Easter arrives. Again.
In my experience - and may be different for you - words such as treachery haven’t been part of mass media language or part of mine for some longish time. For me, those words most recently came to mind with the events of 9/11 and my conclusions about the near free fall collapse of the Twin Towers and of Building 7 and that circumstance indicates demolition which leads inevitably to planning and thus an ‘inside job.’ Villainy in high places.
Judas is cast as the villain, the betrayer and why would that be questioned within Christianity, within that familiar story which led to Christ’s crucifixion - betrayal on such a scale and for the paltry sum of thirty pieces of silver. Betrayal to where the Judas’ name echoes through the Ages as a symbol of betrayal. I suppose the price is irrelevant if ones integrity can be bought … the price just needs to be established.
But the Biblical narrative tells me – unless I’m missing the point - that this was all ordained, predestined, the will of God. All the signs – and the wonders – were prophesised and fulfilled yet Judas, in an also destined moment, fulfilled a critical part within the drama.
Does predestined imply reincarnation? It does to me and, if so, did Judas really have a choice? Perhaps he did inasmuch as his ‘free will’ comes into play – a somewhat/sometimes illusory free will though it may be - and as we, generally speaking, don’t have remembrance of previous lives maybe because it may cripple our choice and actions in the present life it appears that Judas uses the free will available in this present life to guide his actions. Without that betrayal the story would be different. It wouldn’t have fulfilled the same purpose, the ending would be different … and there is something transcendental about that ‘Crucifixion of the Son of God’ which, to my limited understanding, mirrors the fate of mankind – we crucify each other on a regular basis whether it be literal or not. And it’s all an exercise in individual free will.
An exercise in the application of ‘free will’ and of the constant making of choices. The ethical, open to all message contained in ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ and ‘Do unto others as you’d have done to yourself.’ It may not bring one to paradise but ‘the kingdom of God lies within’ is a statement of fact if it’s to mean anything.
Perhaps it’s a quiet kingdom, not startling.
It was the infamous Brutus of Julius Caesar’s murder which led me across to Judas. ‘ Brutus is treacherous’ is the message which reverberates from that time and my sympathy lies with Caesar yet the circumstances which led to Caesar’s murder make clear that, to many at that time, the Republic was in peril with Caesar as Dictator for life – and an understanding of motivation changes perception of events. Was Brutus treacherous or high minded? I don’t know – my ignorance is cheerfully immense.
The odd background note in this reverie about events and people from a few thousand years ago is the stark antiquity of Aboriginal culture as evidenced by the sixty thousand years or so of continued society here in Australia and which places these events of a few thousand years ago as the comparatively recent past. How this occupation of Australia with its menagerie of plant, insect and animal not found elsewhere fits in Biblically or with Hindu 26,000 year cycles – Golden Age to our present situation – leaves me wondering yet again about how different Australia is – from everywhere. Civilisations rise and fall elsewhere yet Australia somehow retains an ‘otherworldly’ aspect. Their enduring culture has its spiritual reality and whatever this Universal God ‘is’ includes and embraces them as equally as any other human in any other time.
Judas is reviled and the biblical narrative as we now have it doesn’t much support reincarnation. One life and that’s it. Doesn’t make sense to me particularly with some version of a heaven and hell for eternity. That’s a very long time in anyone’s language. Personally I’m quite slow to get the point. I miss the moment frequently and half a life can go by without me having much of a clue about ’what’s going on.’ One life is not enough time in which to separate truth from lies let alone develop a consistent ethical framework.
Did Judas play an unwitting and needed part in the Drama or was he aware of the necessity of Jesus needing a betrayer and was actually in Christ’s confidence. It’s not an original thought.
Within that Drama of betrayal and crucifixion played out continuously throughout time and independent of religious belief we, as humanity and over the course of our lifetimes, play the Judas, the Doubting Thomas, the whole population of peoples and their quirks, we wash our hands of situations as did Pilate and sometimes we echo the Good Samaritan and sometimes the Christ. Sometimes we are the crown of thorns.
While reasonably intelligent, I’m not quick to understand and therefore need to investigate ‘the why and the wherefore’ of the world today and of our ‘human condition.’ I can’t just shrug my shoulders and be content with ‘That’s the way it is.’
What perversion of Christianity led to the Crusades or to the Inquisition, led factions of Judaism into the Talmud against which Christ railed because it ‘makes naught’ of God’s Word, led the brutal edge of a cold and grim sect of Islam into the perversion of suicide bombers when Islam states that to take the life of an innocent is to kill mankind. By definition a suicide bomber kills innocents.
All three of these religions claim ‘The Truth’ and bow to a Supreme God. They have a common heritage in the Ten Commandments and don’t worry too much about ‘Thou shall not kill’ – which is obviously more on a wish list than a Commandment.
There’s a disconnect, an ‘I don’t get it’ aspect to talk of a God of Love and a Merciful God unless that God is Universal in the sense that a connection exists within – every human being or none at all.
When religion becomes a club any universal connection is lost.
Anyway, just scratching a niggle in my mind because all this conviction in the ‘rightness of our cause’, all this belief in ‘imposing our will’ is being acted upon. Continuously and from every direction.
Easter has come and gone and comes around again. It’s a beautiful day here in the mountains, the first layer of autumn leaves has fallen and shoots of early daffodil start appearing among the Polyanthus – a bright coloured flower which thrives in mid winter adding splashes of cheer to the eye.