Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Gleaning Meaning

I stumbled across this parable today in the Gospel of Thomas:

"Jesus said: The Kingdom of the Father is like a woman who was carrying a jar full of grain. As she walked along a handle of her jar broke off and grain trickled out, but she didn't notice. When she arrived in her house, she put the jar down and found it empty." (saying 97)

In the notes on that page it says that such a saying as this is "a unique example of what a parable of Jesus would have sounded like to an audience of his own time. If you find saying 97 shocking or puzzling or even flat-out incomprehensible, then you probably hear it as it was heard then."

Having said that, Jesus told stories and parables partly so that we might wrestle with their meaning. So, I ask you, the readers of this blog, to give your interpretation of this parable. There is no single "right" interpretation...such parables are vague so that we can each glean our own truths from it.

So, take a moment, read the saying a few more times, close your eyes, let the passage sit in your being in silence, and then when finished share with us what this passage said to YOU.


Meredith said...

Perhaps...little by little along the spiritual path, almost without noticing, we empty ourselves of ourselves, of our ego, allowing the Spirit to fill this space empty of us.

isaiah said...

In our daily routine of coming and going, our doing that which is ours to do we unknowingly spread about and leave lingering wherever we have been and are...the essence of ourselves and of heaven. Heaven, our true nature cannot be contained and escapes, eludes whatever bounds, words, or thoughts we try and confine it to.
Giving in nature, creating always...Heaven is ever expanding and we are co-creators.

Jon said...

I was just reading this one yesterday, Trev!

What a difference a translation can make. My version said "flour," which makes no sense because the outcome seems positive--it IS the Kingdom of the Father, and flour can only be used for food. The "grain" translation must be correct. If it is...
then this is the "Parable of the Accidental Sower."

You don't have to be aware of your positive deeds for God to use them--just by carrying the grain, we are sowing the seeds.

kev said...

makes me think of integrity - being alive on this planet with this present reality is a challenge to us to prove to God that we WANT to be Christ-like. so God gives us a few years to work on it, and by the "end" (generations and millenia later or the end of our own lives), "many have fallen by the wayside" but many are made whole and perfect during the trip.

dave said...

My initial thought was that it is describing heaven escaping from God, or the church slipping away from God a little at a time. This may have more to do with fighting my own present negativity than anything else.
Upon another reading I am seeing something different. I see a story of us, walking our journey and carrying our grain. Our grain spills out as we go, spreading seeds for growth along the path. This has the potential to be food for others, even life for some, and we will probably never know what has grown and what it has produced. Our purpose is to keep walking the journey. Our grain will spread and some of it will have great impact. Another part of it will just move on to the earth, to be used on someone else's journey.