TGU and Thomas, Saying 56

Saying 56

Jesus said: Whoever has known the world has found a corpse; whoever has found that corpse, the world is not worthy of him.

Again, I see written in my copy [in 2002, apparently], “Obvious.”

And again, perhaps what seems obvious can always be better understood by a closer look.

After you, then.

Nothing in nature – in reality, call it – is in a state of death. Nothing is dead although things pass through a process called death. Given that the world is made of consciousness, given that there can be no absolute divisions in what is one reality, there can be nothing that is (as opposed to appears) inanimate. Thus, life is transformation of appearances – and, by “life” we mean all of existence, animate or inanimate, 3D or non-3D, present, past, future – everything and anything that can come to mind, because it is all one thing. Can a dream be sorted into living and dead elements? Can a thought? Can a perception?

It’s all one world – that is, all one undivided reality – and nothing in it can be devoid of life, including rotted corpses, synthetic fibers, radioactive materials, as we have said more than once. Given that reality, how can it be that whosever finds the world finds a corpse?

It must mean, the world, the 3D world, as it appears.

Is that truly a thought profound enough in the context?

Apparently not. Then, what?

What did the previous saying offer?

Saying 55 said, once you reached a certain level of awareness, you are all alone, relative to your former life.

That is a very rough paraphrase, but it will have to do.

Jesus said somewhere, “Let the dead bury their dead.”

That’s more to the point.

Okay, everything is alive in reality, but relatively there is alive and dead mentally.

Not quite mentally, but in terms of living in the moment, yes. And you know or should know that this does not mean living carelessly or thoughtlessly, without plan or ambition. It means living in a state of awakeness, rather than going through the motions. And that means, not, cleverly nor scheming, nor in a state of opportunistic expectation. It means, seeing clearly rather than through a veil of expectations, screens, filters, automatic reactions. None of these distinctions seem to have anything to do with religion or with what is called spiritual life – but they have everything to do with having life more abundantly.

See, then, the meaning of this saying, or rather, the meaning at the level we will examine. If you awaken, you see that the world is not what you thought it to be, but is in effect a shell, a husk, and you will see that what is called external life is nothing in itself in absolute.

I think that is what I had come to in reading it alone, whenever it was that I made that note.

But you were reading each saying as an isolated statement rather than as part of a sustained exposition, and you were reading it – if you will pardon us pointing this out – as if you already understood it before examining it. In some ways, not so bad a way to proceed, but all the better for being counter-checked by interaction with another viewpoint, as you are doing now.

The thing to realize and then to remember in all this is that Jesus had a specific intent, that he expressed many times and that was understood by his disciples, and that intent was to bring those who could awaken to a state of awakeness. Beyond that, it was to provide assistance and guidelines for those who would follow in time. Beyond that, it was to provide rules of conduct (which were mostly rules of attitude, notice, rather than rules of specific actions to be taken or avoided) that would improve the chances of those who were not able to awaken. These were not mutually contradictory but were mutually reinforcing intents, and as long as they were understood, they were acted upon, and began the transformation of the world.

“See these Christians, how they love one another.”

That’s a long way from Christians persecuting each other for heresies, or conducting crusades against other faiths (we do not here refer to political wars conducted in the name of religion, but of wars truly rooted in religion), or creating hierarchical structures in imitation of Roman civil institutions. It is equally a long way from Christians splitting off from others and regarding themselves as the only true Christians, etc.

Our point here, again, is that Jesus came to transform the world, as did and does every person whose impact is strong enough to have a religion created after him and his impact. But he did not come to transform the world for the external world’s sake. That would be like creating a soap bubble for its own sake rather than to clean something. He was here that you might have life more abundantly, because that is all that is real. Such life will produce external effects, by the nature of things, but the external effects are not the point but are the side-effects.

Your life is real; “external” reality is but a reflection of life. Do you care who won the elections in ancient Rome, or who ruled every (or any) French political subdivision in the Middle Ages, or what the structure and consequences were of English or Scottish or American political life? Then why care about what is, if you don’t care about what was?

What is real is who you are; what is appearance is that anybody can be external to you. We keep saying it, but words are slippery, and context is everything. Understand this correctly and everything comes clear. Fail to understand it, and what you do understand may merely mislead for lack of proper context.

