Mindful Metropolis — November 2011
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Heart-To-Heart With Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey

Wisdom of the lost Gospel

It is far more than a coincidence that in 1945 should occur both the first lethal exposures of nuclear madness at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, and the discovery of a lost Gospel in a small desert cave near Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt. This lost Gospel, the Gospel of Thomas, was written at the same time as the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and it represents the greatest religious discovery of our time.

It is as if, at the very moment when humanity was brought face to face with its most extreme capacities for horror, evil and destruction, so also, in Jesus’ astounding vision of the Kingdom in the Gospel of Thomas, humanity was shown what it could still achieve if only it woke up to the urgent danger it was in and realized in action the splendor of its divine secret identity. The 60 years since then have only emphasized the challenge implicit in the synchronicity of Hiroshima and Nag Hammadi. Are we going to continue the self-destructive vision that is ruining the environment and creating a degraded and violent planet? Or are we going to take up the ecstatic challenge of Jesus in the revolutionary Gospel of Thomas to see that the Kingdom already exists in and around us, and is only waiting for our transformed insight and action that flows from it to break into flame and change everything?

If you have not read this Gospel yet, run out and get a copy, because it will introduce you to Jesus as a revolutionary of love and evolutionary pioneer in a way that the churches have completely forgotten or radically betrayed, because they have all made their bed with the very powers that Jesus understood as destructive of the world. In this Gospel, you will find a Jesus who has no interest in being thought of as a unique son of God or founder of one more patriarchal religion, but who is a radical mystic who understands that everyone has divine consciousness, and that the ability to realize that consciousness lies in everyone’s power through discipline and divine grace. And that the whole point of being human is to be a conscious instrument of that power and its capacity to transform everything, most especially the political and social realms of the world and our crazed and dissociated relationship with creation. This is the Jesus I have met in the depths of my own experience; this is the Jesus that totally transcends Christianity and speaks to all of us—whatever faith or lack of it we have, of what we would be if we truly let out the magnificence imprisoned within us together to transform the workings of the death machine so that a holy new humanity could be born on earth.

In Number 70 of the 150 verses which make up the Gospel, Jesus says something that goes to the heart of our world-crisis and how we must now respond to it; he says, “When you give rise to that which is within you what you have will save you. If you do not give rise to it, what you do not have will destroy you.” I want to leave you with this astounding fierce remark to meditate on this month and I will write about it extensively next month.