25 September 2017



2016
> The Hope of Christmas
> COMPASSION BREAKS DOWN BARRIERS

2015
> Northern Presbytery Moderator Christmas letter
> ANZAC DAWN REFLECTION
> Freedom of Speech or License to Stereotype?

2014
> Advent Hope and Interns
> 200 Years of New Zealand Christmas
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> Giving up for Lent - A Challenge from our Children

2013
> Christmas in the Graveyard
> FAREWELLS
> Mrs Hunters' Tea Party [Hunters Corner named ]
> PERSPECTIVE
> RISKS - HELP US GROW IN FAITH
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> 150years – We are part of this community

2012
> The Gift of Many People - Seven Years On.
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> The Journey to the Cross - An Easter meditation
> Can Jesus Heal Cancer
> CHRISTIAN HERITAGE in PAPATOETOE

2011
> LIGHT ON THE HILL
> LOOKING FORWARD
> GOOD WORDS
> ALCOPOPS and EXCESS DRINKING
> COMPASSION in ACTION
> Christchurch Reports
> Shattered Illusions, Faithful journeys.
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> The Windows, Images of Faith - Opening Day

2010
> THE CITY CAN NEVER BE THE SAME
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2009
> PRAYING FOR THE COMMUNITY
> DATES THAT COULD DESTROY
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> Hunter's Corner - A Dilemma of Publiic Space.
> Easter customs to tell the Story
> Our Mother Tongue God is too Small
> Tragedy at Fox Glacier

2008
> THE BIRTH STORIES OF JESUS
> CONNECTING WITH - FAMILIES IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD
> WELL If you want it Quiet ......
> Finding Pearls
> Of Winter fuel and things
> Disaster and Relief Work
> Prayer on hearing the News
> Conflict of Interest
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2007
> We still keep singing the Christmas carols
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> Travelling
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> Focusing on the task
> Change
> Real Families
> Water - Source of conflict
> Prayer

2006
> Violence and Children
> Faith and Reason
> PEACETIME AND HOPE
> Playdough and PC
> Violence to Children
> Climbing Everest
> Celebrating the Good things
> THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF JUDAS
> Focusing on the Essential
> Living with other Faiths
> SuperVolcanoes and other worrying things

2005
> Advent - Saving the Earth Saving its Peoples
> Halloween - The time of the Saints
> Responding to Terror
> Time of Winter
> Noah - a Story of Conservation
> Off the Tracks
> Moving On and Looking Back
> Tsunami Prayers

2004
> Upside Down Christmas
> From Assembly - Dean Drayton address
> In the Community
> Weaving together the threads
> 150 years of History revisited
> July - Faithfulness
> Getting 150 years in perspective -
> Passion -The Film
> Letter From Niue

2003
> Christmas hope
> Maintenance and Mission
> Annual reports June 2002- June 2003
> Who will come to the Party?
> Time to Change
> Unity is Strength
> Prostitution Laws
> Gone Fishing


Minister's Minutes
April 2006

THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF JUDAS

EXTRA NEWSLETTER
Dear People of St Johns
As the Coptic Gospel of Judas has appeared, just before Easter, in the media, especially in the N Z Herald, Saturday April, 8, 2006, I think it is important to be able to resource you.so you are informed when this comes up in conversation. .
[Note that the Washington Post , has said the most interesting thing about it, is the way it has changed hands and the money that has been paid!] . It is NOT Accepted by the Christian church as part of Scripture and its teachings are NOT the same as the New Testament., . I have included the script so you can judge for yourselves about the content of these texts .

The Coptic Gospel of Judas is one of The Nag Hammadi scripts which have been being released for a long time and are good examples of the angeology and degrees of special knowledge that were and still are part of the gnostic movement.