Thus, Jesus taught – and his disciples understood, and taught others in their turn – that the world, the 3D world, as it was popularly perceived and understood, was only an illusion. Not that the physical table and chair weren’t there, not that suffering and joy weren’t experienced, not that people did not lead the lives they thought they lived, but that none of it meant what it seemed to mean while it was experienced through blunted awareness. And this only touches on the everyday life, it does not even touch upon the real aim and opportunity of life.

This is enough for now. No harm in pausing.

 

TGU and Thomas, Saying 55

Saying 55

Jesus said: He who does not hate his father and mother cannot be a disciple of mine. He who doesn’t hate his brothers and sisters and bear his cross as I do will not be worthy of me.

Obviously the saying turns on the question of what is meant by “hate.” Given that this is from the one who admonished people to “love one another,” presumably it doesn’t mean what it appears to mean.

And I have no doubt that commentators have tap-danced around it. So what is your take on it?

You can see clearly that Jesus is saying that there must be a distancing between the ties to the previous life and discipleship. But he wouldn’t have to have said “hate” to get that across. So what did he mean? Perhaps we should take him at his word, instead of assuming we know better. Say we do [take him at his word]. What do we come up with? Notice the close connection between hating their relatives and bearing their cross.

For the first time, I wonder if this could be an interpolation from after the fact. But I don’t see how that’s possible. Any interpolation would have to be added to an already well understood, perhaps memorized, gospel of sayings. It couldn’t have been just sneaked in. and this is not a late copy of a gospel that could have been tampered with over the centuries. It is as nearly contemporary as we are going to find. So I’d say we have to take the text as uncorrupted. And I would presume that the communities that discussed it wouldn’t miss the contradiction between the gospel of love and advice to hate. So what’s up?

The previous saying was to what effect?

“Blessed are the poor, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

So then why does this saying follow that one?

Damn good question. I don’t know, and I don’t see how to reconcile the words with the presumed meaning.

And that presumed meaning was?

Well, that Jesus is calling them to an entirely new life that will cut away their previous ties.

Have you noticed that the first sentence is present tense, and the second, future?

I hadn’t. What does that say to you?

Hating one’s parents is a pre-condition of discipleship. Hating one’s siblings and bearing one’s cross is a result of a decision to be taken.

I admit, I am still at sea. That word “hate” gets me.

Yes, it isn’t pretty. Or – is it?

I really have nothing to offer here. I wish you’d get on with it or would say, “Beats me.”

Can anyone reshape his life if he is happy with where he is? Can anyone abjure his past if he is satisfied with it? More to the point, can anyone realize at the same time (a) that he is substantively different from his background and (b) that he is nonetheless a product of that background?

If your parents – meaning in the largest sense the environment that shaped you – are qualitatively different from you, what is your proper relation to them? On the human 3D level you still owe them respect and caring: Jesus did not repeal the commandment to honor your father and mother, nor could he have repealed the reasons behind the commandment.

However, to honor is not necessarily to obey or conform. Once one has reached the age of independence – once one has become a functioning adult in one’s society – continued deference to the parents’ wishes is not always appropriate. You have all seen people who were kept –who kept themselves – in a prolonged state of adolescence for lack of making their own way in the world. It is a matter of boundaries: No one has the right to fetter his children. You are there to shelter and raise them, not bind them to your will forever.

Nor is this the nub of it.

If your parents are immersed in 3D reality and cannot see as you see, or yearn as you yearn, or experience and grow as you can, you have a responsibility to set aside their limitations and live the life you have been given stewardship over. No one – least of all yourself – has the right to relieve you of that responsibility.

So this says, hate what their limitations are? That sounds a little slippery.

And so it would be. No, it means, you need to reject what they are and what they mean to you, yet that does not necessarily mean what may come to mind. On a purely 3D level, yes, care for your parents, cherish them for their care of you, meet your responsibilities. But this is external, even though it deals with feelings and so may seem internal. Internally you must go your own way. If you do not, if you allow any external considerations to interpose between you and what your life should be, you cannot be a disciple; that is, you cannot really go where Jesus goes, nor do as he does, nor attain what is there for you on condition of your choosing it.

All right, I can go with that. But what of the mention of carrying your cross? Isn’t that either a case of Jesus’ precognition or a slip of the gospel recorder?

