"The disciples said to Jesus, 'Tell us, how will our end come?'
Jesus said, 'Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.
Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death.'" - Gospel of Thomas Logion 18.
This year has so far been marked with both endings and beginnings. Both Mrs. H and I have started new jobs: for her a return to the pharmacy and for me a job in health care doing paperwork. In one sense we are back into familiar territory, and yet it is a with a fresh set of eyes and new ways to tread the old. I have been under treatment for adult ADHD for the past 8 months, and with the addition of medication, I find myself in a place of calm, finding a sense of stillness that so eluded me in the past. And while the new employment I find myself pays much less than the similar job I had three years ago, I find myself eager to go to work in the morning, looking forward to each challenge in a way I have never experienced.
I have also been exploring ancient and modern Gnosticism, reading from both the Nag Hammadi Library (a collection of ancient codexes found in Egypt shortly after WWII) and some more modern publications on the subject by authors like Jordan Stratford, Anthony Silva, and Stephan Hoeller. These collections of texts and spiritual practices have complimented and enhanced my own spiritual journey by showing me new ways to see the old Scriptures I grew up with in a new light as I began comparing the path I had been on with the emerging path ahead.
At first I thought this new found awareness was calling me in another direction. As I explored the more modern form of Gnosticism, I found the Apostolic Johannite Church, which seemed both strange and familiar, again combining the liturgy I have grown to love with an esotericism that I have sought all my life. And yet I love Christianity as expressed in The Episcopal Church, as it too seemed to bridge the divide between old and new with its ancient liturgy and open and inclusive theology. The pull of the two right now is equally strong.
Then I realized that at the beginning of Christianity, those who we now call Gnostics did not call themselves this. Like so many things, this is a title that we today bestowed on these early explorers of spirituality. Many so-called Gnostics in fact were members of their local churches and synagogs. Valentinus himself was in line for the Papacy, and much of modern Gnosticism today is based on the remains of texts penned by him and his followers in Alexandria.
And so, much like the early Gnostics of the past, I will continue to be of two worlds. Exploring the boundless horizons of both world views and allowing for the movement of the Holy Spirit to move me where she will. As the great theologian Jimmy Paige once said, "Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on..." In the meantime, I will look upon the beauty of what is before me rather than try to worry about what is beyond where I am.