Thomas on throwing fire on the world

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Saying 10:

Jesus said: I have thrown fire on the world. Look! I watch it until it blazes.

I am tempted to say, this puts a different light on “I am the light of the world.” But all I get out of this saying offhand is that Jesus was saying that he was

Well, let’s slow down a little, and see what surfaces. A little recalibration, maestro, please.

I can feel the difference when I remember to do that. What feels like the pressure of a river on a log jam eases, and it is easier to discern one strand of thought at a time. (Did it, this time, without specific assistance from the guys. Or maybe the distinction, always an artificial one, is wearing thin from overuse.)

Let’s begin with the obvious two possible meanings. Jesus says he is lighting a fire: a) to light our way, b) to burn up the world we know. I don’t know that either, or both, is what is meant, so, over to you fine fellows.

“I have thrown fire on the world” is not the same as “I have set fire to the world.” There is no implication that he intended to destroy the 3D, even if he could. And, again –

Yes, I know. 1) Look at it in context of the other sayings, particularly the immediately previous saying, working on the assumption that they were carefully arranged rather than thrown together. 2) Keep in mind the personal intend of Jesus’ entire mission, to show us the true role of 3D life in our existence.

We won’t ask that you produce a summary of the previous sayings, for that would be to produce a summary of a summary, and you might not find it so easy to do. But what is the lesson of saying 9?

Eight and nine were about the process of receiving and giving, working within 3D limitations.

And how might this saying relate?

I could say – only I don’t know whether it is really there, or I’m reading into it – I could say, Jesus said he was providing the light that would guide people. He was kindling a blaze to act as signal-fire.

Perfectly permissible deduction. And –?

Well, if that is what he meant, in effect he is saying, he is kindling understanding in the few people he could find who were capable of being set on fire that way, and was living among them until he was sure the new understanding would “take,” would become self-sustaining. Only, I don’t know if that’s really what he meant or not.

A reminder here, for you and for one and all: You never will know another person’s intent except second-hand. The only thing you can know is its effect on you. But the good part of that is that if you have become skilled at recognizing the effect on you, in effect you have an infallible guide to discernment. You are no longer dependent upon the good faith of the person speaking (or acting), nor of that person’s knowledge or sagacity. If you need only know the effect upon yourself of a given message, well – you can always know that.

Provided we have learned the difference between recognition of truth and gratification of self by turning input into what we want to believe.

Well – you having said that very true thing, go back to the saying and look at it in that context.

I don’t know if this is what you have in mind, but a couple of things come to me. 1) Jesus is throwing into our mental mix new elements for us to incorporate. 2) In so doing, he is adding to the external, which, we have postulated, is the same thing as the internal, which I guess would mean he is directly changing us or maybe I should say is giving us new possibilities if (and when) we are able to grasp them.

Now do you see? Again, bearing in mind that 3D life is only a subset of life; that individuals are a subset of humanity, and humanity a subset of nature, etc., etc.; that “time” [i.e. time itself, as a quality] in 3D is only a separator, a divider, a distinguisher.

In a sense this 3D life is important for what we can do in it, but it is not important in and of itself as a final product. It might be seen as closer to being a refinery than a manufacturing plant.

More mechanical an analogy than we would prefer, though. A more organic analogy would be that all life is like any individual life, with specific “individuals” emerging, living, dying down, continually. Only we invite you to identify not with the individual grain of wheat but with the bread produced from the result of its life – bearing in mind that the wheat sustains another life, becomes part of another organism, serves its purpose and dies down with that organism that, in 3D terms, then re-enters the world as fertilizer to sustain the process.

No one mourns the death of a crop of wheat; at the same time, no one who is aware devalues it, either. Seeing life from a view of wholeness, and of process, and of an end being served, provides the only true perspective that will reassure any of you that life is good, that life is meaningful, and that life is forever. And we mean that in no mystical sense. It is literally true.

I find myself pondering the idea of Jesus directly affecting our internal by affecting the external.

Now, wait a bit. Remember, while Jesus was in 3D, he was a part of the “external” world of those around him. Not since. So what he could do by altering the external world could be done only then. Any effect he has had since he left has had to have been by direct internal contact.

I’m mulling that.

Well, you see, it was important that the bearer of the message be alive, actually 3D, an external fact to be experienced and lived, if he was to radically transform the internal world of a relatively few contemporaries, who in turn would become external facts for others. People who think Jesus was a legend or a made-up story or an accumulation of myth do not understand this. No abstraction could have produced the world-changing effect that Jesus had. It had to be someone in 3D, living among men as a man. The fact that myths prefigured this need only shows the strength of the need. And, of course, once Jesus’ transforming power had had its effect, people began rewriting his story to make it conform with mythology already accepted. This had a curious effect that we mention here but will not go into at this time: The aspects of myth that were attributed to his life after the fact — virgin birth, for instance – were myth tacked on, yet were psychologically true, or would not have stuck.

So, to repeat: Jesus came to light a fire among a few contemporaries, so that they could carry the fire and spread it. It is not recorded in writing, but was well understood among the inner circle at least, that this is what was meant. A continuing strand in Jesus’ teaching of course was, how you will carry on the work of bringing people to a greater sense of themselves. This does not refer to intellectual understanding, though that might be tacked on. It refers to what you might call a change of heart, a change of viewpoint, amounting to a change of being.

“And enough for the moment”?

Yes. You see, today we have used a saying as it was used in the days when it was recorded – as talking point to spur wider discussion. Remember, if you can, that this gospel was more in the nature of a list of reminders than it was anything else. It was never intended to be memorized and revered in and of itself (though that was naturally a part of people’s reaction), but to be employed as itself a spark: in short, to be used.

Understood. Okay, our thanks as always.

[Typing this, I should add a thought I had but didn’t record. The apostle Paul apparently was the intellectual among early disciples (though apparently he never experienced Jesus in 3D). That did not serve to give him primacy of place in any way. It was the preservation of his letters that in effect gradually did that.]

 

2 thoughts on “Thomas on throwing fire on the world

  1. While reading this, I am reminded of the day of Pentecost, when fire fell on the disciples and filled them with zeal. (The book of Acts of the Apostles) That fire, a holy fire, was the indwelling of the Spirit of God, as promise by Jesus. It was the fire the followers of Jesus needed to burn away their fear and so they could share the good news with boldness.

    The fire, the moment of illumination, gives light to my life. That light allows me to see what’s good and what’s chaff or dross, which I subsequently release or burn up in the fire. Fire sparks me to move, get off my bum, do something meaningful. It also comforts me with its warmth.

    Good stuff, Frank!

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