Gospel of Thomas

Essay for the Master of the Gospel of Thomas Course
Reverend Sharon J. Mayer
Reverend Raymond Thompson used personal touches and interests to enhance the study of The Gospel of Thomas. His insightful studies of the course information make for interesting reading and leads one to further study of the subject matter.  The course is very interesting and thought provoking. I am not sure I agree with all of the course materials but will certainly hold Reverend Thompson’s thoughts in mind during any further study of the subject. As each of us learn based on our own lives, interests, and understanding a good lively debate will help with the study of any subject.
It is not known exactly when the Gospel of Thomas was first written and there is debate as to whether or not it was the basis of the known Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John or if they were the basis of the Gospel of Thomas. Considering that most of the early history of the teaching of Jesus would have been verbally passed along no one is really sure of the exact dates of any of the books of the known Bible. In the Book of Acts it was said that anyone teaching about Jesus should be someone who had walked with him and had personal knowledge of his teachings. As time when on most of those who had walked with him were scattered or had been killed and others who heard the information took up the teaching. Many different versions of what was said or taught were later written down. Keeping in mind that what is said is sometimes not what is heard or written down much later it is so important to find an early text to back up information and teachings.
The text was a Coptic translation from Greek and other fragments of the text have been found in other areas than the one found near Nag Hammadi so it is known that the Greek version was used in Egypt as early as the second century. It is thought that the saying of Jesus in The Gospel of Thomas are in a more traditional form that the known gospels. They also show a Gnostic point of view of what Jesus was saying and teaching as apposed to the known gospel teaching to the different cultures. It is interesting that the Gospel of Thomas was the only complete text found at Nag Hammadi. We often hear that when we are ready the truth will appear and if indeed these are the lost and “secret” saying of Jesus maybe there were to be found intact at that particular time and place to advance knowledge
So what was the text not added to the known Bible? There were multiple texts available when the church decided to consolidate according to Cannon and the books chosen were those that most reflected the thoughts of the Church Fathers of the time. With so many ideas of what was actually taught and what was to be the final teaching of the Church many writing were left out of the Bible. Many were considered too controversial to be added to the core of the church teaching. In the Coptic Gospel of Thomas there is no narrative of the passion which was the core teaching of the church. The writer was not interested in the death or resurrection of Jesus, but consolidates the sayings and states understanding of the words would lead to eternal life.  Since the church teaching was based on the death and resurrection the text did not fit into the ideas the church wanted to have as part of the Bible.  
I am sure that when each of the 114 sayings is read by  people with different backgrounds and walks along the path of knowledge there will be many perspectives of what is being read and the level of understanding will vary greatly.  Not all of us have had the encounters that Reverend Thompson experienced on his path.
Using the information given in the course and going forward will give a good grounding on what was in the text as found in Egypt. I am so very glad that all of the texts were not burned or lost to collectors and can be shared by those seeking knowledge of the early instructions given to believers. As saying one states: “Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death.”
Additional reference material from my personal library used for course;
The Nag Hammadi Library; Revised addition. James M. Robinson, General Editor, copyright 1988
The Nostic Bible, Gnostic Texts of Mystical Wisdom from the Ancient and Medieval Worlds; Edited by Willis Barstone and Marvin Meyer, copyright 2003
Lost Christianities The Battles for Scriptures and the Faiths We Never Knew; Bart D. Ehrman, copyright 2003
Lost Scriptures Books that Did Not Make it into the New Testament; Bart D. Ehrman, copyright 2003.  Bart D. Ehrman chairs the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is considered an authority on the early Church and the life of Jesus.
The Secret Teaching of Jesus, Four Gnostic Gospels, Translated and with an Introduction and Notes by Marvin W. Meyer, copyright 1984

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The  ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers and lots of free online sermons for your use. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I’ve been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.
 
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Druidism

Druidism at ULC Seminary
Druidism Course
The Master of Druidism has proven to be a valuable course for learning the most possible about this great and ancient religion of the Druids. The course was fascinating and very valuable. I highly recommend that anyone interested in learning about the Druids both ancient and modern take this course.
Even though most of what we know about the Druids is from the writings of the Romans and the Greeks, due to the fact the Druids did not record their history in writing, this course really gives us great insight into the modern practice of Druidism and incorporates the aspect of the ancient Druids as best as any one could do. This ancient religion is one of the most fascinating religions of the Gaul and Celtic People’s and one that I am glad is being carried on today by modern Druids.
Again, I cannot stress enough how excellent this course has been and the information gained through it is invaluable. Please, I encourage all of you, to take the course and learn all you can about the Druids. I hope you do and I hope you find it as fascinating and satisfying as I did.
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Sincerely,
Judge Edward Singleton
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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more.

Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.

The  ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I’ve been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.


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As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

ULC Monastery Not Affiliated with headquarters

CHANGES AT THE UNIVERSAL LIFE CHURCH
ULCUniversal Life Church & Online Seminary This is an important announcement regarding some changes that have been happening at the Universal Life Church.
For additional, independent verification of what’s going on, click Monastery.
As some of you are aware, the ulc.org site has changed hands. Due to a series of unconfirmed circumstances, there was an abrupt change of leadership and ownership of the ulc.org domain name and site. It is currently in the control of George Freeman and his associates, currently signing the site as ‘Br. Martin’. The circumstances of this change are in dispute among the parties. With the announcement going out, I felt it necessary to add a page to the Seminary site to let people know what’s going on.
For many years, the ulc.org site was owned by Daniel Zimmerman. Many of you have had dealings with him and have formed your own opinions as to his honesty and integrity. Until recently, the ulc.org site (known as The Monastery) was an authorized site affiliated with headquarters.
As of August 1, 2006, that is no longer the case. From that point on, if you were ordained at the ulc.org site, your ordination was not sent to headquarters, nor were you recorded as being a legal minister with the Universal Life Church. If you have any links on your own website to the ulc.org site, I strongly urge you to change the links to www.ulcseminary.org, or to headquarters, to avoid sending anyone to a site that might confuse people as to its true intentions.
The new site still implies a connection between them and ULC Headquarters in Modesto, but no such affiliation exists. We fear this is going to be causing a lot of confusion and misunderstandings among the ministers of the ULC and we hope that, over time, word will spread and those who wish to affiliate with the ULC will steer clear. I believe that Andre Hensley, at headquarters, will be issuing (or may have already issued) a press release, Wikipedia has been changed, and the word is spreading.
Any products you purchase from that site do not have the sanction of headquarters, nor the blessing of the Bureau for Private Post-secondary and Vocational Education, so proceed with that awareness.
If you are worried in any way that your ordination is in question, please re-ordain yourself on this site or at headquarters directly. Only those ordinations done after Aug. 1st, 2006, on the ulc.org site are in question. To affiliate yourself with this site, please make sure you are signed up to receive the newsletter so you will be kept abreast of everything happening with the ulc.
I hope this answers your questions. If you have any others, please feel free to ask me at amy@ulcseminary.org.

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Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church
As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

Druidry by REVEREND KURT FONDRIEST

DRUID LESSON
BY
REVEREND KURT FONDRIEST
     The lessons on Druidism were  a reawakening or reaffirming belief on this path called life. I took the class first of all for several reasons. As a visual artist much of my paintings revolve around our relationship with a spiritual landscape which includes the symbol of the tree. This symbol is a strong image of personal empowerment for me.  I grew up in a small town in rural Ohio. Here is where I discovered my creativity.  I would sit for  hours under the mighty pine, oak or maple and draw my natural surroundings. It was while under these natural cathedrals I committed in furthering my education as an artist.
     I left my small town for the big city “Chicago”where I pursued my dream of becoming an artist. I earned my B.F.A, M.F.A. in fine arts and art therapy. I have been a practicing artist and art therapist for over 30 years. The image of the tree also has meaning as a symbol of my health. I live with a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia. I see the tree as a image of resiliency.  Trees can withstand the most severe weather , they can grow around any obstacle , in essence they are a visual lesson for our souls to grow from.
     In several of these lessons the book ” Druid Magic” by Maya Magee Sutton PH.D and Nicholas R. Mann was referenced. I found the book on Amazon for 95 cents. The wealth of information is priceless. I have it amongst my other earthen spirituality books that I re-read quite often. 
It refers to the druid as artist, poet, teacher and counselor just to name a few, however these are all aspects of myself.  I connected with this and used the book as a reference point with the assignments from the course. This only strengthened my basic connection that I have had all along my life, that I was or am a druid.
     Now what is a druid?  My understanding from  the assignments and book  is that a Druid is one who is in search of the universal truth and lives by this truth.  This for me is a reflection of how I try to live my life. The universal truth is an awakening to one self that all of creation is following many Individualized paths to discover this enlightenment.  When I paint the image of the tree it is very significant to my own sense of spiritual symbolism. I remember how the assignments referred to the druid arts. These forms of natural self expression is what I found to strengthen my own earthen aesthetics. This to me is what enables me to rekindle my sense of the essence of my own creation and how I continue to relate to its continued evolution.