Perhaps. Does it matter?

Seems to me it would. If this gospel is not recording accurately, it throws it all into doubt. If Jesus did say it, it seems odd, that’s all. I can see him saying something to that effect – that you’re going to have burdens, face obstacles, experience suffering – but I can’t see that expression of bearing one’s cross being extant ahead of time.

He warned them repeatedly that they were not in for a bed of roses. This was far from the only such warning.

Okay, I see that. It’s just the specificity of it bothers me. People were getting crucified, sure. That would be a common experience, maybe a common metaphor. But before Jesus, who carried a cross? I can’t see how it could have become a saying.

It is of course possible that his words were paraphrased as time went on. Even this gospel was oral tradition before it was inscribed and fixed. But bear in mind, the contemporaries and near-contemporaries who heard it read to them were not bothered by it. It would be a pretty minor anachronism, given that this same message could have been delivered in many different formulations.

Okay, I can buy that. So what does the second sentence mean? Why is it in future tense?

It is a warning, plain and simple: If you want X, you have to live Y. No shortcuts.

 

TGU and Thomas, Sayings 53 and 54

Saying 53

His disciples asked him: Is circumcision useful or not. He replied: If it were useful, then they would be born already circumcised. On the other hand, true circumcision in the spirit is entirely beneficial.

Sounds like, “This is a symbolic custom that symbolizes something real, but should not be taken literally.” Only, what is it, being symbolized? “Circumcision in the spirit.” Well, I just looked up circumcision online and tried to read the religious idea that it represents purity of the spirit, but I don’t have a lot of patience with such discussions. Probably I should, but it’s like so many logical arguments, if you get the premise wrong, how can you get accurate results? Still, what they said seems to be what Jesus may have meant here.

Sex is a loaded topic, and the line where sex and love meet is highly charged from both ends. This is why so many religious impulses tend to be puritanical, and why so many sexual impulses tend to be almost in rebellion against any strictures.

That isn’t quite clear to me. I know what you said, but I don’t see the mechanism you seem to be describing.

Sex and religion are both about transcendence and are both about self rather than community when they move in the opposite direction from each other.

I get that you mean, sex may be the pursuit of sensation alone or sensation and transcendence of the individual, and religion may be about – what shall we call it? – emotional transcendence?

What’s wrong with self-transcendence? That is, going beyond one’s usual experience of oneself, to connect with unsuspected depths and extent?

Say that, then. Religion may be about that, or it may be about that and (or even, I suppose, via) connection with others. Still not clear to others, I suspect.

But a start. Keep trying.

It is the fashion these days to say “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual,” and by it people mean, I think, they are drawn to transcend mundane 3D reality, but they do not accept any social component to the quest.

Autistic spirituality, perhaps, thinking oneself alone in the universe.

Interesting way to look at it.

Also thinking oneself devoid of responsibility for others in 3D reality. But continue.

Well, I don’t quite know where I was going before you said that, but I am thinking both religion and sex are on a scale that has only the person on one end and on the other end is the person absolutely involved with someone else (in the case of sex) or with a community (in the case of religion). So, you can have sex while thinking about your own reactions and desires (at one end of the scale) or you can be concerned entirely with not you as one but with you as two. The one is more like autistic sensation-seeking, I suppose, and the other like seeking, maybe experiencing, transcendence. And if you look at religion, same way. On one end, concern for my soul, my salvation, my righteousness (or however one defines the core of the religious necessity) or else concern for our souls, salvation together, righteousness, etc. But I have the feeling that I’m losing sight of something here. Whenever I’m drawn to construct these tidy parallelisms, I get suspicious.

Not so bad. And I’d say you got the point of the saying – which, remember, was intended to be shared among the community and discussed and explained, not hoarded and read in private. The early community understood this point. It was only when legalism and hierarchy began to take over from the spirit – the very thing Jesus had warned against – that the Christian communities began to resemble their Jewish ancestor communities in subservience to legalism and worship of the entombed (and misread) word over the living spirit.

This is precisely what Emerson objected to in his day.

Human nature doesn’t change; the circumstances around it do, but they don’t really touch the core.

Is there more here specifically about sex?

You have to realize that although sex is always a matter of absorbing interest, theirs was not the supercharged atmosphere you live in. It was important, particularly to the burning young, but there are many things in life, and it was not exaggerated.

