WONDER OF WONDERS, A Walt Whitman Easter, 2020 . The Screwloose Letters, Vol 2, #3
Walt Whitman says,
Let me sing for you once again the body electric, even though Easter is over now. You weren’t listening, last time around.
You couldn’t guess I was Yeshua…
Here I am again, masquerading as logion 29 of that infamous Gospel of Thomas. I didn’t write that thing, but I could have. Actually did, in fact, only I called it Song of Myself.
If the flesh came into being because of the spirit, it is a wonder. But if the spirit is here now on behalf of the body, it is a wonder of wonders.
Yeah, that just about sums it up, all my stuff. It’s what I sing about, the Song of Myself, the Song of the Body Electric. The late Harold Bloom understood it, saw that I was Yeshua, saw through it all, post gnostic, post religious even.
But still, nobody gets it. The experts, the learned commentators, all seem to want to make this Thomas thing super “spiritual,” a put-down of the body, in typical Gnostic fashion. Yeah they all agree, the saying is saying if the body had anything at all to do with Spirit, that would be wonder enough, but if we try to imagine that such an exalted entity as Spirit would come to inhabit the body, help it out, even heal it, well that would be (joke!) a “wonder of wonders...” In other words, forget it. The body is toast.
A piece of sarcasm, that’s what we’ve got here!
But no, read it again. Do I make myself clear? It really is a wonder of wonders! I told you how we marveled at it--Yeshua and I, both of us--how that this miserable body with all its defects and diseases, doomed to rot and die, food for worms, host now to the fevers and coughs of the coronavirus bug, could also harbor the Spirit of the Living One, the Source of it all, the Ultimate Reality, the good and true and unknowable God, the hidden Good God who loves mankind and would wish upon us no worldwide virus.
How is it that Spirit has taken up residence in the midst of such poverty?
It’s a WONDER OF WONDERS.
There is something in you and me which is not part of the created world, and so cannot die. It is just a spark, a faint flicker indeed, forgotten as we stumble through the darkness of our exile. We’re stuck on this dying planet, corpses piling up all around us, waiting our turn.
Whoever has come to know the world has discovered a corpse…
Did I say that? No, it was Yeshua? Saying 56? Really?
Whoever knows the cosmos discovers the body, and the world is not worthy of the one who makes such a discovery. logion 80
Yeshua again? Is he not being redundant?
Not really. “The Gospel of Thomas is clever, very clever.” (S P Laurie) Look again. This time the body is our own, and not the cosmos as corpse, still very much alive. When you come to understand that the world is dying, all of it, including you, you suddenly make an astounding discovery: your Easter body, your beat-up body has been given a kick-start, resurrected, given a spurt of Spirit, and you just might glimpse the vaunted “inconceivable” prize of saying 17, “more life into a time without boundaries.” (Harold Bloom) In other words, your body gets an unexpected second wind, so to speak. Though you know it’s dying, it has now become a delight, previously denied to the senses five.
Wonder of wonders, you can still see, just when you thought you were going blind! Your ear can still hear, your hand can even touch the things of the Kingdom all around you. You have made all things new, including you, and it’’s for Now, not for up in the sky when you die.
Now that’s more like it. Not so Heavy Duty. It;s why we’re twins, Yeshua and I.
Is the Gospel of Thomas then an ancient Song of Myself? Yes. It is a song of my Self. But don’t call it mere narcissism, though there is nothing else like it in all of western spiritual literature until perhaps Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now. Nor is it especially Christian… It was the spark though that started off the evolutionary process that eventually produced the religion we now call Christianity, an entirely different system. Never man spake like this man, most assuredly… That's why they “kicked him upstairs,” this enigmatic twin of mine, made him into a god to worship. It was easier that way.
Come to me, for my yoke is easy, and my lordship is gentle. And you will find rest for your souls. logion 90
And for your bodies too! That’s why I sing the body electric. Maybe they were trying too hard to understand him. Seems to me his message was the same as mine...
The Kingdom is inside you, and all around you.
I assure you. Whoever grasps the meaning of these words will not know the taste of death.