(audio version of this can be found at http://www.archive.org/details/easter_message_2006 )

EASTER 2006 MESSAGE
Matthew Ouroboros: I will post it up here..we were going to read chapters five and chapters eight of the Gospel of Mary
I will post that first

Chapter 5

1) But they were grieved. They wept greatly, saying, How shall we go to the Gentiles and preach the gospel of the Kingdom of the Son of Man? If they did not spare Him, how will they spare us?

2) Then Mary stood up, greeted them all, and said to her brethren, Do not weep and do not grieve nor be irresolute, for His grace will be entirely with you and will protect you.

3) But rather, let us praise His greatness, for He has prepared us and made us into Men.

4) When Mary said this, she turned their hearts to the Good, and they began to discuss the words of the Savior.
Matthew Ouroboros: 5) Peter said to Mary, Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of woman.

6) Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them.

7) Mary answered and said, What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you.

8) And she began to speak to them these words: I, she said, I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to Him, Lord I saw you today in a vision. He answered and said to me,
Matthew Ouroboros: 9) Blessed are you that you did not waver at the sight of Me. For where the mind is there is the treasure.

10) I said to Him, Lord, how does he who sees the vision see it, through the soul or through the spirit?

11) The Savior answered and said, He does not see through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind that is between the two that is what sees the vision and it is […]

(pages 11 – 14 are missing from the manuscript)

Chapter 8:
10) And desire said, I did not see you descending, but now I see you ascending. Why do you lie since you belong to me?

11) The soul answered and said, I saw you. You did not see me nor recognize me. I served you as a garment and you did not know me.

12) When it said this, it (the soul) went away rejoicing greatly.

13) Again it came to the third power, which is called ignorance.

14) The power questioned the soul, saying, Where are you going? In wickedness are you bound. But you are bound; do not judge!

15) And the soul said, Why do you judge me, although I have not judged?

16) I was bound, though I have not bound.

17) I was not recognized. But I have recognized that the All is being dissolved, both the earthly things and the heavenly.
18) When the soul had overcome the third power, it went upwards and saw the fourth power, which took seven forms.

19) The first form is darkness, the second desire, the third ignorance, the fourth is the excitement of death, the fifth is the kingdom of the flesh, the sixth is the foolish wisdom of flesh, the seventh is the wrathful wisdom. These are the seven powers of wrath.

20) They asked the soul, Whence do you come slayer of men, or where are you going, conqueror of space?

21) The soul answered and said, What binds me has been slain, and what turns me about has been overcome,

22) and my desire has been ended, and ignorance has died.

23) In a aeon I was released from a world, and in a Type from a type, and from the fetter of oblivion which is transient.

24) From this time on will I attain to the rest of the time, of the season, of the aeon, in silence.

Matthew Ouroboros: that is from the Gospel of Mary
Our theme for this year’s Easter message of 2006 is “Miriam of Magdala, queen of the apostles and gateway of the resurrection.” We know that in both Gnostic texts like the Gospel of Mary and in Christian narratives, Mary or Miriam becomes the first to testify to the reality of the resurrection and then takes it upon herself to convince often unbelieving male apostles that she herself is a messenger of the truth.
Texts indicate that Miriam was Jesus’ great partner throughout his life and his teaching. Much interest in the past few years has focused on the potential nature of their personal relationship, although the truth is that we will probably never know exactly what that was, but what is certainly clear is that she was the one who stood by him, who followed his teachings and then later, particularly after his death, carried the message of those teachings toward others around her (as the Gospel of Mary shows her stating, “What is hidden from you I will proclaim!”).
In the Gospel of Philip, she is described as being “the one who was called Jesus’ companion.” This is what we mean by describing Miriam as the Queen of the Apostles or Apostola Apostolorum – the Apostle to the Apostles. To understand the relationship between Mary and the resurrection it is important to revisit once again the question of the Gnostic vision and understanding of the resurrection. The resurrection has never, to Gnostics in ancient times or today, been looked at as some kind of resuscitation of a dead corpse. Jesus is not “brought back to life,” but rather brought forward to a new form of life in the spirit. And, moreover, the resurrection event is something that flows, for Gnosticism, not out of his death, but rather out of the fulfillment of his life.