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Metaphysical Healing

Master of Metaphysical Healing Essay
In taking this course in Master of Metaphysical Healing I quickly realized that it put my own faith, knowledge and beliefs to the test. This course has asked some very compelling questions and demands of me and although my answers may be only my perception, I will try and answer them in my final essay to the best of my honesty, belief and my own personal experiences.
As I have been blessed with my own successful practice for that past two years as a Spiritualist, conducting Angelic Readings, providing Spiritual Guidance, Past Life Regression as well as performing as a proven medium, I could have never dreamed there was so much more to learn. I became curious to the realms of Metaphysical Healing a few years ago when my daughter became violently ill due to a surgery she had replacing parts of her knee with a cadaver donor part. As I was sitting in on the consultation between her and her doctor I became extremely uncomfortable with the idea of her allowing them to place a stranger’s body part inside of her own body. As she was 18 and legally able to make her own decisions I pleaded my concerns to her but she didn’t want them to take her own parts from the back of her knee to replace what she needed as the healing process would be longer and more painful.
I asked the doctor if I could clear and bless the cadaver body parts. He could not allow this so I projected my healing and clearing light on the day of her surgery to the actual surgery room. As she lay there, waiting for them to come and get her, I had a sudden need to place my hands over my daughters head and as I did, I realized I was asking for permission and protection through the divine light of God. She became very relaxed and peaceful. She accredited this simply to a mother’s touch. I accredited this to – I had no clue what was going on but I felt a surge of love and strength flow through my hands as I thanked God for allowing my hands to be the conductor of this peace and serenity.
Two days after her surgery she became violently ill. She was vomiting and had a fever of 104. I rushed her to the hospital and they said she could possibly be trying to reject the cadaver parts or had contacted an infection. I was fear stricken. She was so very sick and incoherent. When the nurses left the room I walked behind the head of her bed and stood over her. I spoke in a whisper and told her if she could hear me to relax. I then told her I was going to ask God for his grace to heal her. I placed my hands over the crown of her head and then I moved my right hand down to her chest with my left hand on her head.
(I am right handed.) I somehow had a knowing of this infection. I asked for this infection to leave her body.
I asked for healing light to surge through her body taking the infection through my right hand and then allowing it to flow through me to my left hand and out through the crown of her head. I acknowledged that I was aware that I was simply a tool being used for this healing and that I would trust and accept whatever the outcome. I placed my trust completely within the divine and healing light of God.
Within about 15 minutes, she became wide awake and wanted to sit up. I told her to relax as I needed to clear myself of this infection. With her eyes still closed she asked,”Mom, what did you do?”
“I’m not sure,” I said, but I think I just conducted a healing. Her fever broke and she had no more nausea. When the nurses came in they said she probably just had a reaction to the anesthesia. They offered her juice but she was craving water. We went home an hour later. That was lesson one for me.
I ordered this course to learn what had happened to us that day. I wanted to learn what I had done that day and how I had done it. And then – during this course – another opportunity presented itself. This time it was my 30 year old son.
I was on Lesson 17 when we got a call from my daughter in law telling us that our son who is a bread man could not drive home and that he was experiencing terrible dizziness and numbness in his arms. She was going to pick him up from work and take him directly to the hospital as he was having symptoms of a heart attack. We met her at the hospital to pick up our grandchildren and went home. After they examined him they sent him home with a diagnosis of vertigo. He simply needed rest.
We took the kids home that night and I walked into my son’s bedroom and lay down next to him on the bed. I placed my right hand on his chest as he was sleeping and had a knowing instantly that they had missed something. I knew it wasn’t his heart. I trusted my reading capabilities but now needed to put my class knowledge to the test. I asked for permission to come into his space and as I received that permission I instantly felt a vibration from his stomach. I felt it looked like a yellow starburst, like a small sunshine in his stomach. I asked him if he had a stomach ache. He said no. and then – just as if someone had taken me by the face and screamed at me I knew he had a block in his stomach. I could see it. It made no sense to me at all as to why this would cause vertigo but I made him promise to ask our family doctor the next day to check his stomach. Our family doctor has known me for over twenty years and he is aware of what I do for a living. He doesn’t understand it – but I knew he would listen.
