Gospel of Thomas
An Adult Education Class
Rev. Tom Thresher
and Kim Beyer-Nelson
Our group is moving into a long break as our outdoor weather begins to improve and gardens call, but I will continue on with the Gospel of Thomas for those who wish to follow its path on this website.
If you have questions or thoughts about the Gospel of Thomas or my commentaries and exercises, please send them on to the church! I’ll incorporate the questions/thoughts and my responses to them into the next web-offering — your insights and musings will make it a richer experience for all, so I actively encourage your participation.
We hope you enjoy your electronic journey with us. Check in each week for new installments from the class.
|Resources & Sources|
|October 11||Logion 1 & 2|
|October 18||Logion 3|
|October 25||Logion 4 & 5|
|November 1||Logion 6 & 7|
|November 8||Notes from this session are not available.|
|November 15||Logion 10 & 11|
|November 22||Logion 12 & 13|
|November 29||Logion 14 & 15|
|January 3||Logion 16|
|January 10||Logion 17 & 18|
|January 24||Logion 19 & 20|
|January 31||Logion 21|
|February 14||Logion 22|
|February 21||Logion 23|
|March 5||Logion 24|
|March 14||Logion 25|
|Back to the Top|
Read the following Logion three times out-loud, pausing between each reading to let the words take root in your mind, body and spirit:
“Love your brother and your sister
As your very own being.
Protect them as you would the
pupil of your eye.”
Thinking about the Logion:
|1.||Write down all the many ways you experience love — ranging from love of certain people to perhaps love for the vastness of the Universe or God. What separates these different kinds of love for you? Or is there a core tingle, a central felt sense of what love is?|
|2.||What sorts of actions does love dictate, as this Logion implicitly suggests with the word “protect”? How are the actions of love different from pity? From grasping? From aversion?|
|3.||What is the difference between “love” and “compassion” for you?|
|4.||What does Yeshua hint at when he asks you to protect your brothers and sisters as you would the “pupil of your eye?” What is the inner message of this injunction?|
Something to try:
Close your eyes and imagine you are face to face with someone your trust. Look closely into the pupil of their eyes, and see your own image reflected back to you. Imagine them reflected in your own eyes. Then imagine them reflected in your own heart, and yours in theirs.
Stay with the feelings that arise, and after a while, let the imagination work go and write down some words that capture the sensations of this reflection/reflecting another.
How do you understand the logion now?
Has anything changed?
|Back to the Top|
Today we'll work with Logion 24
His students said to him,
“Take us to the place where you
Are, since we are required to seek after it.”
He answered them,
“Whoever has an ear for this
should listen carefully!
Light shines out from the center
of a Being of light and illuminates
the whole cosmos. Whoever fails to
become light is a source of darkness.”
Take the time to read this Logion out-loud, first listening for the basic meaning and flavor of the passage.
After a time of silence to clear the palette of the mind, read it again out-loud, this time asking yourself what might be its message for you today. Again, wait in silence for a place of stillness and deeper attention.
Finally, read the passage one more time and let your mind pick up a single word of phrase that sings to you. Allow this word or phrase to echo in your mind like a mantra, taking as much time as you need before turning to the questions below:
Musing about the Logion — a chance to journal:
|1.||What does Yeshua’s answer tell you about the Kingdom? Is it a place or a state? How do you feel about this? Is there a reason why humans often think of the Kingdom as a place? What spiritual benefit might such a view bring to the table? What gifts does the Kingdom’s image as a light within offer to our broadening understanding of the divine?|
|2.||A great many of the words that describe the Kingdom or the divine in the great religious traditions of the world have an element of “raying forth”. What parts of you ray forth as you move through your life? What spiritual tools help you to ray forth these qualities? What mentors have you had along your path who encouraged this “raying forth”?|
|3.||Have you ever encountered others who are a source of light? How do they move through the world? Have you brushed up against “sources of darkness” in yourself or others? What characterizes these encounters? What lessons can you take away from these meetings that will enable you to feed and manifest the light?|
Something to try:
|Here is a meditation that focuses on Raying Forth the light within you:|
Sit quietly with your spine upright and begin to breathe into your deepest self. You might want to rest a gentle hand on your belly, noticing how it rises with the inhale and settles with the exhale.
Let your attention come into the middle of your heart and imagine a small flame there, brilliant and full of a quality of peace and love. As you breathe out, imagine that small flame expanding outward, creating a circular ripple around you. As you breathe in, the edge of that ripple stays out beyond your heart and you fill up that space with light and compassion. Breathe out, and send the edge of the ripple even further out.
Out-breath by out-breath, increase the area of your circle. Your imagination can send it out beyond the furthest reaches of the galaxies.
Then, in-breath by in-breath, draw the light back toward you until the light simply rests, small and warm and forever present in the center of your heart.
|Back to the Top|
Our small, but intrepid group gathered and worked with Logion 23:
I choose you,
One from a thousand,
Two from ten thousand,
And you will stand to your own feet
Having become single and whole.
Take some time with this logion, practicing our art of Lectio Divina.
Remember, the first time you read it out-loud, simply listen to the words, connecting with the passage and the basic levels of meaning.
Next, read the words again out-loud, and ask yourself what they mean to you right now — what message do they hold personally for you?
Finally, on the third reading, choose one word or phrase that particularly resonates with you and hold it in your consciousness until you feel ready to gently release it.
Questions to consider:
|1.||What does it mean to be chosen? How does this term make you feel?|
|2.||Why is the number of those chosen so very small? What might this say about Yeshua’s intended audience?|
|3.||Must you first stand, to be single and whole, or does the standing result from the experience of wholeness? What does the word “single” mean to you? How do you feel about this word? (I often ask you to explore the difference between analytic-verbal understandings of a word and the emotive and intuitive elements of it. Both are essential parts of making meaning on the spiritual path.)|
|4.||Do you feel chosen? Why or why not?|
|5.||Spend some time and ask yourself why you might be reading along with this class now — where did the impulse toward spiritual seeking arise? How do you dance with the “will of God” as well as “free will” in your own life?|
Insights from class:
|1.||There is a somewhat mystical blend of relief and responsibility in the idea of being chosen. We talked a bit about the distinct possibility that Yeshua is not just referring to folks who believe in God or walk a basic Sunday-morning path, but rather, the disciples who burn to wake up and KNOW.|
|2.||We pondered this saying from Islam: “If you take one step toward God, God runs two to you.” (There are a great many variations on how many steps God takes… google the saying for fun.)|
|3.||We entered into a long and profound talk about predestination, and the dance of grace and free will.|
|4.||We also played around a bit with the “many-ness” of ourselves, so full of paradox and contradictions, and what it might be like to draw that many-ness into a single being, whole, without losing the richness of those levels of ourselves.|
|5.||We also spent a great deal of time speaking about why we are on the spiritual path — when did it begin, and what is the basic relationship between choice and God’s will in our lives. One woman spoke of a fish in water, swimming with the flow but making gentle course corrections along the way. And of course, the saying “Trust in God, but tie your camel” surfaced as well as the idea|
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers …