Good Samaritan 10C, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, July 10, 2019

12 step Eucharist 5:30 St Mark’s July 10, 2019 Good Samaritan 10C

Why was the Samaritan traveler moved to stop and help and care for the man he saw who was near death on the road to Jericho? Perhaps had he or a family member or a friend been in that situation before and someone helped him?

Ken Burn’s television series on the Civil War describes a remarkable scene that takes place on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg July 3, 1913, when what is left of the two armies stages a reenactment of Pickett’s charge. The old Union veterans on the ridge take their places among the rocks, and the old Confederate veterans start marching toward them across the field below,/ and then something extraordinary happens. As the old men among the rocks rush down at the old men coming across the field, a great cry goes up, only instead of doing battle as they had a century earlier, this time they throw their arms around each other and embrace each other and openly weep.

In 1914 during World War I, German, British, Belgian, French troops in the trenches mingled with each other along the western front and sang Silent Night and other carols during a brief Christmas truce. We have seen this today at World II memorials where German and English and French and American soldiers weep together at Normandy and share their stories. We have seen it recently when American soldiers return to Vietnam to share stories with those who were their enemies. This repeated action of shared love and story with those who once were the enemy can tell us something about war. Many of those who have been there can be our strongest advocates against war. They know what they and those who once were their enemies have lost. They share a common awful experience that only someone who has been there can understand.

Those in Recovery from addiction also know how awful that life of obsession was for alcohol, drugs, sex, food, etc. They can relate to those who are still in their addiction. Most of all they can offer hope to those who are still suffering that their life can be different. They do this by sharing their story of what their life was like in addiction and now what it is like in recovery.

Those who have mental illness who are treated can be advocates for others who suffer this common disease as well. Those who were once homeless can offer that kind of hope. Cancer survivors reach out to others recently diagnosed and give them strength and hope. This story goes on and on and on. We are healed as we reach out of ourselves and share our story and listen to others in a pain we know all too well. This is giving thanks for someone who reached out to us. This is called paying it forward. This is called becoming a wounded healer like our friend the Good Samaritan.


Pentecost 9C Sending of the 70 and More, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Little Rock, AR, July 7, 2019, Luke 10:1-12, 16-20

Pentecost 9C July 7, 2019

Sending of the 70. and More, Luke 10:1-12, 16-20

St. Mark’s

In the name of him who sends us out from this holy place. Amen.

Here we are in church on the Sunday after the American holiday par excellence, the 4th of July. For many the sound of firecrackers are still merging with the tones of the Gloria and the Sanctus. Perhaps you were at Christine and Tim’s American concert last Sunday or at St. Margaret’s on Wednesday when we officially celebrated the 4th on July or plan to stay for the patriotic songfest in the parish hall after the 10:30 service.

Many others may still be celebrating, but we are particularly here today because we have decided to hear what Jesus says on this American holiday weekend. Actually, Jesus does decide physically to come to St. Mark’s on this hot summer day to talk about his vision for us and the seventy.1/ I think I see him. There he is. He looks all worn out and tired./ His hair is a mess, his clothes are ringing wet with sweat and dirt. His sandals are about to come apart. He does have that determined look of Uncle Sam as he looks around at those of us here pointing his finger and saying, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, and I’m appointing you.” Then, he holds out those huge callused hands over our heads/ and gives a powerful prayer that travels throughout our bodies like an electric current, giving us authority over demons, illness, even death./ Jesus finishes praying/, and we timidly look around with one eye at our neighbors to see if anybody else looks any different on the outside. Then we reach into our head and heart to see if anything has changed inside of us./ Are we wiser, more competent? Not sure. But, we do feel blessed,/ and curious about what will happen next.

