Ten of these koan-like sayings at once is a little overwhelming to me! Actually, the Gospel of Thomas has been proving a challenge for me to get through. I bought a copy of Leloup’s translation and was quite excited about beginning it. Since then, I have been stuck on the first three verses. (is it verses, or sayings?)
Verse 2 grabbed me right away. It was like shining a spot-light on my life for the last 5 years. Since the day my atheist heart began to imagine that there may, in fact, be a God after all – I’ve been on a quest to know this being. Doing all I knew to do, I immersed myself in church life. The churches I ran into were evangelical, conservative and fundamentalist. I didn’t really know there were other flavors out there until I was heavily invested in the one I was attending. It was a challenge for me to subliminate much of my natural personality and bury my true thoughts about things, but I wanted to “do it right”.
The problem was I met very few fellow believers who were hungry like I was. When I broke from that system 5 years ago, it was a huge adjustment. I had to unlearn a lot, still am. It was hunger for God that brought me to where I am, and the process is described in Verse 2:
must continue to search
until they find.
When they find,
they will be disturbed;
and being disturbed, they will marvel
and will reign over All.
When my searching led me to a place where I found I needed to re-think all I knew about God, it was extremely disturbing. But shortly into the process, I became invigorated with new life. I was amazed at how expanded my thinking and my heart became. I was amazed at the inclusiveness of God, of the immanence, the presence that saturated me and everything around me. I truly have seen the truth of this verse.
In a similar way, verse 3 speaks to me deeply. The Kingdom is inside you, and it is outside you. I’d begun to experience this very thing – the presence of God both within and all around me, filling creation, making all things sacred. When you know yourself, then you will be known, and you will know that you are the child of the Living Father’ but if you do not know yourself, you will live in vain and you will be vanity. I’ve been on a journey to reclaim my soul, the core of who I am. This getting reacquainted with myself has been wonderful and hard. It seems I spent almost 2 decades wrapping layers of acceptability and normality around me to fit the mold I was told I should fit. I’m afraid I lost sight of who I really was, what I really thought. I was looking to others for approval and to leaders to know what I should think. It grieves me to think of those years spent pretending in so many ways. It really was vanity.
Coming to this place of knowing myself and of knowing God within has been so freeing. It’s as if I’ve become the author of my own identity. I have a sense of internal solidity, an inner ground to stand on. I trust God and the Spirit within me to lead me, to teach me and to transform me. I am following this inner Wisdom, wherein I find the authority, the solidity, the internal coagulation, that allows me to give voice to my soul.
(I’m sorry this post is a bit long…since I’m new, there was some biographical info that I needed to share to say what I wanted to say. I promise I won’t always be so long-winded!)