It wasn’t seen as the answer to everything.

No, nor was romance. Everything about life is matter-of-fact until illusions, filters, screens, inhibitions, prohibitions, repetitions endow it with numinous qualities – even sex, even religion.

 

Saying 54

Jesus said: Blessed are the poor, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Well remembered. Everyone has heard it from the narrative gospels.

Yes, heard it. Understood it? Look at it in context, as usual.

I notice it doesn’t say “poor in spirit,” just poor. What are we missing?

About all of it!

We’re here to be enlightened, if you can provide the light.

After you.

I’d say it means, possessions tether us to concerns that may distract us from reality.

As we said, almost all of it.

Well, you do it then.

You have to define terms. What is “poor.” What is “the Kingdom of Heaven”?

I took poor to mean what it says.

Can it be about possessions, or rather lack of them? Do you really think scrambling for a living every day makes people more able to attain the Kingdom?

The poor are proverbially more generous to those in need than the rich.

You might find that as usual what is proverbial is – call it capricious. That is, better not count on it. But to answer the question, more directly?

I still think it has to do with lack of binding attachments.

Perhaps this is why the saying became modified to “poor in spirit,” to make that distinction?

Are you asking rhetorically as a way of telling?

Look at the saying. It is short and unhedged. So who are the poor, what is the kingdom? And notice, as phrased it doesn’t say “yours will be the kingdom, “but states it in present tense: “your is the kingdom.”

Taking the kingdom to be our true birthright – the wider, deeper reality we belong to and emerged from – I’d say “the poor” represents a quality of being, rather than external circumstances.

Especially given that there is no real “external.”

In which case it ought to mean, those not encumbered by possessions.

Now, since that doesn’t mean “if you don’t own anything, or don’t own much, you are a better person,” what does it mean?

I keep repeating myself, seems to me: It means, those who live in the world with Beginner’s Mind. That way of putting it hadn’t come to me until now, but maybe this is about knowing we are poor and therefore knowing that we need filling, not thinking we already know it all and have it all.

And that will do for the moment.

 

TGU and Thomas, Sayings 51 and 52

Saying 51

His disciples asked him: When will the dead rest? When will the new world arrive? He replied: That which you are waiting for has come, but you don’t recognize it.

Seems obvious to me.

Perhaps say a little of what is obvious to you.

Well, if Jesus is talking about the kingdom being an internal state, it isn’t any “future” state of being.

What does it mean, then, “When will the dead rest”?

Perhaps I haven’t looked closely enough. Don’t the dead rest when they remember what they truly are, having dropped the 3D body? Where does the concept of rest come in?

Meaning, where does the concept of lack of rest come in, by contrast? Go back one saying.

Saying 50 says who we really are, the disciples having presumably learned that much.

Movement. Rest.

Yes, I see. Hmm. I guess you will have to tell us. I can’t.

Try nonetheless.

Movement could be movement from the 3D into the fullness of creation, I suppose. Rest could be knowing where they are. But I doubt this is really the answer.

But what would it mean for the dead to rest? Who are the dead? What is rest?

I guess I was premature in writing “obvious” on the page, whenever I did.

So now give a more considered opinion.

I get that there are the restless dead and the dead at rest. Of course, we don’t know – I don’t, anyway – what the disciples meant by the question, who they thought the dead were. In Monroe terms,[i] we would say the dead who are not at rest require a retrieval – in short, require a reminder of who they are and what condition they are in. Once they come to consciousness of their place and nature in the non-3D world, I suppose they could be considered to be at rest.

The question more precisely is, how would they be not at rest, and what would bring them to rest, that Jesus would say the time for it has already arrived, unrecognized?

I don’t know. It implies that the dead were waiting for something, that the disciples knew they were waiting for something, and that Jesus said, Yes, they were, but it arrived unnoticed. But what was the moment they were waiting for?

Rather, what was the change?

All right, what was the change they were waiting for? Don’t you know? (Am I making this all up?) Did the change come with Jesus? Was he the change? And if so, how?

You are wondering about the tale about Jesus told in the long Urantia Book.[ii]

I am. It reads very plausibly and I can’t quite believe it. but it’s a huge work to be a prolonged self-deception, certainly too long and involved to be a deliberate deception. Still, to accept that idea of Jesus would be to cut against what I think I know of Jesus.

