and is working towards that, should it be the best for you. (Something that God knows well whilst we, trapped by time and place, do not.) The use of “the Lord” is also less usual in Thomas but regular elsewhere. (Too feudal for me. A lord is human, never more than human.Yes, I know that the Canaanite proper nouns Adonis/Ba’al are supposed to mean ‘lord’ in English but I am at a loss as to why it should have been transliterated this way.)

Here Jesus seems to be talking about the group needs of the many rather than individual essentials. As such this is a religious quotation, virtually a numbers game, and so dissimilar from much else in this gospel that speaks of inner knowings rather than public rituals in a world seen as an anthill ruled by a giant. (Which aspect runs throughout the OT/Hebrew bible, IMHO, and may be how the Jews of antiquity understood the group relationship with the initially national God of their hills).

Perhaps there is some analogy here for  ‘secret knowing’ and individual progess (a plea for more to be guided toward the inward path that is so fruitful) but it sure resembles the stuff of mainstream Christianity to me. 

               Saying 74

He said, “Lord, many are gathered around the well, but there’s nothing to drink.”

This fits well with the preceding Saying 73.

Harvest-time workers take advantage of every sunny day, working all the daylight hours, and need a full supply of water fetched constantly from somewhere so as to avoid dehydration (a fatal condition that has no warning symptoms).

Here the well has run dry or is poisoned or else the bucket is broken and the rope too short. Sometimes the lining of the well itself must be rebuilt causing delay, adds the Chinese I Ching.

The people are gathered around. An underground supply of water can also be symbolic of the supply of people in a society who can be drawn upon to supply the needs of that society. In all ways we can see that a usable supply and reliable reachability at designated wellheads is basic to any civilization.

Here Jesus may be imploring God that the well needs changing or charging or else is implying the need for special knowing to enable the wanter to become a haver, as the sustaining Source is not so available to those who do not live inside the Truth.

               Saying 75 

Jesus said, “Many are waiting at the door, but those who are one will enter the bridal chamber.”

The phrase “those who are one” means, I feel sure, whosoever has attained what I refer to as ‘Enlightenment’ which in my case – I know no other to tell – came partly through a practicing of ‘meditation to zero’, emptying the mind of all monkey chatter and sounds and pictures, allowing a Oneness with that silent consciousness which binds the whole Universe of God. (I hope I’ve used the rightest words.My spiritual experiences never match easily to the spiritual vocabulary that is available in English.) This is eased along by simultaneous improvements in behavioral interactions with others, especially beggars, lepers, disadvantaged children and homeless families.

In olden days in Europe it was normal for chosen aristocrats to enter the royal bedchamber to view proceedings, even necessary to avoid disputes over lineage of newborns and the rightful succession of the monarchy. Notes were taken? It was even deemed necessary for establishing the legality of a marriage by its physical consummation. No delaying ’til the morrow, even after a heavy banquet!

We forget that Europe came late to civilization. That so much China-sourced technical knowledge came to Europe via the writings of learned Arabs, as with fuller findings on Ancient Greece. That Egypt had been a mighty powerhouse for millennia of Pharaohic reigns. That the religiose language of Israel and Judah had come originally from the Canaanites. That the ancient Phoeniceans had lettered our alphabets and incepted marine insurance. That our degrees from Base 60 started with Sumerian mathematicians. That arithmetic zero came from India.

Was the European royal bedchamber ritual based on a much more ancient tradition, now lost to us?

What did Jesus mean by ‘bridal chamber’?

Bedchambers, where they existed back then, were the very innermost parts of great places. They were, I should suppose, much more secretive than sleeping on flat roofs or on the ground. (Crowded houses in the East, even today, have multiple seekers for every conceivable space usable for sleeping.)

The Hebrew bible has at least two warnings for the elite not to believe that whatever is whispered in the bedchamber cannot then circulate around the world. (Eccles 10:20 and 2 Kings 6:12)

The gospel of Thomas is mainly about ‘secret’ teachings of Jesus, inner knowings from spiritual experiences reaching higher than knowledge of the letter of the law ever could, and so it seems highly unlikely to me that the Church is the bride waiting by the bridal chamber to make her curiously wealth-laden and distinguished pomp of an entry so that God may probe her probity. 

               Saying 76

Jesus said, “The Father’s kingdom can be compared to a merchant with merchandise who found a pearl. The merchant was wise; they sold their merchandise and bought that single pearl for themselves.

Back in the days of strong governmental limitations over moneys taken out from Britain – it was potentially a crime – I had a chat with a philatelist with keen knowledge of what stamps were most sought after in different countries. He told how he could find a small and very valuable stamp for whatever destination he was visiting and tuck it into a corner of his wallet. On arrival he could use it to cover his trip and buy local stamps for his business back in the UK. Much safer than carrying large amounts of cash for buying and a selection of lesser stamps for selling.

“You, too, look for the treasure that doesn’t perish but endures, where no moths come to eat and no worms destroy.”

Worm in your woodwork? Moth in your mohair? Even a pearl is vulnerable to loss or high-impact damage. Some treasured items like family jewellery become so valuable over time that owners dare not wear them, even to the most appropriate occasions, and the bank holds them safe forever (cut glass and paste images being worn glitteringly instead).

Every aspect of Time perishes in time.

Religious houses excel at burying priests and parishioners alike.

Only the seemingly impossible, the perfect, looks like the seamless eternal?

NigelRaymondOfford (C) November 2019

~ by nigelraymondofford on November 29, 2019.

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