Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to all of you who sent well wishes and prayers for me. Tonight I feel almost human again and I’ve been told by an on-call nurse that I am no longer contagious, even though I’m still sniffling and sneezing and coughing. Tomorrow I’m going to try half a day at work and see how I do. Poor Miss Rose has had to cover for me too long!
I have spent my sick time reading a couple books that I’ve had for several years but haven’t ever gotten around to reading, or at least to finishing. The first is a book Mark had gotten me for Christmas several years ago called The Lost Gospel: the Quest for the Gospel of Judas Iscariot by Herbert Krosney. About 90% of the book tells the story of the discovery of an ancient papyrus set of books in Egypt and the 20 years from it’s discovery to the time it was finally able to be restored and translated. In that span it suffered from much misuse due to ignorance and greed, even having been stolen once. As a result, by the time it finally made it to a group of experts who knew how to restore it and translate it from Coptic into English, there were pieces irretrievably missing.
The last chapter is the full translation of all the pieces they had and it tells about the short week before Christ’s arrest from Judas Iscariot’s point of view. It’s a gnostic book and many of the concepts are foreign to me, but it boils down to the idea that Judas passed a crucial test by Christ and was therefore taken more into Christ’s confidence than all the rest of the disciples. According to this gospel, Jesus asked Judas to “sacrifice the man that clothes me.” In other words, Jesus asked Judas to turn Him over to His enemies so that He could shed His earthly body. That’s a bit far out for me, but it was an interesting read.
In the same vein, I picked up a book that was copyrighted in 1890 called Apocryphal New Testament. The first number of books in it pertained to, among other things, the virgin birth, Christ’s infancy and childhood (which I’m glad never made it into the Bible because it made Him out to be a spoiled brat who killed anyone that crossed Him), a couple versions of the Apostle’s Creed, and several books that purport to have been by or about Paul. These latter didn’t seem to compare to the Pauline Epistles in the Bible.
About half way through the book, I came across a gem that should have made it into the Bible. It’s called The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. According to the preface, Clement was a disciple of Peter and later became Bishop of Rome. The book is twenty three chapters long. The gist of the book is that the Church in Corinth which had started out so well was being torn apart by a “wicked and detestable sedition, so unbecoming the elect of God, which a few heady and self-willed men have fomented to such a degree of madness, that your venerable and renowned name, so worthy of all men to be beloved, is greatly blasphemed thereby.” Clement spends the rest of the book telling them that rather than pulling apart and behaving in a very un-Christian way, they should look to the example of pious men and women of the past, of nature itself proceeding in the way God created it to proceed without rancor, and to the example of Christ who, though He could have claimed His rightful place over us, yet came in humility even to death.
As I read the book, I saw myself in the behaviors of the Church of Corinth and I was brought to confession and repentance. So much of what I’ve been struggling with for years was spoken to in this book. I realize that I have lost my first love for Christ and a sensitivity of conscience that I had when I was following Him closely. I am not what I try to portray myself as being. I don’t have the ability to become what I ought to be without Christ’s guidance. I can’t even say I’m going to work on this. What I can say is that I need Christ in my life. I need Him to teach me to know Him and to love Him. I need Him to teach me what to do and say rather than spouting off my own thoughts. I don’t want to blaspheme the name of Christ but rather to glorify it. “I believe. Help me with my unbelief.”