So, the next day, I was reading over my lessons beginning with lesson one making sure I of what I should be doing as my son was at the doctor and our doctor gave him the old once over and told him that vertigo was quite common and to take some time off. That is when my daughter in law told him that I wanted him to check my son’s stomach. Our doctor asked if I said this specifically and my daughter in law told him yes. Reluctantly, he asked my son to lie down on the table and my son was a bit embarrassed as he said you are kidding right? Our doctor simply told him that if he didn’t check his stomach that he would never hear the end of it from me.
So as he listened with a stethoscope for about three minutes, he then pressed on my sons stomach and he about came off of the table. Our doctor then turned and slammed his hand on the wall and exclaimed, “How does she do that?!!! He has a hernia!”
My daughter in law then whispered to him that I have a knowing. He exclaimed that I was a crack pot – but that I was a correct crackpot.
My son had a hernia that was about to burst and yes this will cause vertigo. And this was lesson two of many for me.
I have gone over my lessons in this class many times. I can not possibly retain all of the terms I need to remember as I use this wonderful class as a tool. I have conducted healing sessions in my session’s room and they have been successful although they have been very light healing such as a broken heart etc. Baby steps, but I don’t mind at all. I have printed out all of my lessons and I use it as my text book. And each and every time I read it I learn and retain something new.
This is a fascinating course and although I can not recite all I have learned verbatim, my hopes are that some day I will. However, my knowing of what and how to heal is there. I have learned how to identify and ground myself to listen.
It is my belief that terminal conditions do in fact exist and I think that we do have to acknowledge these diagnoses as the proof is in the pudding so to speak – however – we do not have to accept it. In other words, this diagnosis is true in that tests have revealed it is so and if this is our spiritual path out of this existence then so be it – but what if it isn’t? What if this is simply a plight or lesson for us at this time in our life – perhaps a test of faith if you will? If this is so, then I truly do believe this is where spiritual healing comes in. What do we have to lose?
Spiritual Healing in my opinion is all in the eyes of the beholder. Yes, I am aware that some do believe it is the work of the devil – whoever he is? I do all of my work within the divine light of God therefore – the devil as he is called – has no existence in my realm of healing. I have no space for him. He too – is in the perception of the beholder. I call upon God and my angels for healing, guidance and wisdom.
When I am asked if this treatment will cause pain and how does it work, I simply say, it has been my experience that spiritual healing causes no physical pain. As I am a practicing spiritualist I have only had the experience of observing emotional pain. Lots of tears flow in my session’s room and I believe that to be the body’s way of clearing emotional toxins from within one’s self. Not to worry, most healers have lots of hugs and tissues.
I do not believe that any one person has to believe in any thing or any one that you do not want to believe in, in order to be healed. However, it is more than obvious that they do believe that an illness exists inside of them, therefore, they do have a belief in some thing. That is key. It doesn’t matter what you yourself believe as much as it matters that you believe in something. I, myself believe in the divine light of healing and I can call upon my own belief to heal through my knowledge of my lessons learned through this course, faith, love and the divine light of God. I, myself allow my client to choose the ambiance they prefer to conduct our sessions, therefore, if they want candles and a darker setting – so it will be – and if they don’t – then we wont. I created my session’s room for the privacy and comfort of my clients. I can read and heal in a garage if need be. Confidentiality and complete serenity has been beautifully created for my clients comfort and privacy and they, themselves, choose what that environment will be.
As I believe that we are all here for a reason, the healers who have prescribed other treatments have done so for a reason. That reason is based upon past experience and history of possible recovery. Therefore, I am not one to criticize another healer whether they be a surgeon or doctor or???? A client’s treatment is a personal decision that only they can make. Sadly, I can not guarantee a cure, however, what I can offer is my gift of the belief that I can call upon a higher power to allow me to help and try to heal along with other healers and my fee is based upon what they can afford. It has been my experience that when we make this about money, then we take away from the true gift. Someone else who can afford it – will pay it forward. This has always been my belief and the way I conduct my sessions. Through the healing energy I have called upon based upon my faith.
The most precious gift we are given here in this place is time. That is our only risk.
Thank you for this most enlightening class that I will be studying for many years to come.
Many Blessings in Light and Love,
Marti Tote
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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.
As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