The characteristics are a denial of Christ's humanity, he only "seemed" to die, that the human body of Christ, was only a clothing that covered his divinity [that is why the early church was at pains to express Christ as totally human -born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate- and totally divine] as I, along with my colleagues, learnt in our studies of the early church and the formation of the creeds.. The gnostics, like the Greeks [in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians “foolishness to the Greeks”] could not accept that God could suffer or be contaminated with things of this earth. The doctrine of the Incarnation of Christ [the being wholly human and that we and this earth could be touched by God‘s own holiness] like us was changed into a docetic belief - [this just means that Jesus seemed to be human]. This belief was rejected in the New Testament writings and obviously is challenged by the how we see the death and resurrection of Christ. The beliefs about angels and light were also part of some of the Jewish sects of the time and some predates the birth of Christ. Paul comments about angels challenging this heirachical Jewish understanding of degrees of angels which was not part of the Hebrew scriptures but which some in the early church were adopting..

I have placed the script into this document for any who want to see it. It is clear why this was rejected by those, who put the canon together along with the other Gnostic documents..
They are, however, helpful contemporary documents of the Early Christian church and the fringes around it. There is some resemblance to our relationship say to the Mormon , the new age movements, and other New Religious movements texts today which have roots in and large crossovers with the Christian teachings In one of last year’s evening events we looked at the gospel of Thomas and the references to Mary Magdalene which could throw light on understanding our New Testament references.

This Good Friday and Easter Sunday we remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus who was one of us in our humanity. Not as the gnostics say, but in our real hurting world God enters into our pain and our suffering and brings us into life which is lasting.
.Margaret Anne Low
HISTORY OF TEH DOCUMENT
The 52 texts discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt include 'secret' gospels poems and myths attributing to Jesus sayings and beliefs which are very different from the New Testament.

In December 1945 an Arab peasant made an astonishing archeological discovery in Upper Egypt.
Thirty years later the discoverer himself, Muhammad 'Alí al-Sammán; told what happened. Shortly before he and his brothers avenged their father's murder in a blood feud, they had saddled their camels and gone out to the Jabal to dig for sabakh, a soft soil they used to fertilize their crops. Digging around a massive boulder, they hit a red earthenware jar, almost a meter high. Muhammad 'Alí hesitated to break the jar, considering that a jinn, or spirit, might live inside. But realizing that it might also contain gold, he raised his mattock, smashed the jar, and discovered inside thirteen papyrus books, bound in leather. Returning to his home in al-Qasr, Muhammad 'All dumped the books and loose papyrus leaves on the straw piled on the ground next to the oven. Muhammad's mother, 'Umm-Ahmad, admits that she burned much of the papyrus in the oven along with the straw she used to kindle the fire.

A few weeks later, as Muhammad 'Alí tells it, he and his brothers avenged their father's death by murdering Ahmed Isma'il. Fearing that the police investigating the murder would search his house and discover the books, Muhammad 'Alí asked the priest, al-Qummus Basiliyus Abd al-Masih, to keep one or more for him. During the time that Muhammad 'Alí and his brothers were being interrogated for murder, Raghib, a local history teacher, had seen one of the books, and suspected that it had value. Having received one from al-Qummus Basiliyus, Raghib sent it to a friend in Cairo to find out its worth.

Sold on the black market through antiquities dealers in Cairo, the manuscripts soon attracted the attention of officials of the Egyptian government. Through circumstances of high drama, as we shall see, they bought one and confiscated ten and a half of the thirteen leather-bound books, called codices, and deposited them in the Coptic Museum in Cairo. But a large part of the thirteenth codex, containing five extraordinary texts, was smuggled out of Egypt and offered for sale in America. Word of this codex soon reached Professor Gilles Quispel, distinguished historian of religion at Utrecht, in the Netherlands. He urged the Jung Foundation in Zurich to buy the codex. But discovering, that some pages were missing, he flew to Egypt in 1955 to try to find them in the Coptic Museum. Arriving in Cairo, he went at once to the Coptic Museum.
Tracing out the first line, Quispel was startled, then to read: "These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke, and which the twin, Judas Thomas, wrote down." Quispel knew that his colleague H.C. Puech, using notes from another French scholar, Jean Doresse, had identified the opening lines with fragments of a Greek Gospel of Thomas discovered in the 1890's.
……………….
What Muhammad 'Alí discovered at Nag Hammadi, it soon became clear, were Coptic translations, made about 1,500 years ago, of still more ancient manuscripts. The originals themselves had been written in Greek, the language of the New Testament:. Part of one of them had been discovered by archeologists about fifty years earlier, when they found a few fragments of the original Greek version of the Gospel of Thomas.

