Forgiveness and Judas Escariot

The Ballad of Judas Escariot

“Twas the Bridegroom sat at the table-head

         And the lights burned bright and clear-

“Oh, who is that?” the Bridegroom said,

         “Whose weary feet I hear?”

“Twas one looked from the lighted hall,

         And answered soft and slow,

“It is a wolf runs up and down

         With a black track in the snow.”

The Bridegroom in his robe of white

         Sat at the table-head-

“Oh, who is that who moans without?”

         The blessed Bridegroom said.

“Twas one looked from the lighted hall,

         And answered fierce and low,

“Tis the soul of Judas Iscariot

         gliding to and fro.”

“Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot

         Did hush itself and stand,

And saw the Bridegroom at the door

         With a light in his hand.

“Twas the Bridegroom stood at the open door,

         And beckoned, smiling sweet;

“Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot

         Stole in and fell at his feet.

“The Supper is spread within,

         And the many candles shine,

And I have waited long for thee

         Before I poured the wine!”

Robert Buchanan in The Other Side of Silence, a Guide to Christian Meditation, Morton T. Kelsey 1976.

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Theologian, Morton Kelsey wrote this practical book over fifty years ago to remind Christians that meditation was not just for those in Eastern religions.  His revised edition twenty years later is called The Other Side of Silence, Meditation for the Twenty-first Century has more of his writings and wisdom in a time when Christian meditation now is more well-known. Kelsey believes that meditation is simply the way we set up the conditions to prepare for the God who is seeking us and breaks through to us particularly in silence. “Doing meditation” involves using Biblical stores, dream images, poems, images from other sources.

 This poem about Judas by the Scottish poet, Robert Buchanan, is included in Kelsey’s book and should be read and meditated on every Easter, reminding us that no one is lost or not forgiven or not loved by God. I offer it also to spiritual friends who feel they have done something unforgivable or that that God no longer loves them, and of course I meditate on it myself when that darkness of guilt or shame or a poor self-image surrounds me as well. Judas is a reminder and icon of times when we cannot accept that we might be forgiven or loved or might be open to God’s Grace continuously offered to all of us through dark and light times in our life. In all honestly, was Judas’ betrayal of Jesus really worse than denying Jesus or abandoning him as the others did? He simply could not ask for or accept forgiveness and had forgotten that the God of his understanding was a loving and forgiving God.