Palm Sunday, Year B, 2012

Listen to the sermon here.

 

In the room, she pours the nard over Jesus’ head, slowly.  It drips down his neck and soaks his tunic, some catches in his beard, reflects the light of the candles in the room.  Jesus can feel it soaking into his skin, feels it slippery between his fingers.

 

Later, Judas nervously walks, tap-tap-tapping his fingers in his empty pocket.  Breathing heavily, unable to shake the smell out of his nose.

 

In the room, she touches Jesus’ head.  She lays her hands on the healer, on the demon-chaser, on the resurrector of Lazarus.  She feels his curls, sees his cowlick, traces his part with her fingers.

 

Later, Judas in the dark, in the cold, sees the door.  He reaches out, feels its heft, waits for a moment. Breathes.

 

In the room, she ignores the murmurs.  She knows what she is doing.  For a year she’s been saving.  Her coins hidden in jars in the kitchen, under her mattress, buried in the garden.

 

Later, outside that door, Judas remembers.  Remembers having a job, having money in his pocket.  Remembers how easy it was to buy what he needed.  Remembers being respected, having prospects.  Remembers giving it all up, remembers the sacrifice, remembers following,.

 

In the room, she remembers.  Remembers her suffering, remembers how far Yahweh seemed, tucked into the temple, guarded by fierce, unsympathetic priests.  She remembers the very presence of God appearing, out of nowhere, and touching her, healing her.  She remembers how his words changed everything she thought she knew.  She remembers following.

 

Later, Judas faces the priests.  He shuffles his feet, looks down, speaks too fast, they have to ask him to repeat.  He does.  Slow grins light up their faces.  Judas feels relief and a surge of nausea all at once.

 

In the room, she feels Jesus’ warmth through her fingers.  She prays silent prayers.  Prayers that he might be spared, that he won’t feel alone, that he will know how loved he is.

 

In the room, Jesus sees them both.  Sees his death in both their eyes.  Sees her silent acknowledgement, feels her hands anointing him, blessing him.  Jesus sees Judas, too.  His shifty eyes and nervous hands.  His sneer.  His back.

 

Later, she wipes the perfume off her hands.  She hears about the soldiers.  She weeps.

 

Later, Judas feels the coins weigh down his pocket.  He runs his fingers through them, listens to them clink against each other.  Cold.  Hard.  Satisfying.  He looks around, realizes he is alone.

 

Later, she waits underneath the cross with the others.   She grips his mother’s hand.  She hears his last breath.  She experiences the deep silence, the emptiness, the end.

 

But later.  Oh, later!

 

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