Spirit Quest

The Spirit-Quest Discourse is an excellent course for either beginners or those who are more advanced. I found this course an excellent refresher course, with new insights that I had not thought of before. I can not say that it taught me a lot as much of the information within the course I had already learned through other courses of study, through reading and surprisingly some things I just knew. 
One of the main things I liked about this course and that is all lessons, is your assignment of the week. It is one thing to learn or read each topic but another to apply what you learn, I found each weeks homework assignment to be very helpful in incorporating many of your suggested exercises into my human journey. Many of these “homework” assignments I have found helpful in my personal dealings and in my work as a spiritual counselor and instructor. 
I have used some of your techniques while working with some of my students and with those that I am counseling, and they found them helpful as well.
Spirit-Quest is definitely an extensive course that I will be constantly referencing as I have learned over the course of my years of study and throughout my own journey that often times we read things one time and find things we need to know, read it later and new things appear. 
The lessons I found extremely helpful are:
Forgiveness
Protection Rose
Tools For Getting Unstuck Part 1 and 2
Creating Your Own Reality Pt 1 and 2

All in all the course was extremely well written, easy to understand and with the assignments each week one could begin to apply each lesson into their own life’s journey.

Rev. Joyce Chandler

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Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church  materials.  I’ve been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.


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As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

Gospel of Luke

                                                            Gospel of Luke 

The debate over who actually wrote the Gospel of Luke is one of the most lively exegetic topics in modern theology. Although some scholars insist that Luke, a companion of Paul who was named in Colossians, is highly likely to have been the author, the debate is by no means settled and there are many who believe that the issue of Lukan authorship is very much up for further research. One of the few things that most scholars do agree upon is that the author of the Gospel of Luke is likely to be the same person who wrote the Acts of the Apostles, since there are many philosophical and stylistic similarities between the two. Beyond this, there is very little agreement, with some scholars even doubting that the author of the books was named Luke.

The most common theory is that the Gospel of Luke was written by Luke the physician.

 Luke was a companion of Saint Paul the Apostle and is mentioned on a number of occasions in epistles attributed to Paul. Most early Christian documents assume that Luke was the author of the gospel bearing his name, but it is unclear whether this theory gave rise to the title The Gospel According to Luke, or whether the title gave rise to the theory (Green, 1995). Nevertheless ancient source are almost unanimous in their belief (or assumption) that the Luke referenced by Paul must be the same Luke who wrote the gospel in his name. Supporting this belief is the existence of certain passages in the gospel where the term ‘we’ is used to referred to activities surrounding Paul, strongly suggesting that the author was an associate of Paul’s and therefore tying in with the belief that it was Luke.

However in the preface to Luke there is explicit mention on having eyewitness accounts ‘handed down to us’, strongly suggesting that the author was not present at the time. This raises the question of why the author would then use ‘we’ in certain parts of the text, but there are numerous possible explanations for this that, although unlikely, cannot be discounted. It is possible that the preface was written after the gospel, by another author, but in this case the subsequent author clearly went to great lengths to copy the style of the rest of the gospel. Again, however, this cannot be ruled out. It is equally possible that the ‘we’ portion of the gospel could have been from another author and was simply included by whoever was responsible for the majority of the gospel. A small number of critics have advanced the theory that the author of Luke may have been female.

This is based on the fact that the gospel spends considerably more time dealing with the roles and lives of women, affording more time to the lives of Elizabeth, the wife of John the Baptist, and the Virgin Mary than is the case in the other gospels (Reid, 1996). However, as evidence of female authorship of the gospel, this is clearly extremely thin: there is no reason to think that the author of Luke may not simply have chosen to cover this because he recognised that females were unfairly underrepresented in the other gospels, and this may have even been the reason for the decision to write this gospel in the first place. There is no specific reason to assume that the author was male, but nor is there any firm evidence to support the idea that the author was female.

Most of the debate over the authorship of the Gospel of Luke returns to the use of the term ‘we’ when discussing parts of the journeys undertaken with Paul. There are those who suggest that this was a stylistic convention of the time, used to refer to long journeys. However there is little evidence to support this idea. Some believe, instead, that the author used the style in order to add an element of historic accuracy to the gospels and perhaps even to misguide readers into believing that he was present when he was not.

 Since such practices do occasionally occur today, there is no reason to assume that they could not have occurred at the time that the gospel was written, which is believed to be between 80-90 CE.

There does seem to be a great deal of evidence to support the idea that the Gospel of Luke was indeed written by Luke the physician. Questions surrounding the question of authorship are a popular topic among theology discussions, and many Religious Studies classes focus on this issue. While the arguments in favour of another author can be made to work, they depend on a number of assumptions that seem to exist primarily in order to challenge the popular assumptions of Lukan authorship.

The Gospel of Luke like the other three Gospels depicts the life, teachings, death and the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This is the largest of the four Gospels.