Then Jesus starts calling names: Jim, David, Kristin, Vicki, Sally, Tricia, Patti, Mallory,/ Kay, Lucy, Trudi, Kathy, Gina, Brent, Wayne, Jill, Donna Kay, Bill, Penny, Cindy, Robert, Susan, go build a Food Pantry./ Helen, Jan, David, Kim, John,/ Jerry, Vicki, Daphne, Robert, Linda, Steve, Joe,/ I want you to take communion to the sick. Lynn, Dean, Drew, Chanel, Michelle, Linda I want you to heal the sick. Celia, Viki, Bev, Marion, Joan, Cindy, Steve, I need prayer shawls. Tina, Janis, Freida, Bev, Len, Steve, Pat Gerre, Shirley, Carlene, Bob, Celia, Linda, Marie, feed the hungry and work with homeless veterans at St. Francis House. Mary, Susan, Tricia, Linda, Janis, comfort those who mourn. Janet, Ginger,/ go to Guatemala./ Cathy, Michele, Katherine Ann, David, Linda, go to the Stewpot. St. Mark’s youth, go help Hall High. Danny, Michael, Susan, Luke Ashley, Patricia, care for the sick. / Tracy, care for the LGBT community. DOK, Christ Care groups, pray for and serve others./ Leave wallets, pocketbooks here, everybody. You’ll be traveling on foot, maybe even barefoot. You won’t need a backpack. Make no reservations. God will provide. People will better understand your ministry if you are not encumbered with possessions./ Here’s what I need you to do: preach the kingdom,/ heal the sick,/ welcome the outcasts, cast out evil spirits. It’s summer. It’s July. It’s hot and I need a weekend off!/ You all have a great time. I can’t WAIT to hear the stories you bring back. Now get out of here! Go, go, go!!////

It may not happen exactly this way every Sunday at St. Mark’s, but it happens all the same. At the end of every service, while the last word of the last hymn is still ringing in our ears, the deacon from the back of the church says, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!.”

These are not words for the consumers of God’s love. These are words for the providers.

We have heard this story about Jesus’ sending of the disciples for so long, we may have forgotten our job descriptions. We forget that we are given exactly the same assignments that Jesus himself is given. It could have been different. Barbara Brown Taylor reminds us that Jesus could have insisted that we remain his ASSISTANTS, for our own safety, to avoid malpractice suits. He could have asked us to mix the mud while he heals blind people, or take off the bandages while he cleanses lepers, or hold the baskets while he feeds the hungry. Instead, Jesus TRANSFERS his ministry to us while he is still alive. With little training or instruction, Jesus sends us out “to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely.”2

I am especially thinking on this national holiday weekend about people who politically hear this call and go out with the 70 “with no purse, no bag, no sandals, like lambs into the midst of wolves to bring Peace to this house.” Unarmed they “tread on snakes and scorpions, and all the power of the enemy.”//

In 1957, the parents of the nine black students trying to enter Central High are not allowed to accompany their children, but their ministers may. A call goes out to black and white ministers to walk with the students. Only two white ministers respond. One is a Presbyterian minister, Dunbar Ogden. His son wrote a book about his father’s experience called, My Father Said Yes. This is how Rev. Ogden describes that morning on September 4, when he first meets the students:3 “ I can’t say the children looked afraid. The word I would use to describe them is thoughtful. They looked just like any eight boys and girls of high school age, fine clean-cut, youngsters. I had an impulse to throw my arms around them and I thought: they’re so much like the young people in my church, so much like the young people in my home.

One of the Negro men came over to me and said, ‘Well, Reverend Ogden, are you going with us?’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t know.’ And he said, ‘Well, you know at 8:10 we’re going to start walking.’ And everyone was silent.

“And I thought something should be said, being a minister, I guess. I didn’t actually offer a prayer but I said, ‘Now, young people, you are doing something this morning that takes a lot of faith and courage. We don’t know what that mob is going to try to do to you. But we know it is a very bad situation. I want you to remember your own Martin Luther King and what he said about non-violence. There was a man named Gandhi in India and he had the same idea and he helped to win the freedom of his people. Of course, there was one whom we call Jesus Christ and it is written that when he was reviled, he reviled not again.’

And about this time, a Negro came over and said, ‘it’s 8:09 now. Are you going with us or not?’

I said, ‘I don’t know.’

And he said, ‘Reverend Ogden, isn’t it about time you make up your mind?’

