Thomasine Liturgy (Rite I)
The Thomasine Liturgy (Rite I)
The Thomasine liturgy is different from those in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Anglican traditions. It has a decidedly Vedantic flavor, as Thomas was martyred in India, coupled with this gospel sharing strong similarities to Hindu Vedanta and Buddhism.
The altar is set up low to the ground or coffee table height. The altar may be covered with a white cloth. On the altar should be set up icons or images of Jesus and the Holy Spirit/Sophia. The Father is represented by a candle. The candle should be unlit until the beginning of the liturgy. Unlit incense, a bell, and Eucharistic wine and bread (if priest is present)will also be on the altar.
People sit in silence for a few seconds. The leader lights the candle and says:
Jesus said, "If they say to you, 'Where did you come from?', say to them, 'We came from the light, and the place where the light came into being by itself and established itself and became manifest through their image.' " (Gospel of Thomas 50a)
(The Gayatri Mantra may be chanted nine times, followed by this English translation after the nine times: Let us meditate upon that Supreme Effulgence who vivifies and awakens the whole world. May that one awaken and stimulate our spiritual insight. OM Shanti Shanti Shanti..peace, peace, peace.)
The incense is then lit and offered to the images and icons while the bell is rung, while saying one time: Let my prayer rise to you like incense.
At this point hymns or chants may be sung.
The leader then reads a saying from The Gospel of Thomas three times. All sit in silence meditating on the passage for a number of minutes. If people receive insights into the passage, impressions from the Lord or spiritual gifts during this time of silence they may share them as needed. However it should be noted that this time is not a time for discussion. They listen to the message, and are free to seek to meditate on it or let it go.
The time of passage meditation ends with the bell being rung slowly three times. The leader may then offer a short reflection, followed by discussion on the passage that was read.
If the Eucharist is not being celebrated, the leader says: We are sparks from the loving flame of God. When we realize that we are ALL sons and daughters of God, we then can see that same Divine Spark in all people and all creation, loving and serving them as God in love. Go in peace. Amen, Amen and Amen.
If the Eucharist is being celebrated by a priest, the celebrant says: The living Jesus, loved all people. He saw in us and indeed all humanity that spark of light within them. He embodied the Holy Spirit so profoundly that when we look at him, we see the light of God. He calls us to be his twin...we are the sons of God, the daughters of God. Nothing can change that. Seeing that blessed light in all people, he loved the outcast, the addicted, the sick, those who were lost in so many ways. The way of Jesus is not popular with the world. In fact it was this vision of love for those in the margins that led to his crucifixion. But God would have the final word and raised him up again. So it is with our brother Jesus, that we share in this meal of life, experiencing union with God with the living Jesus.
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus took bread, broke it saying, “Take eat, all of you, this is my body given up for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
He then took the cup and said, Take drink, all of you, this is my blood, the blood of the new and unending covenant which shall be for forgiveness for the ways we have missed the mark. Do this in remembrance of me.
The man of light, our brother, Jesus, loved even unto his own death, loving Father. Send your spirit into these gifts that we may allow our light of gnosis to shine, no matter the cost. May this light enlighten the whole world.
The pleroma (or fullness) has entered kenoma (or world of forms)!
The kingdom of God has entered ever changing world of forms!
People receive the Eucharist.
Priest says: We are sparks from the loving flame of God. When we realize that we are ALL sons and daughters of God, we then can see that same Divine Spark in all people and all creation, loving and serving them as God, in love. Go in peace. Amen, Amen and Amen.