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THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS (Part Two)

February 23, 2013

Paipalon

B&W Illustration from OPHELIA In the Beyond  (Book One of the Ophelia Trilogy) Author: L. Thiel Hewlings

Ophelia’s eyes opened wide at Q’s words, especially the part about losing everything, including your life, which she took to mean if you chose not to listen to the message, a message unique only to you, you might follow the wrong path or make a wrong decision that could result in death. This bit of information caused her to think about some of the lessons  that she had been taught over the years, lessons about right or wrong. She wondered if this messenger was some sort of teacher. The closest anyone in her village had come to holding any such power were the priests, who also carried with them important messages for the people, but the more she thought about this, the more she sensed that the messenger Q spoke of was somehow different.

Ophelia fiddled with a loose thread on the hem of her dress. “When this messenger came to you, what did she say?”

….. Ophelia gave Q’s words time to sink in. She had trouble believing his story, yet she couldn’t help feeling slightly uneasy about it too – the way hearing a bizarre truth for the first time makes you feel uneasy – and thinking that those things you thought you knew were somehow false. She even felt a tiny shiver run up her spine. p. 30 The Man and His Mission Chapter Two, Ophelia In the Beyond

After I was aborted from an Orthodox cathedral nearly three years ago, for reasons still unclear to me, since what I’d experienced from this was akin to the Perfect Storm, and I’ve yet to fully comprehend the multi-faceted purpose in this, I went to another Orthodox parish, a smaller one. Dropping weight at a rapid pace, still confused and hurt  by this behavior, and on edge because of the impertinent emails that came my way, I sought council, and compassion. I needed to speak with someone who understood these things. What I ended up experiencing was a continuation of Religious and Spiritual malpractice. As I was leaving this parish after the liturgy had ended, a woman who I had met at a Bible Study (my first and only) in the cathedral,  called my name. I was reluctant to respond because of a lack of trust, for what had happened to me had rendered me distrustful, and to some small degree, I have remained of this. Since I desperately wanted to know what was going on that everyone should behave in such a bizarre fashion, I turned, and reentered the parish. Almost immediately, this woman began introducing me as having written a book on Orthodoxy.

My trilogy is a fantasy for ages ten and up, so naturally, my first thought was: Is Orthodoxy a fantasy?

The truth about my book, and why I entered an Orthodox parish in the first place is quite simple. I wanted to understand the Orthodox faith, specifically the Greek Orthodox faith. Having written in my protagonist, Ophelia, as Greek, I felt it important to touch on a small amount of historical fact in the books. Book One makes no mention of Religion. None whatsoever, but as you can see from the above excerpt, I mention the priests, and early in the story I mention an ikon of  st George that hangs in Ophelia’s kitchen. As I continued my research for Book Two, I realized that Orthodoxy is the primary Religion of the masses in Greece, despite having read in one online article that most do not attend liturgy regularly.  Since my story begins in the early 1920s, this would have been the Religion at that time, and I felt it important that I understand this faith tradition, which is what it is, really. It’s a tradition they practice, having come from [a] belief.  Ahead of entering Greek Orthodoxy, I bought a book on its theology. Much to my delight, I discovered a few aspects that made perfect sense. I became intrigued, and this made it easier to go into this Tradition. I even spent twenty minutes or so every night for a few months teaching myself conversational Greek, which I have forgotten most of. I prefer  to focus more on the words one might find in the gnostic texts, and texts having to do with prayer of the heart, The Philokalia.

What happened through all of this is was and is instrumental in my calling in the Spiritual Arts, our movement Spirrealism. The truth is, had I not experienced these malfunctioning members, I would not have come into understanding in the spiritual growth process. With this in mind, I’d like to share with you a few passages from The Gospel of Thomas (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, The Revised and updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts).

(1) The disciples said to Jesus, “Tell us how our end will be.”

(2) Jesus said, “Have you discovered the beginning, then, so that you are seeking the end? For where the beginning is the end will be. (3) Blessed is one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death.”

(1) Jesus said, ” Blessed is one who came into being before coming into being.

(2) “If you become my disciples and listen to my sayings, these stones will serve you.

(3) “For there are five trees in paradise for you; they do not change, summer or winter, and their leaves do not fall. (4) Whoever knows them will not taste death.”

Our Lord’s response to the disciple’s question has to do with yearning and humility. If you know what it is to be at the beginning of life, you will know its end, and what is systematic in this, or consistent with the will of God, is its continuousness.  Each proven step awards another step, for in each step holds an understanding in and of the Way. So, if you understand this beginning, you surely know its end, which holds a promise of life.

Blessed is the one who came into being before coming into being. Those who acquire life, stand before. This would have to do with the prophetic station. A perfect example is Jesus himself. The disciples were called into prophetic gifts. There is no question in this as far as I can see. Jesus was speaking on the nature of this in performance.

The wisdom in the next passage is demonstrated throughout the Old and New Testament. The stones are these:

1. Forthrightness. Fairness and honesty pertaining to acts. Wholesome gardening. Sincere intent. Justice.

2. Attentiveness. An awareness of the inside and outside within self pertaining to godliness. Willingness to serve Truth.

3. Living love, through God love, and not in the secular life of this world.

4. Strength in adversity. Faith in understanding.

5. Perseverance in the Word of God. Desiring wisdom.

What’s interesting in this is that if you are of the fifth, the others are of the essence.

The final passage is another expression of the stones in the previous passage.

In the Way, the Truth, and the Life … the life holds the feminine wisdom because it holds truth, but truth holds the Father. The way is a union of both because it sires life. But no one can come to the Father except through the anointed, the Way. I suppose an easy way to understand this is to take a piece a fruit – a peach, for instance. You have the outer, which should reflect the inner. The peach represents life. It holds the feminine wisdom in its essence – its fragrance, and its nutrients, which is its truth, but it also holds and protects the seed, the source of the continuation of this. In other words, you need the seed in order to produce more fruit, but you won’t be able to produce unless you eat of the fruit itself. You don’t eat the seed of the peach, but you do benefit from its flesh. If you eat its flesh, and benefit from this, you will be inclined to use the seed to grow more trees that you might have more fruit. Of course, a grounds keeper is necessary to see to the trees, one who knows when and how to prune, and understands the growing.

I have three peach trees in my yard, all self-pollinating trees. I was given a few peach seeds, and I planted them in pots in the ground. I covered them with leaf mulch and by the following Spring, three had sprouted, and before I had even decided where I would plant them in the yard, the roots were ready for new earth.

SPIRREALISM: The Weeping Prophet

THE WEEPING PROPHET 48 inch by 72 inch acrylic on canvas – L. Thiel Hewlings

Note: This venue crops unjustly. To see the full image (right side), visit http://www.opheliart.etsy.com

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