About the dating of the manuscripts themselves there is little debate. Examination of the datable papyrus used to thicken the leather bindings, and of the Coptic script, place them c. A.D. 350-400. But scholars sharply disagree about thow early is he dating of the original texts. ………...
Edited from The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels Vintage Books, New York: 1979 pp. xiii-xxiii
THE GNOSTIC TEXT
English Translation
This is the text placed online at the New York Times site. It was originally referred to as an extract.
THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS
Translated by Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer, and Gregor Wurst, in collaboration with François Gaudard
INTRODUCTION: INCIPIT
The secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week three days before he celebrated Passover.
THE EARTHLY MINISTRY OF JESUS
When Jesus appeared on earth, he performed miracles and great wonders for the salvation of humanity. And since some [walked] in the way of righteousness while others walked in their transgressions, the twelve disciples were called.
He began to speak with them about the mysteries beyond the world and what would take place at the end. Often he did not appear to his disciples as himself, but he was found among them as a child.
SCENE 1: Jesus dialogues with his disciples: The prayer of thanksgiving or the eucharist
One day he was with his disciples in Judea, and he found them gathered together and seated in pious observance. When he [approached] his disciples, [34] gathered together and seated and offering a prayer of thanksgiving over the bread, [he] laughed.
The disciples said to [him], “Master, why are you laughing at [our] prayer of thanksgiving? We have done what is right.”
He answered and said to them, “I am not laughing at you. are not doing this because of your own will but because it is through this that your god [will be] praised.”
They said, “Master, you are […] the son of our god.”
Jesus said to them, “How do you know me? Truly [I] say to you, no generation of the people that are among you will know me.”
THE DISCIPLES BECOME ANGRY
When his disciples heard this, they started getting angry and infuriated and began blaspheming against him in their hearts.
When Jesus observed their lack of [understanding, he said] to them, “Why has this agitation led you to anger? Your god who is within you and […] [35] have provoked you to anger [within] your souls. [Let] any one of you who is [strong enough] among human beings bring out the perfect human and stand before my face.”
They all said, “We have the strength.”
But their spirits did not dare to stand before [him], except for Judas Iscariot. He was able to stand before him, but he could not look him in the eyes, and he turned his face away.
Judas [said] to him, “I know who you are and where you have come from. You are from the immortal realm of Barbelo. And I am not worthy to utter the name of the one who has sent you.”
JESUS SPEAKS TO JUDAS PRIVATELY
Knowing that Judas was reflecting upon something that was exalted, Jesus said to him, “Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom. It is possible for you to reach it, but you will grieve a great deal. [36] For someone else will replace you, in order that the twelve [disciples] may again come to completion with their god.”
Judas said to him, “When will you tell me these things, and [when] will the great day of light dawn for the generation?”
But when he said this, Jesus left him.
SCENE 2: Jesus appears to the disciples again
The next morning, after this happened, Jesus [appeared] to his disciples again.
They said to him, “Master, where did you go and what did you do when you left us?”
Jesus said to them, “I went to another great and holy generation.”
His disciples said to him, “Lord, what is the great generation that is superior to us and holier than us, that is not now in these realms?”
When Jesus heard this, he laughed and said to them, “Why are you thinking in your hearts about the strong and holy generation? [37] Truly [I] say to you, no one born [of] this aeon will see that [generation], and no host of angels of the stars will rule over that generation, and no person of mortal birth can associate with it, because that generation does not come from […] which has become […]. The generation of people among [you] is from the generation of humanity […] power, which [… the] other powers […] by [which] you rule.”
When [his] disciples heard this, they each were troubled in spirit. They could not say a word.
