Posts Tagged ‘Judas’


Yesterday at some point in time, most Christians attended their church to somberly bring in the time of Lent. This is after Shrove Tuesday (pancakes in Canada, also known as Fat Tuesday, Carnivale in other climes) that ends the time of abundance and in some cases, debauchery. It is meant to bring us to the ash ceremony of Ash Wednesday. A time to remember that we are from the cosmic dust, and to that we shall return. It is a time  that begins 40 days of entering into our own wilderness to emerge more closely attuned with the Holy Mystery, much like the journey of Brother Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11. The Spirit leads us into a time of purging and renewal. It is in these 40 days when many Christians will “give something up” like sweets or coffee, or make more donations (purge that excess we have in our houses like a Kondo style faith), or make more time to practice a new spiritual discipline.

It is also a time to expand our understanding. It is interesting that it was on Ash Wednesday I first heard of the cancelled DC Comic, Second Comingwhich was due to be released and squashed by the Conservative Religious group citizensgo. It was an odd-couple and social commentary story of Jesus coming back, and his roommate being the most powerful superhero, Sun-Man. Looking at the dichotomy that exists between what we profess as what we want and what we actually use to solve our world’s issues and conflicts.

“I think the religious fundamentalists and critics who are trying to stop Second Coming aren’t interested in protecting Christ so much as their ability to control his narrative … They probably (correctly) suspect that it’s not Christ who’s being parodied, but themselves and how they’ve twisted his teachings of mercy for the powerless into a self-serving tool of the powerful.” -Mark Russell (co-creator)

It reminds me of the era around 30ish CE when a peasant labourer, born of a young woman, began teaching and healing, challenging the Empire. It was contrary to what the nation under occupation he was attempting to free was expecting. They were looking for a warrior-king type Messiah to violently overthrow Rome, and bring back the Theocracy they so desperately wanted. It was why at this time there was the Essene that had retreated from the world, but more importantly there was over 400 active “messiahs” trying just this. A violent revolt. Guerilla fighters, terrorists, spree killers, and freedom fighters all finding a place, Barrabas who was released in place of Jesus on Good Friday by Pilate fit into one of these categories.

But why?

Simple, it goes back to the time of Alexander the Great, or rather as his Kingdom split at his death. To the family Maccabeus, and their Patriarch, Mathias, who refused to succumb to what would become the Roman Empire eventually. The words were put down around 100-104 CE, and tells the story of 3 of his 5 sons, who took a stand for what they believed to be true. Not only what they believed to be true, but to the impossible.

The story of Hannukah comes from 4:36-59 (New Revised Standard Version):

36 Then Judas and his brothers said, “See, our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it.” 37 So all the army assembled and went up to Mount Zion. 38 There they saw the sanctuary desolate, the altar profaned, and the gates burned. In the courts they saw bushes sprung up as in a thicket, or as on one of the mountains. They saw also the chambers of the priests in ruins. 39 Then they tore their clothes and mourned with great lamentation; they sprinkled themselves with ashes 40 and fell face down on the ground. And when the signal was given with the trumpets, they cried out to Heaven.

41 Then Judas detailed men to fight against those in the citadel until he had cleansed the sanctuary. 42 He chose blameless priests devoted to the law, 43 and they cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place. 44 They deliberated what to do about the altar of burnt offering, which had been profaned. 45 And they thought it best to tear it down, so that it would not be a lasting shame to them that the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar, 46 and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until a prophet should come to tell what to do with them. 47 Then they took unhewn[u] stones, as the law directs, and built a new altar like the former one. 48 They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. 49 They made new holy vessels, and brought the lampstand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. 50 Then they offered incense on the altar and lit the lamps on the lampstand, and these gave light in the temple. 51 They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken.

52 Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-eighth year,[v] 53 they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering that they had built. 54 At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. 55 All the people fell on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. 56 So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and joyfully offered burnt offerings; they offered a sacrifice of well-being and a thanksgiving offering. 57 They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and fitted them with doors. 58 There was very great joy among the people, and the disgrace brought by the Gentiles was removed.

59 Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev.

War is not only about killing the enemy and taking their land and wealth. It is about crushing their spirit, gutting them of their beliefs and showing they no longer have intrinsic worth. This is what the state the temple was found in was about, it was a time when everything they held dear had finally been destroyed. The path they believed they had in life was interrupted.

It is the time when one can give into the voice of the Saboteur, or for the religious, Satan, and succumb to the darkness and give up.

It is also the time, when one can choose to hear another still small voice, and begin the baby steps to make changes.

Judas inspired his troops after wrestling his own Gremlins, to start small and reclaim their faith. Believe the impossible until re-enforcements could arrive, those lights that should not have burned, burned brightly.

During this season of affirming the emergent you. Spend time in 1 Maccabees (read here), find which stories resonate with your journey metaphysically or allegorically. Then use a spiritual practice, take those stories and re-write them from the perspectives of the different players (seen and unseen).

  1. What emerges about yourself?
  2. What does the characters of the story show about different perspectives?
  3. What gremlins do you need to cast away, like a Temple rebuilt?

Ashes are not just words or symbols. Wilderness is not just a physical place, it is an emotional and spiritual one. Lent is not just a time of no pop or chips…

It is about connecting to the you the Holy Mystery created you to be.

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A Judas Goat is a spy-mystery reference for someone who infiltrates the movement to bring it down, or a member of a movement turned. Judas obviously from the story of Judas Iscariot in the Christian Testament. Goat can be of two veins. One being scape goat, that in which communities would place their sins upon for sacrifice to make right, or goat the old English colloquialism of one that acts out for praise and attention. But it is a term that transcends many tales for one used in their own mind to do what is right, or to correct for the one’s in power and control.

14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

-Matthew 26:14-16(New International Version)

Judas is a name that moved from heroic connotations within the context of the stories of the Maccabees and the messiah being waited on…to one of betrayer with the Gospel proclamation of what has become known as Holy Week. Literature wise it was a character that allowed to show the false messiah ship of the warrior king, that in the end would prove the destruction of the religious controllers’ due to the use of force and power. Over the centuries there has been debate about Judas Iscariot. Why did he do it? Was it a power grab? Was it for the money? Was it for jealousy? Or did Judas truly believe, as recent theologians will postulate that by doing this he was advancing the Kingdom?

Take time in contemplative journaling-whether it is in colour, art, writing or all three on the story through the eyes of Judas.  What comes through for you as the truth of the journey?

For the deal is struck. The Upper Room is prepared… and what we term Maundy Thursday is about ready to begin:

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

-John 13:1-15

The Supper with friends is seen as the institution of communion, some will say because it is only in the newest Canonical Gospel, John, that the idea of foot washing is introduced. Yet this Gospel is a proclamation of community mystic life. It zeroes in on the Sacrament of Service (remember that whole Love your neighbour as yourself and your God thing?). As Brother Jesus lowers himself to the simplest of acts after a long day for his followers.

It is why foot washing is often still used, many churches have abandoned the practice…yet they miss something in the story by doing this. There is nothing more humbling to truly understand the walk the talk actions.

Yet in this moment, Jesus knew something was off.

Continue your journal as Judas…what is rolling in your heart in this moment of humility??

How has this radical love moment challenged your previous life actions?

What calling has been laid out for you in this moment?

Will you answer the call?