The Gospel opens with a salutation to Theophilus and proceeds to tell the story of the appearance of Angel Gabriel to Zachariah, whose wife Elizabeth did not have the ability to bear a child. The Angel announces to Zachariah that his wife will bear a child and that “he will bring back many people of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go as God’s messenger, strong and mighty like the prophet Elijah. He will bring fathers and children again; he will turn the disobedient people back to the way of thinking of the righteous; he will get the Lord’s people ready for him”. The dumb founded Zachariah could not believe the words of the Angel Gabriel. Zachariah was spending a long time in the Temple and when he came out he could not speak. He was punished with the dumbness till the miracle was realized by him. People knew that he had seen a vision in the Temple since he was making signs to them with his hands and unable to say a word.

Gabriel then appears before Mary, who was promised in marriage to Joseph and proclaims that the Holy Spirit will come on her and she will give birth to a son who is to be named Jesus. He adds that “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God” and that the Lord God will make him a king, as his ancestor David was, and he will be the king of the descendants of Jacob for ever and his kingdom will never end”.

After a few months Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, and when Mary greeted her, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb “jumped with gladness”. In due course Elizabeth gave birth to a baby boy and he was circumcised and named John. Zachariah regained his speech at that time, as he was filled with the Holly Spirit. The baby grew up into John the Baptist.

Joseph and Mary went to Becklehem to register their names for the census and ordered by Emperor Augustus. There Mary gave birth to Jesus and laid him in the manger. An Angel announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds. The shepherds visited the Holy Baby and spread the word around.

The baby was named Jesus, as preordained, was circumcised, and was taken for the ceremony of purification. There Simeon, a God-fearing man, filled with Holy Spirit, held the baby in his hand and praised the Lord for bringing glory to the people of Israel.

When Jesus was twelve years old his parents took him for the Passover ceremony as usual, but that year he did not return with his parents, and stayed back in the temple, with the Jewish teachers listening carefully, and asking intelligent questions. Jesus grew into a boy of great wisdom.

While Herod was the ruler of Galilee, John the Baptist was appealing to the people to turn away from their sins and to get baptized. He also preached the Good News that one much greater than him is coming to baptize them with the Holy Spirit. He also spoke critically of Governor Herod and subsequently became imprisoned.

When Jesus was about thirty years old the power of the Holy Spirit started radiating from him very powerfully and he was revered and praised by all. The Devil tried his level best to tempt Jesus through many tricks, but Jesus did not succumb to any of the tricks.

But when Jesus went to Nazareth to read from the scriptures, He was not appreciated there. There is a saying that the darkest place is under the candle. Nazareth was the place where Jesus had been brought up. Yet people failed to recognize the Holy Spirit emanating from Him.

The power embedded in Jesus started performing miracles. At Capernaum, a town in Galilee, He drove away the evil Spirit that had possessed a man. He cured the high fever of Simon’s mother-in-law.

Learning about His miraculous powers, sick people started flocking to Jesus. A touch by his hand cured every one of them. He cured a leper of his leprosy. Once a paralyzed man was carried on a bed and brought to Jesus. He told the man that “your sins are forgiven you, my friend”. The listeners were puzzled by this, thinking that only god can forgive sins. They thought Jesus was impersonating God. The paralyzed man walked back home.

Jesus was unconventional in many of his acts. He kept company with outcasts, supported and eating on Sabbath days, and even cured the crippled hand of a man on a Sabbath day. Gradually anger hatred and fear started building up against Jesus among the Pharisees and the teachers of law.

Jesus went on healing and teaching the people who flocked to him. He even breathed life into a dead man. He assured the poor and the sorrow-stricken that there is a great reward awaiting them in Heaven. He taught them to shun violence. He spread the gospel of love. He warned people against judging others. Through powerful parables Jesus started driving great ideas into the minds of the people.

As time passed, the number of miracles performed by the spiritual power of Jesus grew unbelievably. The fisherman who could not net any fish in spite of a hard day’s labor, caught netfuls of fish at the order of Jesus. A mob of evil spirits had been driven away from a possessed man into a group of swine. He calmed a storm in the ocean with a single command. A woman who had been sick for twelve days touched the robe of Jesus and got cured instantly. He raised from death the daughter of Jairus. Once He fed a crowd of five thousand with just five loaves of bread and two fish.

Jesus had gathered His disciples from among the fisherman. He gave them power and authority to drive out demons and to cure diseases. In due course of time He told His disciples about His impending death and resurrection. He recruited more disciples and sent seventy two of them to different towns with the message of God’s love.