Another day Jesus came up to [them]. They said to [him], “Master, we have seen you in a [vision], for we have had great [dreams …] night […].”
[He said], “Why have [you … when] have gone into hiding?” [38]
THE DISCIPLES SEE THE TEMPLE AND DISCUSS IT
They [said, “We have seen] a great [house with a large] altar [in it, and] twelve men—they are the priests, we would say—and a name; and a crowd of people is waiting at that altar, [until] the priests [… and receive] the offerings. [But] we kept waiting.”
[Jesus said], “What are [the priests] like?”
They [said, “Some …] two weeks; [some] sacrifice their own children, others their wives, in praise [and] humility with each other; some sleep with men; some are involved in [slaughter]; some commit a multitude of sins and deeds of lawlessness. And the men who stand [before] the altar invoke your [name], [39] and in all the deeds of their deficiency, the sacrifices are brought to completion […].”
After they said this, they were quiet, for they were troubled.
JESUS OFFERS AN ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE VISION OF THE TEMPLE
Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled? Truly I say to you, all the priests who stand before that altar invoke my name. Again I say to you, my name has been written on this […] of the generations of the stars through the human generations. [And they] have planted trees without fruit, in my name, in a shameful manner.”
Jesus said to them, “Those you have seen receiving the offerings at the altar—that is who you are. That is the god you serve, and you are those twelve men you have seen. The cattle you have seen brought for sacrifice are the many people you lead astray [40] before that altar. […] will stand and make use of my name in this way, and generations of the pious will remain loyal to him. After hi another man will stand there from [the fornicators], and another [will] stand there from the slayers of children, and another from those who sleep with men, and those who abstain, and the rest of the people of pollution and lawlessness and error, and those who say, ‘We are like angels’; they are the stars that bring everything to its conclusion. For to the human generations it has been said, ‘Look, God has received your sacrifice from the hands of a priest’—that is, a minister of error.
But it is the Lord, the Lord of the universe, who commands, ‘On the last day they will be put to shame.’” [41]
Jesus said [to them], “Stop sac[rificing …] which you have […] over the altar, since they are over your stars and your angels and have already come to their conclusion there. So let them be [ensnared] before you, and let them go [—about 15 lines missing—] generations […]. A baker cannot feed all creation [42] under [heaven]. And […] to them […] and […] to us and […].
Jesus said to them, “Stop struggling with me. Each of you has his own star, and every[body—about 17 lines missing—] [43] in […] who has come [… spring] for the tree […] of this aeon […] for a time […] but he has come to water God’s paradise, and the [generation] that will last, because [he] will not defile the [walk of life of] that generation, but […] for all eternity.”
JUDAS ASKS JESUS ABOUT THAT GENERATION AND HUMAN GENERATIONS
Judas said to [him, “Rabb]i, what kind of fruit does this generation produce?”
Jesus said, “The souls of every human generation will die. When these people, however, have completed the time of the kingdom and the spirit leaves them, their bodies will die but their souls will be alive, and they will be taken up.”
Judas said, “And what will the rest of the human generations do?”
Jesus said, “It is impossible [44] to sow seed on [rock] and harvest its fruit. [This] is also the way […] the [defiled] generation […] and corruptible Sophia […] the hand that has created mortal people, so that their souls go up to the eternal realms above. [Truly] I say to you, […] angel […] power will be able to see that […] these to whom […] holy generations […].”
After Jesus said this, he departed.
SCENE 3: Judas recounts a vision and Jesus responds
Judas said, “Master, as you have listened to all of them, now also listen to me. For I have seen a great vision.”
When Jesus heard this, he laughed and said to him, “You thirteenth spirit, why do you try so hard? But speak up, and I shall bear with you.”
Judas said to him, “In the vision I saw myself as the twelve disciples were stoning me and [45] persecuting [me severely]. And I also came to the place where […] after you. I saw [a house …], and my eyes could not [comprehend] its size. Great people were surrounding it, and that house a roof of greenery, and in the middle of the house was [a crowd—two lines missing—], saying, ‘Master, take me in along with these people.’”
