Friday, 22 April 2011

The prayer of Judas

Our Father in heaven

Have mercy on me, have pity on a poor sinner, oh, God have mercy on me.

Hallowed be your name,

You are the great and mighty God. You know what I’ve done, you know the secrets of my heart, God have mercy on me.

Your kingdom come,

That was all I ever wanted. You know that, don’t you? This wasn’t about me. You know that, don’t you, God? You know it wasn’t about me – or the money. The money, the money, 30 miserable pieces of silver, 30 denari. I sold my soul for 30 denarii. God have mercy on me for no-one else will. But you, you know why I did it. Oh God, you know. Let me know that you understand. God have mercy on my miserable soul.

Your will be done that’s what I was doing, that’s what I thought I was doing. Your will, I thought I was doing your will, wasn’t I obeying your will, God? Even Christ, he said, it. He told me to. He said, ‘go and do it quickly.’ He told me to. I took that to be his approval. I thought … I thought. God you alone know what I thought. Your kingdom come. Your kingdom come. All I ever wanted was to see your kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven. Christ was supposed to be the messiah, the promised one, the king who would lead us to freedom, who’d set us free from the cursed Roman occupation. That was all I wanted. I thought I could help. That’s all I was doing, helping. You believe that, don’t you? You know this wasn’t what I intended, what I wanted. I never wanted to ... to see this. I sold my soul. Oh God have mercy on my miserable soul. God have pity.

Give us today our daily bread. God forgive me I sat at the table with him. I ate the bread he gave me his body; I drank his blood. Oh God what have I done? And he knew, he knew all along. He knew everything I’d done, everything I was going to do. I could see it in his eyes. His sorrow, his pain, his … fear. God, I’d been with him through it all. I’d seen love in action and I betrayed him as he knew I would. As he knew I must. Why didn’t he stop me? Why didn’t he tell the others? Why didn’t he insist they took me prisoner to stop me doing what he knew I was going to do. What I had to do. That’s what he should have done … but he didn’t. He let me get on with it. He told me to go and do it. And the others, why didn’t they work it out? He couldn’t have made it clearer that I was the betrayer if he’d pointed to me. There was no doubt who he meant. Why didn’t they stop me? Didn’t they see? Were they too blind or stupid? Were their eyes covered? They could have stopped me. It wasn’t all my fault; they should have realised. He told them. Oh God have mercy on us.

Forgive us our trespasses,

Oh, was there ever a greater trespass done? The worst of all, to betray the man who loved me. He did love me. I know it. I could see it in his eyes. Even at the end when I could hardly bear to look at his face, I could see the sorrow but I could see the love as well. He knew what I had to do. I was in the crowd as he passed. I was at the back amongst strangers. People who didn’t know me. Who didn’t point me out as the one who betrayed Jesus. But he saw me. He turned his head and looked straight at me. Just that one time he turned his head. He turned his head and looked at me. Looked at me through the crowd, through the heads and the faces he saw me. He knew I was there and he looked right at me. Oh God he looked at me. I tried to turn away. I didn’t want to look on his poor battered face. I didn’t want to see the hate and anger there. If I had been in his place I would have spat at me. But he didn’t. He looked at me and kept my gaze though I wanted to turn away. I wanted to run away and hide. But his face held no resentment, no anger, no hurt, just forgiveness. Forgiveness. As we also forgive those who have trespassed against us. God knows, I wanted to see forgiveness there. But I don’t believe what I saw. How could he forgive me? A wicked sinner.Oh God what have I done? Have mercy on me.

And what had he ever done to me? Nothing. Except love me. He loved me and that is how I repaid him. All he ever did was love me and respect me and value me. He trusted me. He put me in charge of the money. In charge of the money. He knew I was trustworthy. And I was. I was. I looked after it like it was my own. I was careful with it, yes, but what’s wrong with that? We needed money. We were going to fund a revolution. That took money. I was getting ready for that. That’s all I was doing. And I took no more than a fair pay for my work no matter what they say. That was all I did. I earned it. It was mine by right. It was only fair. My fair share. My fair share.

And lead us not into temptation,

It was all moving too slowly. I just wanted to speed things up. Speed things up, get things going. He couldn’t see the mood of the people; I could. They were ready for revolution. He only had to say the word. They’d have taken up arms. I thought they would have. I was sure they would have. They cheered him as he entered the city. They loved him. The sight of Roman soldiers taking their hero prisoner would have been too much for them, I was sure of it. They’d rise up in his defence, to free him and then the land and our people. We’d have been free again as you God intended. I could see that. Freedom. Just within reach. That’s why I did it. That’s why I did it. It wasn’t for the money; it was for the cause. God, you know I’m telling the truth here. Listen to me. You know my motives. Listen to me. You know my thoughts, before a word leaves my mouth you know it. You know I only wanted good. I was impatient. The time was right. We had the people on our side. I thought we had the people on our side. God forgive them for their treachery. How could they turn against the man who’d raised their dead, healed their sick, fed their hunger? God, how could they do it? Oh God, how could I do it? Why did I do it? Why oh why did I do it? God in heaven have mercy on my soul, Have mercy on my soul. forgive me.

And deliver us from the evil one.

From the evil one deliver me, deliver me. From evil. From evil deliver me. From all that is in my head deliver me. From the evil that I have done deliver me. From the evil that has possessed my soul, deliver me. From the pain that is in my heart deliver me. Take these tears and wash me clean. Take these tear and wash me whiter than snow. Whiter than snow. Can I never be clean again? Will I carry this burden to my grave? Oh God answer me! Have you forsaken me too? I can’t carry this load. I can’t bear this burden any longer.

My father in heaven, forgive me for what I have done, forgive me for what I am about to do. Have mercy on my soul.


Ann Marie said...

Oh Liz, I love your heart. And I love your eloquence. This post and the previous ones on the Beatitudes made me cry. Such a blessing. Thank you.

Liz said...

Thank you, Ann.

The Tame Lion said...

Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Every moment, thank God.