And then, I can say more in retrospect, this had the effect of making me feel yes, I had to make up my mind whether I was going all the way.

And then I had a very strange feeling, that we describe as something of a prophetic experience. I had the strange feeling, as clear as day, and I felt this is right; this is what I should do.

There was not the slightest doubt but that I should do it. I ought to do it. And I felt this was the will of God for me, {and} every bit of fear just drained out.

‘All right,’ my father said. ‘I will go with you.’”3

In that moment Ogden makes a choice that will change his life, and the course of history. He walks down Park Street toward Central High. He does not look back. Shortly afterwards, Rev. Ogden is asked by his congregation to leave Little Rock. His son David who walks with him later dies a tragic death partially related to their participation./

We owe so much to these people and so many more who were sent out before us here in this city. //

So, take a midsummer’s break, a relaxing day waving the flag, grilling, catching a few rays as you tune in the last innings of the ball game,/ and continue to celebrate the Fourth of July on this weekend. Relax. Enjoy.

But remember that during the heat of the summer months Jesus reminds us in our baptismal covenant to go out of these doors just like so many BEFORE us.4 Somewhere along the way, Jesus calls each of us to leave our wallet, our luggage, and our spare clothes in the closet; we will take in a deep breath and head out into places we never imagined in the name of Christ. Maybe we will be sent to comfort a friend in the hospital, maybe to speak a word of reconciliation to a neighbor or a family member, or stand up for injustice at our work. Maybe we will be called to pack groceries at the food pantry for someone we will never know, or find out the needs of our surrounding neighborhood, such as Hall High School. We may even be called to take a courageous stand at a public meeting./ Each step will be into the unknown, but by the grace of God our work will become a part of God’s work. Satan will fall from the sky like a flash of lightning, and names will be written in heaven.

May you have a blessed holiday./

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

1Barbara Brown Taylor, “Heaven at Hand,” Bread of Heaven, pp. 151-155.

2 “Ordination of a deacon,” Book of Common Prayer, p. 543

3Dunbar H. Ogden, My Father Said Yes: A White Pastor in Little Rock School Integration, pp. 26-27.

4Thomas Long, “’Today is….’ A Sermon for Sunday, July 4,” Journal for Preachers, Vol 27, no 4, Pentecost 2004, pp. 40-46.


Pentecost 12 Step Eucharist St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Little Rock, June 5, 2019 5:30 pm

Pentecost 12 step Eucharist June 5, 2019 St. Mark’s

“When the Day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind.” —Acts 2:1-2.

“ … [Jesus] breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” —John 20:22.

John 14:8-17, 25-27

Barbara Brown Taylor1 describes two versions of Pentecost: the gentle breeze in a later chapter of John, as Jesus breathes directly into the few fearfully gathered disciples on the night of his resurrection;/ and the violent wind of Pentecost described in Acts where the Holy Spirit sweeps in, hovering over the heads of more than a hundred people with tongues of fire. Soon after a following sermon by Peter, 3000 people gathered with them also received the Holy Spirit and were then baptized.

The few disciples at the gentle wind Pentecost are commissioned to take the Spirit breathed into them out into the world. The violent wind disciples are commissioned to fan the Holy Spirit that was released, spread, and poured out into the world that momentous day at nine in the morning. Taylor challenges us in our congregations to emulate the disciples in both Pentecost stories: those of the gentle breeze and those of the violent wind. Both groups are commissioned to find that Holy Spirit within themselves and others, and take it out of their congregations and meeting places out into the world./

Is the message of 12 step recovery a gentle breeze or a violent wind? Since it is a program of attraction, one might consider that 12 step recovery should be a gentle breeze. Ponder that at times it can be move in like a violent wind, especially when someone has a moment of clarity./

Now, if you really are wondering what it might be like that day when the Spirit of love moves through a large room of people who do not have a clue what is happening, watch the video of Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the morning of Pentecost Eve.

Bishop Curry first reminds us that when two people fall in love, nearly the whole world shows up, as it did on that Saturday morning. That is how important love is.

