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Saturday, 27 March 2021

The High Priests’ Spy. A short story for ‘Spy Wednesday'

Modern Jerusalem: Passageway before dawn:
maybe a place for spies to meet even today!

In my reading of the Passion story, I have always thought of Judas as something of a ‘loner’ who takes his disastrous actions for reasons we will never know. And we will never know. But having come across the description of ’Spy Wednesday’ as a name for the Wednesday in Holy Week, I let my imagination weave some ideas together. 

The designation was, I understand, to prompt thinking about Judas as the spy in the midst of the community of the disciples. But what, I started to think, if there was a network of spies of which Judas was a part? Might that be an idea for a somewhat different speculation?

This is what emerged... another ‘Unreported Moment in First Century Jerusalem'

The High Priests’ Spy.

To the people of Jerusalem and the villages

I’m a leather seller.

Go up country, always on my own;

return with sandals, purses,

patterned wrist bands

and thin necklaces to take a pendant.

It should be a good living

if it wasn’t for the greed of the itinerant sellers.

 

So, years ago I was desperate.

One night when I was near starving

a man looms out of a dark passageway

and asks me if I’d like to make more money

than at that time I could ever dream of.

What’s the expression?

Bit his hand off, I did.

 

Mostly it’s easy money.

Hang out in the bazaars or alleys of the City,

or the villages; 

listen to the gossip about local teachers

or others who are gathering round

and following them.

 

Wait until dark.

Creep into the deep

shadows of the Temple walls.

Wait, report back.

Silver and sometimes gold,

in hand – simple.

 

Then came a more specific commission:

‘Find and follow Jesus of Nazareth.

Seek out and befriend the most dissatisfied

among his followers: someone who might betray

the blasphemer’, as they called him, at the right moment.

 

So, I become a hanger-on.

Always in the background,

just close enough to watch the comings and goings.

Occasionally close enough to hear what this Jesus

was saying, doing.

 

If it wasn’t for the spy-money, I might

have been persuaded by his ideas.

But they weren’t going to make me a living.

 

Enough of me.

What about the task in hand?

The weak link.

 

Not difficult really.

It was Judas of Kerioth,

the money-man.

No surprise there then!

Strange how greed grasps its victims.

 

So I follow this Judas

waiting for him to detach himself from the others.

I watch to see where the money he steals is spent.

I’ll leave that to your imagination!

Gives me scope for blackmail.

And that, my contact tells me, delights the High Priests. 

 

Judas proved all I could have hoped for.

A Zealot at heart.

When I first befriended him

he was beginning to get impatient with Jesus.

His hopes had been that Jesus

was the promised Messiah

who, with his followers

would overthrow the Romans.

 

By then he was realizing the improbability of that.

Jesus preached ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’;

not a message Judas wanted to hear at all.

 

Clearly Judas could not discuss his impatience

with any of the other followers:

so an itinerant trader with a listening ear

made a good confidante.

Whenever I ‘happened to’ bump into him,

I could always guarantee he’d bring me up to date

with the latest story laced with his irritation

– duly relayed by my shadowy contact

to the High Priests.

 

Naturally I had to prove my worth to them. 

So I concentrated on the wonder-working;

the dead brought to life, 

Capernaum’s Synagogue leader’s daughter,

the dead son of a widow of Nain.

 

A big crowd fed from a mother’s

provision for her boy to eat out in the hills

to allow him to follow the teacher for a whole day:

thousands fed from that meagre supply,

according to Judas.

 

With other tales woven in,

Judas always had a new story for me to tell

with little bits of detail that gave them credence.

So, although I never saw any of these things happen

My reporting back always had a ‘ring of truth’ to it.

 

Then the stories from Bethany. 

Another raised from the dead:

Expensive ointment poured over Jesus’ feet

then washed by a woman’s hair. 

That really got Judas worked up.

All the money that would have cost –

just wasted!

He was furious –

and that was when he told me his longer-term thoughts.

 

If Jesus changed his tactics

and turned his many followers against Rome

he’d be up alongside Jesus

and bring in supplies of daggers and swords 

which I could help him buy.

We’d both be rolling in it!

 

But if that didn’t happen,

Judas saw the whole of Jesus’ teaching

fading into nothing.

So he planned to keep ‘borrowing’ from the common purse

until he had enough to buy a field

to give him food or rent or both, 

for whenever he had to work out a new future for himself.

 

Then came the big disappointment for Judas.

Bethany’s miracle and money-wasting behind them.

The crowd growing and growing 

as Jesus made for Jerusalem.

‘Hosannas!’

‘Blessings on the one who is coming’.

‘Messiah!’,

Cheering, waving palms,

coats on the floor.

Just the time to whip up the gathering, growing, manipulable crowd,

and with sheer force of numbers

overcome the Roman legion occupying Jerusalem.

 

This could be IT!

 

But from somewhere Jesus had found a donkey!

Yes – a donkey – not a powerful war horse,

A DONKEY!

To ride into the City.

 

Judas was incandescent.

 

That gave me just the chance I’d been looking for.

