Jesus Sings the Body Electric, Vol 1, #6
Fear not, little flock: it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.
Remember these words from Luke (Chapter 12, verse 32)? I’ve always loved this passage; it’s so musical, so enigmatic, so delightfully ambiguous. But what does it mean, really? I’ve had no clue until now, in my final days on the planet. It seems it’s been the “Father’s” goal all along, in the lexicon of Yeshua, echoed belatedly in Luke 12 and environs: he wants to give us the Kingdom! “Luke’s” material is replete with reverberations from the earlier Thomas sayings, from the primitive, original Jesus. Was he talking literalist eschatology? Did he have in mind the familiar fundamentalist agenda—you know the one--where he returns to Jerusalem in the last days, to reign for a thousand years, following the Rapture, the Great Tribulation and preceding the Great White Throne Judgment?
The “Father” wants to give you the Kingdom. Now. Privately, individually, personally. Whatever or whoever else it may eventually involve, it has to start with you… If you miss this, says Yeshua, you’ve missed it all, you’re an impoverished soul. It’s the Father’s (and Yeshua’s) biggest joy, this gift he wants to give you. It brings him “good pleasure.”
I will give you what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, what no hand has touched, and has never occurred to the human mind… logion 17
Ultimately, what is this gift? Now don’t say “heaven when you die,” or some such thing. It won’t work. For that idea certainly has occurred to the human mind, and Big Time. This new gift is nothing else but the Kingdom, presented in a way you’ve not heard or could possibly have anticipated, no, not in a hundred, not in a thousand years. You can see this Kingdom, reach out and touch it, feel it, taste it even—yes, even smell it. It’s something quite physical, palpable. Well then hey! It has to be your life he’s talking about, your life right now, the life you live in your body, with its electric sense organs and its present-ness.
Ultimately... you are the Kingdom. You carry the Kingdom around with you, an aura of sorts. It’s inside you and all around you. It’s your world. Recall that obnoxious guy on Fox News who says, with a sweeping gesture and that smug smirk of his I’m Watters, and this is my world…
That’s right. In this Kingdom, God is not the King, or even Jesus. You are. You carry your Kingdom with you, wherever you go, just like Watters carries his world. More precisely, the Coptic words translated Kingdom of God are more properly rendered the Realm of the Father. It’s within you and without you. All around you. Oh yes, Jesus is still the King, but just like you are a King. He's your twin, remember? In the Realm of the Father, there are many Kings, but no hierarchy. Make no mistake, this is your only real Reality, surrounding you as you read this, in this very moment of time: the Realm of the Father. All else is memory, expectation, or abstraction. There’s only you, and your world, in the present moment… True, the “Father” is King, but then you are the Father… or at least the real you; the Father lives within you. He’s the “spark” deep inside you, and now you live in his Realm, now that you’ve found yourself, found your Self. We said earlier you shall be the sort of King who’s powerless, but that’s only outwardly: inside, you’ll reign over The All. And your sovereignty will be your rest. You can rest, for the first time. You can relax, as only a King can. You can “move the mountain…” What is your “mountain?” Is it your Ego? The Ego that can’t let go, has to win all its battles with all those persistent opponents, the Ego that has to believe you’re really Somebody, demands respect, insists upon its rights, has to have the final word? Well, now you can relax, let those blowhards fight it out.
And no, you are not going to merge into the Absolute, lose your illusory identity. Rather, in this version of things, your true identity is about to be confirmed... As a child of the Living One, exiled here from a parallel universe transcendent to, but inclusive of, the temporal and spatial order that we inhabit as well as the spiritual dimensions that dwell within us. (Bauman). In my Father's House are many mansions... You had a room there once.
Now don’t get excited. I can hear you screaming heresy! I don’t believe it. It’s right from the pit of hell, or worst of all, it’s liberal! Blasphemy! Or just nonsense. Okay, fine, you can’t take it seriously. Hold that thought a bit longer; bear with me. What I’m about here is just trying to “unpack” this piece of ancient Wisdom Literature that sounds so contemporary, trying to see what it’s really all about, what it’s teaching. You can decide later as to the merit of its message—whether it’s "true" or not. But hear me out. I’m maintaining that this Gospel of Thomas is one of a kind, deserves some serious attention. It does hang together, it does have systematic coherence. But most of all, what if it does turn out to be a glimpse of the real “historical Jesus,” the figure behind the whole subsequent misunderstanding that turned into the Christianity that’s shaped our Western Culture for two long tortuous millennia?
There’s something in you that was never born, and so cannot die.
That’s what it teaches.
So far, so good. We’ve heard all this before, have we not? At this point, standard Gnostic propaganda, this spark business. But hold on, fasten your seat belts, for we’re about to switch tracks. For the Gnostics the spirit or the spark was an alien element, endemic to our exile here in this world of corrupt and evil matter, but imprisoned unwittingly in a vile and perishable body of excrement, destined to die an ignominious and inglorious death, after which and only after which it will return to its true home, to the True God, its True Creator, its rightful inheritance. But here in the Gospel of Thomas there’s a switch: in the teaching of Yeshua the True God is already in each of us as a spark and wants to affirm the present body we each inhabit as a touch or foretaste of the Kingdom from which we came and to which we shall return... There is none of the Gnostic dualism here, or very little. The Kingdom Yeshua wants to give us transforms the body and the present world (at least right around us, as we move through it) and gives us a taste of life, instead of death. This Kingdom is an Eternal Now. In the Father’s timeless Realm of Now, there can be no death.
The dead know nothing, and the Living do not die. Logion 11
This Kingdom has come, already, a gift from Yeshua. The five senses are thus validated and made into the key to Ultimate Reality, the Realm of the Father. For the five senses, like the world of the infant of seven days (whose polymorphously perverse consciousness you've now recovered) are all about now. The senses do not ruminate; they do not theorize, they have no “time” for any of that, no time to think about someday they will die. Or to think about the past. For life is only for now, the realm of the real is for now, the only thing ultimately real is this very moment. This is no pie-in-the-sky religiosity; this is nitty-gritty Reality Principle…
Get real, Jesus says (it comes close to sarcasm, does it not?) Don’t believe them, about the Kingdom. They’ll tell you it’s up in the sky, after you die. Balderdash! If that’s true, the birds will beat you to it! Or maybe in the sea! Then the fish will precede you! Or it’s for some far-off day you’ll never see! No no, I tell you it’s right now, in you and all around you. That’s if you get on to your true self, who you really are. Then you will come to know and be known, when you come to know yourself as a child of the Living One. But if you don’t know who you are, you will live out your days in spiritual poverty… Log. 3
We are the dregs and sediments of a lost heaven, it seems, strangers on our own planet. We got no Instruction Manual. But if you come to know yourself, you will find the Spark within, witness to that other Realm, the Kingdom of Yeshua’s Father, from which you came and to which you will return, maybe even right Now.
And now you know why Harold Bloom says this Yeshua reminds him of Walt Whitman (Bloom, Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?)
"The voice, articulation, language, whispering, shouting aloud,
Food, drink, pulse, digestion, sweat, sleep, walking, swimming,
Poise on the hips, leaping, reclining, embracing, arm-curving and tightening,
The continual changes of the flex of the mouth, and around the eyes,
The skin, the sunburnt shade, freckles, hair,
The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand the naked meat of the body,
The circling rivers the breath, and breathing it in and out,
The beauty of the waist, and thence of the hips, and thence downward toward the knees,
The thin red jellies within you or within me, the bones and the marrow in the bones,
The exquisite realization of health;
O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul,
O I say now these are the soul." last lines of I sing the Body Electric, Walt Whitman. Look it up!