Bishop Curry tells us that love has the energy of fire; and his enthusiastic, passionate words are indeed comparable to the Pentecost flames running through St. George’s Chapel on that morning. Bishop Curry, himself, is so filled with the Spirit that at times he must hold on to his lectern to stay in place.

His body language signals that he wants to move out like the Spirit and directly make contact with the young couple and his whole congregation. As you watch people’s faces, you can tell they have no idea what to do with him or his barnstorming message. They look mystified, amused, indignant, comical, questioning. Some look down at their program so others cannot see what they are thinking. Others glance at their neighbors to seek a clue from them about what is happening. Some almost fall out of their chairs! Some look at Curry as if they are mesmerized.

Perhaps the ones who seem to understand his message best are indeed the royal wedding couple themselves—especially Meghan, who beams radiantly with an occasional twinkle through the whole sermon.

Bishop Curry’s presentation and delivery are not the British style; but his message of love is true to his Anglican and African roots. He speaks out of his African American tradition, drawing from his ancestors in slavery and out of his training in an Episcopal style that Americans modified from the Anglican form. Bishop Curry speaks his truth, which comes from deep inside of him—as all these traditions mesh and kindle tongues of fire from the power of love that sends flames around the world.

Curry is our role model of what it is like to be filled with the Spirit. With Pentecost fire, we have no choice but to speak the truth. Many people will not have a clue what we are saying; but everyone who receives us will be changed in some way.

Curry reminds us that the truth from God should always be about love: loving God, loving ourselves, and loving our neighbor. Period.

Love is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is also the work of Recovery.

1Barbara Brown Taylor, “God’s Breath” in Journal for Preachers, Pentecost 2003, pp 37-40.


Easter 6C An Improvisation on Love in Three Acts, John 14:23-29, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Little Rock, May 26, 2019

Easter 6C May 26, 2019 St. Mark’s

John 14:23-29

An Improvisation on Love in 3 Acts

Act I The Present: this Sunday

‘“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’”

A Little Rock police officer pulls over a car on Cantrell just as the car approaches Mississippi. He asks the driver for his license and registration. “What’s wrong, officer?” the driver asks. “I certainly was not speeding.”

“No, you weren’t” says the officer, “but I saw you giving that obscene gesture as you swerved around the woman driving in the left lane. Then I saw your flushed and angry face as you shouted at the driver in the Hummer who cut you off.”

“Is that a crime, officer?”

“No, but when I saw the St. Mark’s sticker and the ‘Love Lives Here’ bumper sticker on your car, I decided, “This car must be stolen!”

Act II

The Past: Almost 20 centuries ago

‘“Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”’

The last supper is over. Everyone’s feet are clean. Jesus’ hands are still wrinkled from washing all of them when he begins what is called his Farewell Discourse. Jesus’ family is gathered around him and he begins reading the traditional dramatic last testament given by the head of a household just before he dies. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’”

Jesus goes on like this for three more chapters, telling his disciples at least 15 times in total that he is leaving them. It sounds like he is heading off to a family reunion with his father and is leaving them in charge while he is gone. He will be back, but meanwhile his director’s cut raises anxiety in his disciples about how long he will be away and how are they going to manage without him. /

Jesus continues: “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in my name will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.’”

Jesus does make an earth shattering, unbelievable return engagement on Easter Day, but then he again exits stage right!

Act III Scene one

The Present and the Past

“’Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’”

A little while becomes a long while. A long while becomes a lifetime, a hundred years, two thousand years. From our seats in the nosebleed section of the balcony, we are so distanced from this scene that we wonder if we have NOT been abandoned after all.