To the skeptical teacher of law, He gave the parable of the Good Samaritan. He advised the Pharisees to keep their minds clean and worthy. He even told them that they “are like unmarked graves which people walk on without knowing it.” When one of the teachers of the law protested saying that Jesus was insulting them, Jesus accused them of holding the keys to the house of knowledge, neither themselves going in, nor allowing anybody else to go in. This infuriated the teachers and they wanted to wreak vengeance on Him.

In the meanwhile Jesus went on enriching the peoples’ minds through the parables of the Yeast, Mustard Seed, the Narrow Door, the Unfruitful Tree, Faithful and the Unfaithful Servant, the Great Feast, Worthless Salt, the Lost Sheep and many more. His healing miracles continued as ever. He taught the people that the kingdom of God is within themselves. He reminded them that it is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of the needle.

Jesus drove the merchants from the Temple, and warned people to watch out for the Teachers of Law who take advantage of the weak. They wanted to kill Jesus and finally Judas under the devil’s influence agreed to betray Christ. During the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, Jesus broke the bread and gave it to His disciples saying that it was His body, and gave them the wine as new covenant sealed with His blood. He added that “the one who betrays me is here at the table with me”. Jesus also predicted the denial of Peter.

Jesus was arrested after being kissed and identified by Judas, and Peter three times denied knowledge of Him, as predicted by Jesus. The elders of the Jews, the teachers and the Chief Priests asked Him if He was the “ Son of God “ and He answered “ you say that I am “. For claiming Himself to be God, they decided to punish Him and took Him to Pilate. Pilate sent for Herod. Pilate told the crowd that he did not find Jesus guilty, but the crowd shouted that Jesus must be killed. He was nailed on the Cross along with two criminals.

At Jesus’ death, noon turned into darkness, and the curtain in the Temple tore into two. His body was received by Joseph of Arimathea and some ladies who were with him and He was buried. But the third day Jesus resurrected, as He had foretold earlier. Jesus later appeared before His disciples and then was taken into heaven.

Conclusion:

The word Gospel literally means “Good News”. But the Gospels in the Bible are more than “Good News”. They belong to the genre of biography and historiography. As biography it races the birth, growth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. As historiography it draws a continuous line from the scriptures, from Abraham, through Moses, David, and Isaiah to the age of Jesus.

The gospel of St. Luke, from another perspective, is the exposition of God. Its power as scripture is simply unique.

References

Green, Joel. The theology of the Gospel of Luke. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Reid, Barbara. Choosing the better part? Women in the Gospel of Luke. Collegeville, The Liturgical Press, 1996.

Andy Gaus  The Unvarnished Gospel , 2001.

Rev. Steve Dunkley

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Many people get ordained through the Universal Life Church as a means to become wedding officiants, but also to study through our online seminary. If you need minister supplies or online ceremonies, we have a wide selection to choose from, as well as a place for spiritual articles and spiritual bookmarks. If you need any assistance in any area of your ministry, please feel free to contact amy@ulcseminary.org and we’ll give you all the help we can. Visit our FB Page at ULC Seminary.
As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

Spirituality and Prayer

1.       Explain how I agree/disagree with the Course’s view on forgiveness: I agree with the Course’s view on forgiveness. I had never thought about the “forgiveness of destruction”, however, in my life and my interactions with others I see how the ego keeps us stuck. I know that when I become angry or hurt my ego puts my thoughts on a “hamster wheel” and the negativity goes around and around.  I try to jump off the wheel only to find myself repeatedly jumping back on.  Each time I jump back on I find justifications for why I feel/think the way I do.  It is a relief to know that it is not myself that forgives but God that forgives through intercession of the Holy Spirit.  I agree that I worry and blame myself at times for my flaws and at other times my ego inflates my “self-esteem” and furthers my justification for whatever I have done.  
Once I justify what I have done related to perceived wrongs I am inclined to do those things again because it “is okay for me to act this way” but “it is not okay for the other to behave in this manner.”  What a distraction! What separateness! Years ago I read many books written by an Avatar, Meher Baba.  His explanation of life is that we “are all God in search of itself”.  He taught that in the beginning God was everything and God was nothing and that life as an individual was created in order that God might know Itself in every way.  Therefore, every experience was necessary. This philosophy taught that we need to let go of our mis-perceptions about who we are and to leave everything up to God. I think this week’s Course is underlining this.  If we truly are God in search of Itself then it is God who forgives.  It is God who lives through us.  It is not about us it is about God.
2.       Re-write one of my own prayers for forgiveness.  “Lord, I have done it again.  I have been angry and have lashed out at others.  I feel badly about hurting others and yet feel justified at the same time.  Please forgive my weaknesses and help me to refrain from hurting others again.”  New prayer: “Holy Spirit, Please intercede on my behalf with the Father in granting forgiveness in this situation.  Help me to re-member who I Am and to let go of negative evaluations of myself and others. Help me live in Love and Peace. Thank You. Amen.”