And the result is, you don’t know how to clear the slate for a clean answer.

Yes, I suppose that’s what often happens when I get tangled up here.

 

Saying 52

They said to him: Twenty-four prophets spoke to Israel, and they all spoke of you. He responded to them: You have deserted the living one who is with you, and you spoke about the dead.

Again seems obvious, but Saying 51 turned out to be not so obvious. To me it compares reality with hearsay, or in-person with tradition or reputation. In short, two ways of approaching life. But saying 51 seemed to say something similar, reality v. expectations.

And wasn’t that the problem Jesus had to deal with? He was trying to give people the key to living more fully, more abundantly, which means living in the moment, wide awake, seeing what is, rather than seeing through a veil of illusions and filters.

Yes, I see that.

Knowing that, you really know all there is in this saying and the previous one, even if you do not understand every reference or nuance. There is always more to be learned, but there is no need to learn everything about anything in particular; it’s a question of what you want. Let’s proceed.

 —-

[i] Participants in residential courses at The Monroe Institute move into altered states to do certain things. Among these are “retrievals,” tuning in to the consciousness of departed souls who may be lost or confused after death, helping escort them through their own fears to whatever comes next for them.

[ii] The Urantia Book, anonymously channeled material purporting to reveal the inner meaning of life on Earth, particularly the life of Jesus, was published in 1955 by the Urantia Book Fellowship, and the text placed in the public domain.

 

TGU and Thomas: Saying 50

Saying 50

50 a Jesus said: If they ask you, “Where are you from?” reply to them “We have come from the place where light is produced from itself. It came and revealed itself in their image.”

50 b If they ask you, “Are you it?” reply to them, “We are his Sons. We are chosen ones of the living Father.”

50 c If they ask you, “What is the sign within you of your Father?” reply to them, “It is movement. It is rest.”

Saying 49 reminded the disciples that they emerged from non-3D and would return to it. This one appears to continue the theme.

You should be able to see clearly by the extremely cryptic nature of this saying that it is meant for discussion after a setup. Once more, we remind you that the written record followed the spoken tradition. If you will continue to think of this sayings gospel as a record of talking points, of an outline of Jesus’ remembered exposition of the nature of life and the world, you will be able to make some sense out of what otherwise will be a collection of apparently disconnected remarks, many of them incomprehensible.

Bear in mind too – perhaps we have never explicitly said this—you don’t need to get it exactly right to receive great benefit from the process of examining this material. The process is more important than the conclusions, in a way, because the process will move you closer to the source, which itself will lead you home, so to speak. And discussion among sincere seekers is especially valuable, regardless whether their conclusions agree. Discussion in the sense of mutual exploration, you understand, not in the sense of debate and verbal combat, which is worse than useless.

Now, let’s look at saying 50 a.

Doesn’t it say that they are to say they are out of the non-3D, and represent the non-3D in their persons?

But that isn’t all it says. Look more closely.

“It came and revealed itself in their image.” Who’s the “their”? If it had said “your” I could understand it easily enough, but “their”?

Speculate.

The only thing that comes to mind is that the source is neither singular nor plural, as the guys – you? – have said from the beginning. But that seems strained. I don’t suppose “their” could be a copyist’s slip for the word “your.”

In that suggestion you see the way in which many an incomprehensible (to the scribe) passage was silently “corrected,” not for political reasons but out of a sincere but mistaken intent.

Well then, what’s it mean?

Look at 50 b.

Yes, again, singular and plural, as the first was second-person and third.

And, 50 c.

Movement and rest, another pair of opposites conjoined. But are we seeing patterns here that don’t really exist?

How could anyone do that? If you can see a pattern, it exists. It may not mean what you conclude that it means, but it exists.

Say that it does. What do the three parts of the saying, taken together or separately, add up to?

What was the unwritten but evidently spoken background to “Are you it?” What “it”?

I can only answer by implication. “It” must be the thing meant by the “his.” “We are his sons,” the “living Father’s,” in response to that question, can only mean that what the hypothetical questioner asks as if it were an impersonal force, perhaps, a non-personal being (if that is not a contradiction in terms), they are to describe as paternal, alive, personal, not abstract and impersonal.

Yes, good. Now look at 50 c.

C builds upon b, as b upon a.