We know heart wrenching dramas about children left in charge of their families when their parents are absent. They become responsible individuals before they are ready. They grow up sooner than they planned. This may be how the disciples are feeling. /

That night Jesus keeps rehearsing them (and us) for just this kind of separation by talking about love, a new kind of love, not the ethical demand to love one’s neighbor, or to love one’s enemies, but to move off center stage to a love like his that brings a peace which the world cannot give. Loving is the only commandment that Jesus explicitly insists his disciples keep. Ignoring it is not an option./

We cry out! “Jesus, this commandment, this role we are assigned is too broad, too difficult, impossible! If the people of your own community who lived intimately beside you two thousand years ago have difficulty following your direction, how do you expect us today to know how to love each other as you do?” We continually fail, forget our lines, fail the audition for the part. Jesus, we need help. How can we possibly perform this role?”/

Act III Scene 2 today 2019

“’Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’”

The house lights come all the way up!!

Jesus stands up from his director’s chair and looks straight at each of us: “OK, OK, I see you still need more help. Little company, the Father and I will make our home with you. I will also ask the Father to send in my name, a personal manager, an agent who will come and stay and prompt you and remind you of all your lines.

“I am going away, and I am coming to you.” / Not a Sunday matinee visit. Not a weekend pass. Not a one-night stand. The father and I and the Holy Spirit will come to you and make our home within you.

John is telling us about a permanent home. In fact, John refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit at least 26 times in these four chapters making up Jesus’ final discourse. Unfortunately, John is a little fuzzy on the details as he often is. He does suggest that we will know the presence of the Spirit of love within us when we know a peace that is different from the peace the world gives. We later learn that it is a peace that is a fruit of the Spirit associated with love, joy, patience,, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22, 23)/

We begin to digest what we are hearing.

So THIS is how we learn to love the way Jesus loves, because he is now inside of us and he is promising to send the Holy Spirit also to be inside of us. We can only follow through on this otherwise impossible new role to love as Christ loves when we are directed, managed by the Holy Spirit and Christ within, inside of us. /

Jesus doesn’t say to his disciples and us, “I’m going to leave you, but I want you to remember everything I’ve ever taught you by getting up each morning and going over the Sermon on the Mount, word for word, so you won’t forget it, so you will have all my teachings at your fingertips when you need them./

Jesus doesn’t say to John, “John, now I want you to get busy and write a book. Call it the Gospel According to John. That way, everyone will have all my words, just as I spoke them to you. Anytime anyone is in trouble, he or she can just open that book, turn and point to just the right verse, and the answer will be right there. Just look it up!”/

Jesus doesn’t say to his disciples, “Now I’m going to appoint Peter as disciple number one. John, you are disciple number two. The rest of you will need to submit to and follow number one and two. They’re in charge when I leave. Anytime you have some tough question, just go ask number one and he will make a ruling on the matter.”

Jesus does not say any of this. What he tells his disciples and us is that he is leaving himself and the Holy Spirit within us. We now have to learn a whole new way of communicating since God is not only outside of us but now inside us. If we want to talk with Jesus, now we may have to sit down some place quiet, off stage, and listen very carefully for the sound of the wind blowing through us, for the sound of the still small voice that speaks in silence more often than it speaks in those soliloquies that just blurt out of us. Listen for that still small voice that will not go away, no matter how hard we try to ignore it, especially when we hear it in community./ Look for a peace that is very different from the peace the world gives, a peace that develops from relationships, not fear.

That night before Christ dies is the dress rehearsal for the guest appearance of the Holy Spirit, the Father, and Christ within us. Look and listen for them in the quiet places of our mind and body and soul. Connect to them, listen to them, nurture them, share them. KEEP the love they bring to our head and our heart and our soul. When we connect to the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit within,/ then we keep that love by getting up/ out of our reserved seat/ and GIVING it away.


Barbara Taylor Brown, “Good News for Orphans,” Gospel Medicine (Cowley 1995) pp. 79-83.

“Fear and Driving,” Homilectics, May 2004, pp; 26-30.

Richard Donovan, Sermonwriter for Easter 5C, 2004.

Eugene Peterson, “The Story Behind the Story,” Journal for Preachers, Pentecost 2003, pp. 4-8.

William Willimon, “The Living Reminder,” Pulpit Resources, vol. 32, May 2004, p. 31.