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Many people get ordained through the ULC as a means to become wedding officiants, but also to study through our online seminary. If you need minister supplies or online ceremonies, we have a wide selection to choose from, as well as a place for spiritual articles and spiritual bookmarks. Visit our FB Page at ULC Seminary.
As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

Master of Religion

The thing that jumps out strongest about the course Master of Religion – it was entirely too short. There is so much information to be covered in just 20 short lessons. I could have gone on for a lot longer. I always enjoy a course when it opens ideas and forces me to think about my beliefs and even research further into the issues involved. One issue I felt compelled to tackle in this course was discernment.
Following the discussion on the multiple flavors of Christian religion I felt challenged to look not only at the variety of beliefs but also the influence on people and on the lives of individuals. Does this “flavor” of Christianity lead to a good life – bear positive fruit – or can it be linked to an evil influence – do the followers lie, steal and cheat?
I myself feel that it is the fruit of the flavor that bears witness to the strengths of the belief system.
The Catholic Church’s long term battle on opposing view points certainly does not lend itself to a positive life style. Yet, it is the leaders that continue unjust persecution not the average believer. So can we condemn the system for such former abuses Other denominations have been just as repressive and destructive through the years. I believe it is the hatred that disturbs our heavenly creator and not the flavor of the belief we follow. Often the average believer does not even understand the complex theology used to support the views and actions of the leaders. Nor do they necessarily follow the same political issues.
In past ages many believers were unable to read and could only follow the leadership they were given, which might not be the most Christian view point. Check out the view of the puritans when they sought to establish themselves in this country. It was not a very glorious story, and fortunately they have vanished.
Today we are very lucky to have the opportunity to follow God and learn line upon line, precept upon precept. Before I feel confident telling others what to believe I need to be sure I know what I really believe. This course have given me a choice opportunity to question and study my belief system.
Keep up the good work.
I consider this course a good introduction to the Christian faith and beliefs. Thanks
Zelma Emerson
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The Universal Life Church Seminary is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, and Paganism.  We have two courses in Metaphysics, as well as courses in Mystical Christianity, Buddhism and Comparative Religion. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

Universal Life Church – Mystical Christianity Course

-Rev. Alexander Balla
1. Imagine a Christianity without the influence of original sin and the fall.  If we remove “fall/redemption theology” from Christianity, what is left and what can be put in its place?
The focus would undoubtedly be on the focus that Jesus taught, rather than on constantly living in sin.
2. Explain the connection between the traditional understanding of the Genesis narratives and our ecological concerns for Mother Earth. Why are the two connected?
Traditionally it is the responsibility of all mankind for beginning and perpetuating original sin. In the same way that we sullied our own race, we are now sullying the earth around us; the earth that God presented as a gift to all people.
3. How do you react to the possibility, as theorized by Gregg Braden, that you carry the message “God Eternal within the body” in your genetic code?
This is a beautiful realm where spirituality and science meet and can peacefully coexist. The message of our creation exists within our DNA in our similarities and our genetic oneness with each other.
4. If this “God Code” is common to all humanity, how does it affect your understanding of current issues of world peace and justice?
This proves that we are all one big family. As sad as it is to say it, every family has a tendency towards dysfunction. The human family is no different. Maybe through decades of schooling and global therapy the gaps that divide us can be healed.
5. Become the storyteller of your life and create your own creation mythology. What would your creation story feel, look and sound like?
My story would be relatively short and simple:
In the beginning there was darkness, and this darkness represented nothingness, for nothing had yet come into existence. At the moment of his/her choosing God said “Let there be light!” and light came in the form of energy and matter, which initiated the big bang. The universe had been created and began to boil with eternal and ever expanding possibilities until somewhere in the far flung reaches of this universe a star was born. Rocky and gaseous bodies surrounded this star, which would usher in the advent of all life on a planet whose inhabitants would one day call earth. This God adhered to the laws of scientific creation that he/she gave life to and in so doing, gave life to all creation.


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Work experience:
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