The Rejection of Tokenism
v14. Jesus said 'If you fast you will give rise to sin for yourselves; And if you pray you will be condemned; And if you give alms you will do harm to your spirits.'
v14: The Rejection Of Tokenism
Society teaches us that the way to the Divine is through and with the established religion of our culture. Historically at least in the UK we are acculturated into all things Christian. Of course this is an accident of birth. If you were born in Saudi Arabia you would have been exposed to all things Islamic and if you were born in Nepal then all things Buddhist. We tend to slip on the religion that predominates in our country of birth.
In Thomas Jesus is contemptuous of the religious establishment. He attacks the Judaist hierarchy particularly the scribes and the pharisees. He accuses them of hiding the keys to gnosis and wisdom and of having nothing of value to say. He also attacks what he perceives as empty cultural norms such as circumcision and bespoke dietary constraints.
Most importantly he accuses them of religious tokenism. In v14 he points out that it is simply not enough to do what religious norms demand of you. Praying once a week and the giving of alms is a cop out. It is an empty adherence to a religious expectation. The Living One (The Unity) expects you to sanctify the whole week. To bear witness to it in every moment of every day. To pray however and whenever you can and to give alms to the whole world for the whole world is you. The Unity wants all of you, it will settle for nothing less.