[Jesus] answered and said, “Judas, your star has led you astray.” He continued, “No person of mortal birth is worthy to enter the house you have seen, for that place is reserved for the holy. Neither the sun nor the moon will rule there, nor the day, but the holy will abide there always, in the eternal realm with the holy angels. Look, I have explained to you the mysteries of the kingdom [46] and I have taught you about the error of the stars; and […] send it […] on the twelve aeons.”
JUDAS ASKS ABOUT HIS OWN FATE
Judas said, “Master, could it be that my seed is under the control of the rulers?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Come, that I [—two lines missing—], but that you will grieve much when you see the kingdom and all its generation.”
When he heard this, Judas said to him, “What good is it that I have received it? For you have set me apart for that generation.”
Jesus answered and said, “You will become the thirteenth, and you will be cursed by the other generations—and you will come to rule over them. In the last days they will curse your ascent [47] to the holy TEACHES JUDAS ABOUT COSMOLOGY: THE SPIRIT AND THE SELF-GENERATED
Jesus said, “[Come], that I may teach you about [secrets] no person [has] ever seen. For there exists a great and boundless realm, whose extent no generation of angels has seen, [in which] there is [a] great invisible [Spirit], which no eye of an angel has ever seen, no thought of the heart has ever comprehended, and it was never called by any name.
“And a luminous cloud appeared there. He said, ‘Let an angel come into being as my attendant.’
“A great angel, the enlightened divine Self-Generated, emerged from the cloud. Because of him, four other angels came into being from another cloud, and they became attendants for the angelic Self-Generated. The Self-Generated said, [48] ‘Let […] come into being […],’ and it came into being […]. And he [created] the first luminary to reign over him. He said, ‘Let angels come into being to serve [him],’ and myriads without number came into being. He said, ‘[Let] an enlightened aeon come into being,’ and he came into being. He created the second luminary [to] reign over him, together with myriads of angels without number, to offer service. That is how he created the rest of the enlightened aeons. He made them reign over them, and he created for them myriads of angels without number, to assist them.
ADAMAS AND THE LUMINARIES
“Adamas was in the first luminous cloud that no angel has ever seen among all those called ‘God.’ He [49] […] that […] the image […] and after the likeness of [this] angel. He made the incorruptible [generation] of Seth appear […] the twelve […] the twentyfour […]. He made seventy-two luminaries appear in the incorruptible generation, in accordance with the will of the Spirit. The seventy-two luminaries themselves made three hundred sixty luminaries appear in the incorruptible generation, in accordance with the will of the Spirit, that their number should be five for each.
“The twelve aeons of the twelve luminaries constitute their father, with six heavens for each aeon, so that there are seventy-two heavens for the seventy-two luminaries, and for each [50] [of them five] firmaments, [for a total of] three hundred sixty [firmaments …]. They were given authority and a [great] host of angels [without number], for glory and adoration, [and after that also] virgin spirits, for glory and [adoration] of all the aeons and the heavens and their firmaments.
THE COSMOS, CHAOS, AND THE UNDERWORLD
“The multitude of those immortals is called the cosmos— that is, perdition—by the Father and the seventy-two luminaries who are with the Self-Generated and his seventytwo aeons. In him the first human appeared with his incorruptible powers. And the aeon that appeared with his generation, the aeon in whom are the cloud of knowledge and the angel, is called [51] El. […] aeon […] after that […] said, ‘Let twelve angels come into being [to] rule over chaos and the [underworld].’ And look, from the cloud there appeared an [angel] whose face flashed with fire and whose appearance was defiled with blood. His name was Nebro, which means ‘rebel’; others call him Yaldabaoth. Another angel, Saklas, also came from the cloud. So Nebro created six angels—as well as Saklas—to be assistants, and these produced twelve angels in the heavens, with each one receiving a portion in the heavens.
THE RULERS AND ANGELS