Yes it does. Now go back and explicitly connect a and b.

I see. In a, “it” refers to “the place where light is produced from itself,” or, more likely, refers to the light itself, which revealed itself “in their image.” Leaving aside the question of “their” or “our,” it says, we proceed from the non-3D and we are reflections of the creative and created light. But (in b) the light is not an “it” so much as it is in living personal paternal relation to them; they are its children. And then c says the sign of that is movement and rest. But I don’t yet know what movement and rest signifies.

We like that “I don’t yet know.” Good affirmation, as you would say. Much better than affirming that “I can’t get it” or “It doesn’t make sense.”

Yes, I understand that.

Bearing in mind that you cannot rely upon words meaning, or meaning only, what they do in ordinary speech, what of movement and rest?

I suppose they are paired opposites implying each other. More than that, I don’t get.

What is the entire saying leading up to?

Well, there’s a thought. Let’s see. We came from the light, which lives and is our 3D model, in a way, given that we are in its image, and you can tell this – it is the sign within us of that source – by movement, by rest. The way it is phrased, I take it that it doesn’t mean, quite, movement and rest, nor movement or rest. More like: See it one way it is movement, see it another way, it is rest.

Yes, but the point of this?

Doesn’t every moment of our lives have to be movement or rest? Could it mean merely that any and every moment of our lives reveals our origin in this non-3D light that is the living Father whose image they reproduce?

It could. Do you think it does?

I don’t know.

Nothing wrong with that.

You wish to leave it undefined, is that it?

We wish you and others to think on these things and not consider that you have the final answers to anything, in any manner. The disciples, you know, did not proceed with their lives after Jesus thinking they had all the answers. They had more of the questions than they had had, and that was enough to transform them from ordinary or even extraordinary men and women into something the world had never seen. Should you need more than they did?

We’ll go farther. Certainty is the enemy of growth and of learning. Beware of too much certainty, particularly too much certainty too easily come to. Often enough, it is mostly a weariness that says, “Enough redefinition all the time. I want to have a place to stand.”

Speaking of rest.

Alternation of movement and rest is natural. This by the way does not mean that is what the saying means in putting the two conditions into 50 c.

Enough for the moment?

Yes. Bear in mind as always that these sessions ideally combine information about a topic with information about the process.

Yes, I do see that.

 

TGU and Thomas: Sayings 48 and 49

Saying 48

Jesus said: If two can make peace between themselves in a single house, they can say to a mountain, “Move!” and it will move.

No reason why it must be [difficult]. Your earlier note that you see before you on the page is not wrong, merely incomplete and not reasoned out.

(I had written: “Be whole, and you can choose any reality and be there.”)

What you did not stop to ponder was what it meant “If two can make peace between themselves in a single house.”

Yes, I see that. I took it to mean, don’t be self-divided, but I didn’t ask who were the two. Or if I did, I don’t remember now how I was seeing them.

Suppose you consider the two to be your once-born state and your born-again state, or let’s put it this way – one way of seeing and doing, and another. If you can fuse the two so that they are not alternation, much less competition, you will attain a position of power. Power not over others, nor over the world, though that may be an effect as it appears to you, but over yourself. That is, you will live more abundantly, as promised.

I notice that whenever Jesus promises something that offends common sense, commentators ascribe it to Semitic exaggeration, or even sometimes humor or sarcasm! As soon as he promises something superhuman, the mechanism kicks in to say, “He didn’t mean it like that, he was just bring dramatic.” It is a sort of insistence that the world as we commonly experience it is all there is. It is a persistent denial of magic as part of reality.

This is what must be expected from once-born readings of material intended for the twice-born. What is scripture but twice-born testimony that must necessarily be read by the once-born?

And saying 49 – to conclude this rather fast-paced gallop through the meanings – says the same, with a significant addition.

Saying 49

Jesus said: Blessed are the single ones and the chosen ones, for you will find the Kingdom. Because you emerged from it, you will return to it.

“Because you emerged from it, you will return to it.”

Yes, and we presume the meaning is obvious to you, and the reason for including it.

We are of the non-3D and are of the larger being, and coming to awareness of our true nature merely makes it clear to us that we are only sojourners in 3D life.

Quite a lot accomplished this morning, without much pain. Bear it in mind when tempted to despair or even to doubt: Righteous persistence brings reward.

