Wednesday, December 01, 2004


You don't understand
It's not the nail
But the broken bread
Not the bloody thorns
But the eyes that lie.
Forty silver coffin nails.
He is the chosen one.
Jesus meets his eyes
And loves him.
Judas by his side
Welcomes sinners
Into heaven.
"Do not fear
To enter here.
I am forgiven.
So are you."


Blogger Sarah Smile said...


8:26 AM  
Blogger zzzzzoe said...

Thank you! I wrote this poem to a friend after we'd had a little...well, not a fight, but the music was discordant. I excerpt from an email I wrote to him about it afterwards:

So I wasn't raised with any religion at all, so all of them are equally strange and familiar to me, and I have a universalist attitude towards it; I believe that human beings have an innate impulse to tap into some kind of deep truth, and that at the highest levels of
understanding all religions are identical. And yet at the lower levels religions seem so different, but still the seeming paradoxes are really useful to think through, like "these concepts seem so different but how can you interpret them to be the same?"

So anyway there are a lot of aspects of Buddhism that are very intuitive to me but I understand Christianity a lot less. I just never knew what was so appealing to people about the Crucifixion, and all those medieval crosses with sculptures of blood dripping out of Jesus' hands, and the focus on the sheer physical trials...what's the point? All the pornographic violence, like that Mel Gibson movie. How the hell does it work, "dying for our sins"? And anyway Jesus knew for sure he was going to heaven so it doesn't seem like he suffered as much as many other people who didn't get all the props for dying for peoples' sins. And the whole thing with Judas...the Last Supper, Jesus knowing that "one of you will betray me" but not saying who, and basically setting himself up for failure...It just all seems weird and I don't understand any of the motivations.

But so I'm saying what if the sotry of the crucifixion is all about the Last Supper. It's about a man who met Jesus, who believed he was the Son of God, and betrayed him anyway. It's nothing to do with nails being driven into someone's hand, physical torture is dumb, it's about your best friend sitting down and breaking bread with you and then turning you in to the police for forty pieces of silver. But humans all do that, every day. We all have the ability to imagine perfection, and we never live up to it, we betray ourselves and each
other constantly. So I am in fact calling you Judas, I am too, we're all Judas. (I changed the poem to be in the present tense because I wanted it to seem more immediate.) And yet forgiveness is infinite. I like the way Leonardo da Vinci painted Jesus' face, he knows exactly how badly his disciple has betrayed him, but he's not angry, he just feels sorry for Judas that he wasn't able to be good, but he forgives him, he wants us to know that anyone can be forgiven, and in fact already has been.

9:41 AM  

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