“The twelve rulers spoke with the twelve angels: ‘Let each of you [52] […] and let them […] generation [—one line lost—] angels’: The first is [S]eth, who is called Christ.
The [second] is Harmathoth, who is […].
The [third] is Galila.
The fourth is Yobel.
The fifth [is] Adonaios.
These are the five who ruled over the underworld, and first of all over chaos.
THE CREATION OF HUMANITY
“Then Saklas said to his angels, ‘Let us create a human being after the likeness and after the image.’ They fashioned Adam and his wife Eve, who is called, in the cloud, Zoe. For by this name all the generations seek the man, and each of them calls the woman by these names. Now, Sakla did not [53] com[mand …] except […] the gene[rations …] this […]. And the [ruler] said to Adam, ‘You shall live long, with your children.’”
JUDAS ASKS ABOUT THE DESTINY OF ADAM AND HUMANITY
Judas said to Jesus, “[What] is the long duration of time that the human being will live?”
Jesus said, “Why are you wondering about this, that Adam, with his generation, has lived his span of life in the place where he has received his kingdom, with longevity with his ruler?”
Judas said to Jesus, “Does the human spirit die?”
Jesus said, “This is why God ordered Michael to give the spirits of people to them as a loan, so that they might offer service, but the Great One ordered Gabriel to grant spirits to the great generation with no ruler over it—that is, the spirit and the soul. Therefore, the [rest] of the souls [54] [—one line missing—].
JESUS DISCUSSES THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WICKED WITH JUDAS AND OTHERS
“[…] light [—nearly two lines missing—] around […] let […] spirit [that is] within you dwell in this [flesh] among the generations of angels. But God caused knowledge to be [given] to Adam and those with him, so that the kings of chaos and the underworld might not lord it over them.”
Judas said to Jesus, “So what will those generations do?”
Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, for all of them the stars bring matters to completion. When Saklas completes the span of time assigned for him, their first star will appear with the generations, and they will finish what they said they would do. Then they will fornicate in my name and slay their children [55] and they will […] and [—about six and a half lines missing—] my name, and he will […] your star over the [thir]teenth aeon.”
After that Jesus [laughed].
[Judas said], “Master, [why are you laughing at us]?”
[Jesus] answered [and said], “I am not laughing [at you] but at the error of the stars, because these six stars wander about with these five combatants, and they all will be destroyed along with their creatures.”
JESUS SPEAKS OF THOSE WHO ARE BAPTIZED, AND JUDAS’S BETRAYAL
Judas said to Jesus, “Look, what will those who have been baptized in your name do?”
Jesus said, “Truly I say [to you], this baptism [56] […] my name [—about nine lines missing—] to me. Truly [I] say to you, Judas, [those who] offer sacrifices to Saklas […] God [—three lines missing—] everything that is evil.
“But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me. Already your horn has been raised, your wrath has been kindled, your star has shown brightly, and your heart has […]. [57]
“Truly […] your last […] become [—about two and a half lines missing—], grieve [—about two lines missing—] the ruler, since he will be destroyed. And then the image of the great generation of Adam will be exalted, for prior to heaven, earth, and the angels, that generation, which is from the eternal realms, exists. Look, you have been told everything. Lift up your eyes and look at the cloud and the light within it and the stars surrounding it. The star that leads the way is your star.”
Judas lifted up his eyes and saw the luminous cloud, and he entered it. Those standing on the ground heard a voice coming from the cloud, saying, [58] […] great generation […] … image […] [—about five lines missing—].

CONCLUSION: JUDAS BETRAYS JESUS
[…] Their high priests murmured because [he] had gone into the guest room for his prayer. But some scribes were there watching carefully in order to arrest him during the prayer, for they were afraid of the people, since he was regarded by all as a prophet. They approached Judas and said to him, “What are you doing here? You are Jesus’ disciple.”
Judas answered them as they wished. And he received some money and handed him over to them.
THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS


Rev. Margaret Anne Low

 


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