Thursday, April 17, 2014

Seeking friend Judas


An Anglican priest friend was talking to a class of eight year olds at his local Church of England primary school about Easter.

"Can anyone tell me what happened on Good Friday?" Many hands shot up, "That is the day they killed Jesus," they said.

"Can anyone tell me what happened on Easter Sunday?" Fewer hands were raised with a little less certainty but the answer was clear, "That's the day that He came back from the dead."

"So, can anyone tell me what happened, in between, on the Saturday?" One hand goes up, only one, and the boy says, "Yes, that is the day Jesus went in search of his friend, Judas."

Or, as the poet, Edwin Muir, put it, at the end of his poem, 'The Transfiguration'.

"And Judas damned take his long journey backward
From darkness into light and be a child
Beside his mother's knee and the betrayal
Be quite undone and never more be done."

For, as Muir also wrote, in his poem, "The Good Man in Hell":

"One doubt of evil would bring down such a grace,
Open such a gate, and Eden could enter in,
Hell be a place like any other place,
And love and hate and life and death begin."

This is, at its heart, the reality of Easter that evil is unwound and its dominion is no more. This, sadly, at the subjective level of our everyday doings does not appear to be true. Though goodness is coming to us, though it is always coming to us, few there are that have the simplicity and the courage to believe it, and act out of it. Yet the seed of doubt has been sown in Jesus' life, death and resurrection and our task is to remember it, nurture it, embody it.

Some, a few, not me, will do this saintly, others may simply be confined to growing a few seeds on a window ledge, my more likely path, but in this practice of sowing the seeds of doubt that evil and violence have a final word, have finally any word at all, lies the hope of the world.

We begin by going in search of our friend, Judas, whoever s/he may be for us.

Happy Easter!

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