The resurrection, according to the challengingly beautiful words of the Gospel of Philip, “Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way. There is a rebirth and an image of rebirth. It is certainly necessary to be born again through the image. Which one? Resurrection. The image must rise again through the image. The bridal chamber and the image must enter through the image into the truth: this is the restoration. Not only must those who produce the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, do so, but have produced them for you.”
This has deep implications, of course, not merely for Christology but also for our own understanding of the human person and the participation of the human being in one’s own form of the resurrection. There was a famous theologian of the early Christian era named Origen, who worked to try to reconcile some teachings from Gnosticism with more traditional ideas of orthodox Christianity. Eventually his teachings too would come under attack by the orthodox establishment, but I really wanted to just bring up one of the most fascinating things Origen said. He taught that, and I am paraphrasing a bit here, every human being is formed in the image of God – and it is the purpose of our lives to transform ourselves into God’s likeness as well, to take on the pattern of God and liberate the imago dei that lies deep within us. It is here that we can participate alongside Christ in the resurrection and the journey toward a new kind of life in the spirit.
What many Gnostics did was to go even farther than Origen in stressing the affinity between Christ’s life and our own lives. Jesus, said Carpocrates, was the son of Joseph and a human being like any of us, except that – again to paraphrase – he was able to attain the resurrection before death, the transformation of gnosis and theosis. As we have said in the past, Jesus’ first steps along this path took him into the desert wilderness of Judea, where he was tempted by the powers of the demiurge and asked, in turn, to simultaneously put his physical needs first and ironically also to deny his own humanity (by using magic to transform stones into bread), to put his faith in an intellectual belief disconnected from any relational knowledge or gnosis (by throwing himself off the temple), and ultimately to deny the one true God in favor of the demiurge who claimed dominion over the princes and kingdoms of this world. Each of us goes through the Judean desert in our lives as well – at some point or another, no matter how healthy or wealthy or happy we may seem to be, we face circumstances, endemic to a world inexorably including suffering, that bring us into the desert of experience. Here we face the easy answers of the archonic forces – greed, addiction, violence; and the even more deceptive answers, like the cheap salvation that promises us that all we need to do is have “faith” and it doesn’t matter what we do to others or how we shape our lives as long as we “believe.” We have to have the strength to move past these false oases, as Jesus did in the story of the temptation in the wilderness.
The journey did not stop there though – and this is important, because it stresses the humanity of Jesus. He grew and he developed; he learned more about his spiritual nature and grew in a dynamic way as a human person. Ultimately he came to understand that true spiritual awakening lay in giving to others – and this is just what we spoke about on Holy Thursday in talking about his gifts to his friends and disciples. And thus we see the sense in which it was so appropriate for Mary Magdalene, his close friend and associate, who surely must have both challenged him and developed with him, to ultimately become the great apostolic witness to his resurrection.
One of the ways we see Jesus developing in the Gnostic scriptures is in his understanding of the role of women. Particularly in the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus makes increasingly clear his vision of an egalitarian spiritual universe in which men and women will be reunited in the spiritual wholeness with which they began. Sometimes this is expressed a little strangely, as in the very end of the Gospel of Thomas, where it is stated in a way that coincides to a certain degree with the chauvinistic attitudes of the times, while still trying to reverse them. In other places, however, the expressions are almost incredibly powerful, as in saying 22: Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to his disciples, “These infants being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom.” They said to him, “Shall we then, as children, enter the kingdom?”
Jesus said to them, “When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter the kingdom.”

The challenge for us this Easter, and every day of the year, is whether we too can heed the call of Jesus and Miriam to join in this journey toward resurrection. Will we be able to have the courage to receive, in the words of the Gospel of Thomas, “what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what has never occurred to the human mind?” What is a church, and what should it be? The ekklesia, the beloved community, should be above all the place for the rebirth of the resurrection that takes place every day in our lives, as we struggle to bring forth the imago dei that lies deep within us, to manifest Christ to ourselves and to those around us.
We find the roots of our fundamental human dignity – and more importantly of our fundamental mission toward theosis and gnosis – in Jesus’ promise, recorded in the Gospel of Thomas, “Anyone who drinks from my mouth will become like me. I myself will become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to that one.”

Demiurge: Meaning ‘Creator’ in Greek. Thought to be the “Craftsman” or creator of the material world. (Heracleon) In Orthodox thought this is a supernatural entity or force, such as the appearance of God to Moses. In the Gnostic schema the Word refers to an order, and it may be a natural sort of intelligent design, related to wisdom, the earthly or kenomic state of the higher wisdom, or form from the Pleroma. The material state is considered less than the Pleromic, and highly flawed. Archons seem to be emanations from the Demiurge process, much like other emanations from the Pleroma. (See; Pleroma, Kenoma, Archon.)

Origen: (185- 254 C.E.) Born in Alexandria. He studied Greek philosophy with Ammonius, and others. He became a Christian under Clement. Some of his surviving work is considered somewhat Gnostic in its nature according to later western Christian leaders. Origen was declared heretical on the basis of his beliefs in the pre-existence of souls and his beliefs about apokatastasis. In 553 A.D the Chalcedonians anathematized him. http://www.iep.utm.edu/o/origen.htm

Pleroma: The word means “fullness,” and the ‘All.’ It refers to ”all existence
beyond matter. Refers to the world of the Aeons, the heavens or spiritual
universe, which represents being out of the state of matter. According to the
“Gospel of Truth” “….all the emanations from the Father are Pleromas.” see
Tractates 3, 2, Codices, I, and XII, Nag Hammadi Lib. Pleroma can have other
connotations according to the Gnostic school of thought, some differences in
Sethian and Valentinian (other) schools can be noted. Pleroma, is different than
Logos. (See; Logos, See aslo; Gaffney, p. 246.)

Theosis: (Theiosis, Theopoiesis, Theōsis) In Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic theology, theosis, meaning divinization (or deification or, to become god), is the call to man to become holy and seek union with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in the resurrection. Theosis comprehends salvation from sin, is premised upon apostolic and early Christian understanding of the life of faith, and is conceptually foundational in both the East and the West. See also; Consecration, Deification, Divine Union, Sanctification. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theosis

 

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