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The Odes of Solomon: 27

Virgin OransA continuation of the Commentary on the Odes of Solomon for Awakening.

I extended my hands, and I sanctified my Lord.
For the expansion of my hands is his sign.
And my extension is the upright cross. Alleluia.

I extended my hands, and I sanctified my Lord.

How can God be sanctified? To understand that we must look to the roots of Jesus’ teaching: India. There we find that God is both transcendent and immanent. He is beyond creation, but also within creation, which means that he is within us. In the Bhagavad Gita, which Jesus knew well and cited in his teaching, we find these words: “The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings…. Fly unto him alone for refuge with your whole being. By that grace you shall attain supreme peace and the eternal abode” (Bhagavad Gita 18:61-62). “Those in whom this ignorance of the Self has been destroyed by knowledge–that knowledge of theirs, like the sun, reveals the Supreme Brahman. Those whose minds are absorbed in That, whose Selves are fixed on That, whose foundation is That, who hold That as the highest object, whose evils have been shaken off by knowledge, attain the ending of rebirth” (Bhagavad Gita 5:16-17).

God is within each one of us, and we must take refuge in that inner Presence. To know him we must turn within. And when we do so with diligence in the practice of yoga meditation, then his presence within us will be “sanctified” and revealed. Saint Nectarios, the great twentieth-century wonderworker of Greece, said: “Seek God every day, but in your heart, and not outside of it.” That is exactly what the Gita says. The saint knew this same truth because he was an Eastern Christian.

For the expansion of my hands is his sign.

“The expansion of my hands” refers to the ancient custom of praying with elevated hands on cheek level with the palms upward. This is still the usual prayer position in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, and was the same in pre-Christian Egypt. Among esotericists this is called “the thymus position” because it actually stimulates the action of the thymus gland which controls the immune system. So it is not only spiritual, it is physically beneficial.

Thus standing in prayer with uplifted hands is the sign of God and of Jesus our Lord. “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek” (Psalms 27:8). “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands” (I Timothy 2:8).

And my extension is the upright cross.

“Praying in the Cross” is an ancient Christian practice, standing with the arms outstretched at shoulder level so the body become a living cross. I used to see the Franciscan sisters praying this way in their chapel at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Bloomington, Illinois. For we are not just to carry our cross, we are to become the Holy Cross itself, a throne of Christ from which he reigns.

Read the next article in The Odes of Solomon for Awakening: The Odes of Solomon: 28

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