On the 1st of March Throne of Wisdom Narthex held its first public meeting at the Maryborough Community Recreation Centre. It was attended by 12 people and there was some great sharing during the meeting and good conversation over coffee afterwards.
Brenden, our Narthex Leader, shared some thoughts on what the AJC is all about:
In the life of the Church today’s the first Sunday in Lent, a time of prayerful reflection and preparation for Easter. As such it’s a Sunday where the readings, our meditation, and our prayers usually focus on self-examination. Initially I kind of thought this was a terrible theme for the first meeting of the Apostolic Johannite Church in Maryborough, but once I spent some time in thought and meditation I realised it’s actually the best theme possible! What better thing to do at the first meeting that perform a self examination of what the AJC is, what we do, and why we do it!
For a lot of churches that I’m familiar with and have experience of, these questions are a relatively easy answer; we do x because y tells us to, or because our founder said etc. The nature of the AJC makes this process a whole lot more difficult.
On the outside a lot of what we do in our public services appears very traditional; we have robed priest and bishops, liturgies, sacraments like Baptism and Communion, candles and incense however below the surface the Apostolic Johannite Church isn’t your normal Church. We like to describe ourselves as an esoteric, Gnostic Church, so what does that mean?
Esoteric refers to an inner teaching; while placing itself within the Christian tradition the AJC seeks to understand the inner (some may say hidden) meaning of that message. We do not seek to be legalistic with a myriad of ideas and beliefs that the individual has to ascribe to. In fact the only doctrinal statement made by the Church is the Statement of Principles which consists of 9 points regarding the minimal doctrinal stance of the Church officially (copies of which you’ll find on the table). That being said each person in the Johannite tradition is free to follow the path of understanding that they feel called to walk; each of us will have practices, beliefs and ideas that are unique to ourselves and our own revelation of the Divine; which leads to gnosis.
So what does it mean when we talk about the AJC being gnostic? If you’ve done any reading on ancient Gnosticism you may have a picture of a world hating dualism where our physical world is evil and ruled by an evil god the Demiurge; however this isn’t what is meant by us when we talk of gnosis.
For the AJC gnosis (knowledge of the divine) is each of us coming to the realisation that the Sacred Flame, a very spark of the Divine, of God, lies within each and every single one of us. If we can come to recognise the God within us, if we can embrace it and commune with it, we can begin to walk a path of personal experience of the Divine that will lead us to eventual Union with the ultimate Divine which lies at the core of existence.
It is this path of gnosis that leads us in unique directions; to many the AJC seems inwardly to feel Buddhist or eastern than the Christianity that they’re familiar with; many of us practice meditation, chanting, praying with beads, meditative reading and a myriad of other practices that help us to connect with the Divine and discern its will for us. Each of us within the AJC are free to find a path to understanding that works for us individually sharing a bond of a community of seekers.
Throne of Wisdom Narthex (named after and dedicated to the Divine Feminine expressed as Wisdom or Sophia) hopes to become a place where those seeking the divine can come to worship, meditate, and to above all share our journeys with fellow seekers. For that reason I’m really interested in hearing what everyone would like to see this group doing; what we hope to gain; what group practices (mediation, studies, shared readings, rituals etc.) you’d like to take part in.
If anyone feels they’d like to share now or ask a question please feel free to speak up; or if you want you can put your ideas on one of the cards on the table beside the kitchen and leave it for us. If you want to put your name and contact details (which will remain confidential) on a card and place in the box I’ll be sure to keep you informed of meeting and activities in the future.
The next meeting of the Narthex will be at 10am on the first Sunday in April; why not come and share your spiritual journey with us!