Happy Birthday, Jesus
Thoughts on the Gospel of Thomas, Vol 2, #4, at Christmastime
On many occasions you have longed to hear such words as I am speaking to you, but you have had no one from whom you could hear them. The day will come again when you will seek for me, but will not be able to find me. Logion 38, Gospel of Thomas
Did you really say that, Jesus?
Say it isn’t so.
But it obviously is. The question is: why? Why have you left us, just when we need you most?
Happy Birthday anyway, but we need you to come out of hiding, Jesus.
It’s 2017, year of our lord---and we really need to hear from you, lord. We Americans are in deep doo-doo, like never before. I don’t need to go into detail; our fall is common knowledge, lord, world-wide… And surely you know, you must know all about it, wherever you are. Why the silence?
Oh to be sure, we have your purported words, resident in the four gospels, many of them reminiscent of similar sayings in Thomas, but they’ve been twisted by knaves to make a trap for us fools. Or more often, simply ignored. Those who claim most loudly to speak for you seem to be the very ones who are bringing us down, “trumpeting” a new day, a new and monstrous version of the country we thought we knew. And a new image of you to go with it, Jesus, one you'd never recognize.
But Happy Birthday, anyway, wherever you are.
We can’t say you didn’t warn us.
You told us there’d be days like this.
But so soon. We didn't dream we'd miss you so early. As soon as your demise, seems the process began. We had to re-invent your words, redefine your mission. What else could we do? We couldn't forget you, even as we couldn't comprehend you--so we had to re-invent you. You were always tough to understand, Jesus, now please, have mercy, admit that it is so. Your words we do recall said as much: he that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Is there no one here to understand? But we didn’t, and one thing is certain: if what we’ve been saying here so far about correctly understanding your words in the GT is even reasonably accurate, virtually none of the real you passed into the coming orthodoxy, the new Church. It proved to be simpler to just ignore your difficult sayings and make you into a sacrifice for the sins of the world and build an impressive Institution around your atoning death. You wanted to build a new race of men and women who would be whole, who would stand on their feet and proclaim peace and love and life to a troubled world, twins of yourself who would spread light and heal a sick world, create a new unified consciousness, a new kind of mega-mind. But we wouldn't listen, we ignored your words, chose instead to worship you. Yes, you warned us: there’d be no one around to replace you after you left us, no one to speak Wisdom. How differently things might have turned out, had we stopped to listen to you, really listen. You started a fire and were watching over it, waiting for it to spread.
But alas, it nearly went out, as soon as you left us. It had to smolder, untended, right up to 1945, to Nag Hammadi. It’s true, you’re back, but why the delay? The damage is done. The fire just flickers, flares up only briefly, few to tend it. We see it dimly but the darkness is deep, and we are drunk with wine, driven by fear and ignorance, ego dominated, death-driven. We remain not very interested, still indifferent to your offer of Wisdom, the gift of the Kingdom, now.
We have no gift for you, either, even at Christmastime.
But Happy Birthday anyway.