Yes, I’ve read that somewhere. [This is irony, as “Righteous persistence brings reward” is a favorite verse of mine from the I Ching, as they well know.]

 

 

TGU and Thomas: Sayings 45, 46, and 47

45 a Jesus said: They do not pick grapes from brambles, nor do they pick figs from thistles, for these do not yield the proper fruit.

45 b A good man brings good things out of his storehouse, but a bad man brings bad things from his storehouse (which is in his heart). And he says bad things. For out of the surplus in his heart he brings out bad things.

Saying 45, a and b. Bearing in mind Saying 44, which was to the effect that we must reverence the life we have been given, and that we are part of the divine trinity of non-3D creator, 3D (and non-3D) experiencer, and the spirit that flows through us and is expressed by us. Assuming that this is more than my wildly seeking to make sense of the inscrutable!

Nothing particularly hidden in saying 45. You have used it as a touchstone for these very conversations. When you cannot see beyond appearances, you can still judge causes by their effects. No good plant brings forth bad fruit, etc. But does this saying perhaps mean more than that? Excellent advice it is, but is that all it is?

Until you posed this rhetorical question, I would have thought so. Did think so.

Once again, consider a saying in context of its predecessor or predecessors.

I get – but this may be reaching – that what we see as bad fruit is nonetheless part of creation. That is, brambles and thistles may not provide what we want, but they are part of the world. Similarly (perhaps!) bad men produce bad things out of the heart they have been given. Again, they are a part of the natural order of things and should not be considered to not belong.

And why should Jesus say such a thing? That is, what would his purpose be, beyond advocating prudence?

Reminding them, perhaps, that good and evil are judgments, necessarily incomplete judgments. Life is not really good and evil but is opposed (balanced?) forces that we perceive as good and evil because of our captivity to the concept of duality as reality, the situation described metaphorically in Genesis as having eaten from the fruit of the tree of Perceiving Things as Good and Evil.

So you see, even in a transparent saying there may be hidden meanings, hidden not for the purpose of concealment but because by its nature it cannot be seen by anyone whose eyes have not been opened.

 

Saying 46

46 a Jesus said: From Adam to John the Baptist, no one born of a woman is above John the Baptist, so that he should not lower his eyes.

46 b But I have said: Whoever among you becomes like an infant will know the Kingdom and be greater than John.

Seems to me the question is: What does it mean to be someone born of a woman, on the one hand, and someone who has become like an infant, on the other. Not sure why John the Baptist is chosen as the standard of comparison.

But you know something of it, so say what you know, or think you know, and we will proceed from there.

“Or think I know” is right. I am well aware that I am out farther on the limb than usual. As always, I work against a background of concern (dread is only slightly too strong a term) lest I mislead people. I have to remember that they too have their discernment which will keep them out of trouble if they will employ it.

My assumption is that this is the concept that is familiar to us from centuries of reading or hearing Biblical verses, but would have been new to those who heard it from Jesus: those born and those born again “of water and the spirit,” I believe the saying is, though that may have been later interpolation by somebody. At any rate, I take this to be saying, John the Baptist is at a level that cannot be surpassed by anyone, no matter how good, who is still in the ordinary 3D human condition, but that John, excellent though he be, is less than anyone who “becomes like an infant” and “knows the Kingdom.”

Correct. So is there more to be gleaned from this saying?

If there is, I don’t see it.

Then proceed to the next, keeping this one in mind.

 

Saying 47

47 a Jesus said: One person cannot ride two horses at once, nor stretch two bows.

47 b Nor can a servant serve two masters, as he will respect one and despise the other.

47 c No one drinks vintage wine and immediately wants to drink fresh wine.

47 d Fresh wine is not put into old wineskins because they might burst. Vintage wine is not put into new wineskins because it might be spoiled.

47 e A patch of old cloth is not sewn onto a new garment because it would tear.

I take this to be giving multiple examples of incompatibility of old and new. In context, your life after you are born again will be incompatible with your life before, and you cannot expect to continue as if everything had not changed.

Also, you will have to choose, which implies that you can choose, between your old life and your new. In other words, you may turn your back on your new state of being, but what you will not be able to do is to both be and not be transformed.

And this leads to 48, which may be a more difficult saying to interpret.