Swing an Axe. Plant a Garden. — GoT Logion 30
with the gospel of thomas
breathe in + breathe out
Where there are three divinities,
God is present.
Where one or two exist, I am there.
We’re continuing our exploration of the Gospel of Thomas (GoT), moving through the 114 logions (i.e., wisdom sayings) one week at a time. GoT is an ancient wisdom text from the early Christian movement. For centuries, the text was thought lost to humanity. Only shards of a Greek manuscript were known. But then, in 1945 near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, a farmer dug up a sealed jar full of ancient scrolls including a full text of the Gospel of Thomas translated in the Coptic language.
This text speaks powerfully into our now, in part, because it does not carry with it the baggage of two millennia of “Christian” imperialism. These wisdom sayings are attributed to Jesus, (i.e., Yeshua, in his native language). They reflect the Jewish and indigenous wisdom traditions of his time and place.
In them we find a call back into our bodies. An invitation to seek, and rest and act. To wake up and wonder at this interconnected Whole, and to be set ablaze.
Lynn Bauman was a student of this text, and it is his translation and commentary that serve as a primary source for these reflections. Find his work at praxisofprayer.com
Speaking of translation, there are some complexities with this Logion 30. In addition to the translation above, there are a few other possibilities, in part due to the fact that this was one of those logions for which there were shards of Greek text. Bauman offers a few other possible translations, including these two:
(From the Coptic) In the place where there are three divine beings, they are gods. In that place where there are two, or else one, I am there.
(From the Greek) Where there are (two) (or three) they are not without God, and where there is one, I say to you, I am with him. Raise the stone, and there you will find me, split the wood, I am even there.
This Greek text includes these last lines about stone and wood, which some scholars believe to be an emendation of the original.
We’ll likely never know exactly, and what a gift the ambiguity is!
It provides space for wonder. It invites us to ponder the heart, rather than getting lost in literalism.
Here, it seems that the heart is presence and interconnection. That whether we’re together or seemingly alone, we are all intertwined.
We are caught up in the Divine Dance.
And, if you ever forget
if you ever lose your sense of wonder
grab hands with another
and stare into each others eyes
And, if you’re feeling alone
be still and take a breath
then raise up stones and plant a garden
Split wood with the axe
and get found in the grain
in these bodies
in this Earth
these trees — these stones
Here is God | Here We Are
Heart Earth Sun
P.s., Intertwiners are actively mending their bodies and lives by working, slowly and with others, through Resmaa Menakem’s, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending our Hearts and Bodies. If you have not yet engaged in this healing work and would like to, we do have a few remaining copies of Resmaa’s book, and we have a companion practice guide to support folx as they work through the material in self-organized small groups (typically 3–4 people).
Contact us if you’d like help getting started, or if you have insights to share. Thanks!