Judas, Easter 5C, May 19, 2019, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Little Rock, AR, 5 pm

Judas Easter 5C, May 19, 2019, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Little Rock, Arkansas, 5 pm

John 13:31-35

(“At the last supper, when Judas had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.) If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.' I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

I think often of Judas. At the National Cathedral they have statues for all the disciples at the high altar, but for Judas there is an empty nitch. Was what he did so terrible that he should be written off as one of the world’s greatest villains? I don’t know about you, but I betray God every day. I deny him by turning my back on people I meet whom I cannot see the Christ within them. I spend money on personal luxuries that should be used to help the poor. I struggle with an overindulgence in food.

There is a Gnostic gospel of Judas that does portray Judas as a hero, believing that what Judas did was God’s plan and that he was acting on Jesus’ intimate instructions for him alone. The canonical gospels present a different story. Judas becomes more and more evil as you read from Mark to Matthew to Luke to John. Judas is described in John as evil, the devil from the beginning. In Luke the devil enters Judas only at the last supper.

I can’t really go with the Gnostic gospel, but I do believe that Judas might not have been so different from the other disciples? Peter denied him. The rest of them abandoned him. None spoke up for him. Paul, his greatest missionary, persecuted Jesus’ followers. /

Matthew (27:1-10) tells us that when Judas realizes what he has done, he tries to return the 30 pieces of silver he is paid to betray Jesus and then hangs himself. The book of Acts (1:18-19) says that Judas falls on a field he buys with the money and dies a painful death./

What is different about Judas from the other disciples? Judas cannot forgive himself and feel God’s forgiveness for what he has done even after he repents and tries to make things right. This is such a crucial part of 12-step recovery. Realizing the harm we have done to others, making amends, and accepting God’s forgiveness that is so freely given. And we must do this daily. And Judas is our icon of what we will become if we cannot make amends and accept God’s freely given forgiveness and love.

Theologian Morton Kelsey wrote a very practical book more than fifty years ago called The Other Side of Silence: A Guide to Christian Meditation, as well as a revised edition, published twenty years later called The Other Side of Silence: Meditation for the Twenty-first Century. 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 stories, dream images, poems, and images from other sources.

Included in Kelsey’s book is a moving poem, “The Ballad of Judas Iscariot,” by the Scottish poet, Robert Buchanan, which I read and meditate on every Easter season. It reminds us that no one is lost or unforgiven or unloved by God. The ballad must have been powerful when sung. The story is of Judas wandering through regions of darkness until he spies a light from a lantern at a doorway. Jesus is holding up the light, and he beckons to Judas to come in and join his fellow disciples who are getting ready to eat. Jesus tells Judas that they have always been waiting for him before pouring the wine.

I offer the poem also to spiritual friends who feel they have done something unforgivable, or 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 of what happens when we cannot accept that we might be forgiven or loved. He is an icon of what it is like when we have difficulty opening ourselves to God’s Grace offered continuously through dark and light times in our life. In all honesty, is Judas’ betrayal of Jesus really worse than denying Jesus or abandoning him or persecuting his followers or denying him as the others did? Judas simply can not ask for or accept forgiveness. Judas has forgotten that the God of his understanding is a loving and forgiving God.

Here are a few lines from this ancient poem

'Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot
Came with a weary face —
Alone, alone, and all alone,
Alone in a lonely place!

He wandered east, he wandered west,
And heard no human sound;
For months and years, in grief and tears,
He wandered round and round,

For months and years, in grief and tears,
He walked the silent night;
Then the soul of Judas Iscariot
Perceived a far-off light.

A far-off light across the waste,
As dim as dim might be,
That came and went like the lighthouse gleam
On a black night at sea.

'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 beckon'd, smiling sweet;
'Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot
Stole in, and fell at his feet.

{the bridegroom speaks}

'The Holy Supper is spread within,
And the many candles shine,
And I have waited long for thee
Before I poured the wine!'

{Then}The supper wine is poured at last,
The lights burn bright and fair,
Iscariot washes the Bridegroom's feet,
And dries them with his hair.

Robert Buchanan, “The Ballad of Judas Iscariot”

From Miscellaneous Poems and Ballads, 1878-83.

Joanna Seibert.