 

Backwards and forwards to the High Priests.

 

Yes, if Judas would identify Jesus in the dark somewhere, 

away from the crowds, they’d pay him enough

to let him buy one of the fields on the market.

 

I could hint at 20, 30, 40 pieces of silver.

 

I imagined Judas almost salivating at that offer.

 

‘Hey, Judas…’

 


Other imagined ‘Unreported Moments from First Century Jerusalem’ can be found HERE.

 

 

Cascade of Stars and Gas (Imagined image: CGI)

Cascade of Stars and Gas (Imagined image: CGI)
Cascade of Stars and Gases. This image will take you to the meditation 'Deep Silence'

Wildfires: Evidence of Climate Chaos

Wildfires: Evidence of Climate Chaos
Wildfires: Evidence of Climate Chaos

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)

Butterfly Nebula (CGI)
The Imaginary Butterfly Nebula . Anything like this would be a real Curiosity! The image will link you to the reflection titled 'Curiosity' which is actually a celebration of the achievement of landing the Mars Rover of that name

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe

Ten thousand billion suns - A scintilla of God’s Universe
It is currently thought that the Universe has at least 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! Hence the use of the word ‘scintilla’ for a mere ten thousand billion.

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)

Cross and Particle Accelerator (CGI)
Cross and Particle Accelerator. The words of 'A Prayer for Understanding' can be viewed by clicking on this image

Nebula (Embroidery)

Nebula (Embroidery)
Nebula (Embroidery) to accompany the poem 'Invitation' which can be found by clicking on the image.

Nativity Star (CGI)

Nativity Star (CGI)
Nativity Star: This image will link you to the collection of new Carols on this site. Also, the image can easily be copied onto an overhead acetate and used as a window decoration. Easy for children to achieve. Note the cross at the centre of the star.

Orange Galaxy

Orange Galaxy
'Orange Galaxy' posted to accompany 'Bounded and Boundless'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth

Cosmic Ikon 8 Moth
Cosmic Ikon 8: Moth Nebula(imagined-acrylic) The Gold field of deep space is intended to convey the Lordship of Christ over the whole of the Cosmos

Surprise garden rose (Photo)

Surprise garden rose (Photo)
This beautiful head of roses in our garden, which are giving off a delightful perfume in the morning sun, seems a fitting picture to link to the sonnet 'Evolution and Beauty'. Let the picture take you there. It is a surprise because it is growing high on a bush of otherwise pure yellow roses: amazing!

Cross and Vortex

Cross and Vortex
'Cross and Vortex' to accompany 'Stars and Planets Sing Your Glory'. Click on the image to go to the poem/hymn.

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)

Gaseous Cosmic Threads (Mixed media)
Gaseous Cosmic Threads: Mixed media - acrylics and painted threads

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)

St Francis’ Sky (Photo)
Warm Umbrian Hills: Click image to take you to the poem St Francis' Sky

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower

Cosmic Icon 7 Summerflower
Cosmic Icon 7 - Summerflower Nebula (Acrylic)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)

Cosmic Labyrinth (CGI)
'Cosmic Labyrinth' - This icon is a symbol of the path through the near reaches of the Cosmos with its 'Havens' where current advances in science (2012/13) are celebrated. By clicking on the picture you will be taken to the latest version of the poem of the same name.

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)

Cross of Autumn Leaves (cropped Photo)
Time, perhaps to consider a restorative break before the approach of Advent/ Christmas. Let this image take you to 'On Drawing Apart'.

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)

IONA: The Marble Quarry (Photo)
On the South shore of Iona is a bay which shows the industrial scarring of a beautiful place. Read of it by clicking on the picture

Celtic cross candle (Photo)

Celtic cross candle (Photo)
Celtic Cross and candle' linked to the poem 'Awesome, Wonderful Creator'. Go to the poem by clicking on the image.

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)

Light of the World amidst stars (CGI)
'Light of the world' posted to accompany 'To Light'. Find the poem by clicking on the image.

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)

Iona from Fionnphort (Watercolour)
Iona from Fionnphort. At this point of the Isle of Mull, the end of a pilgrimage or trip to Iona is in sight. Click on this picture to take you to the poem 'IONA - The Pilgrim Way'

My Mesh Mask for Radiotherapy

My Mesh Mask for Radiotherapy
This is the mask which was moulded to my face to ensure the radiotherapy I had in April 2017 was precisely targeted. You can read more by clicking on the image

Double Celebration

Double Celebration
Pam, who has been magnificent in caring for me since my Cancer diagnosis in October and I celebrate the end of Radiotherapy and our 36th Wedding Anniversary (Note the return of some hair!). Click on the image to read about the treatment - and waiting.

St Neots Sunset (Photo)

St Neots Sunset (Photo)
Surrounded by beauty: Whie 'Evolution and Beauty' became one of the most viewed poems on this blog, Pam, my wife took this gorgeous picture of a sunset over the flatlands of Cambridgeshire UK. Click on it to go to the poem

Gabriel - written/painted by Pam, my wife in 2015

Gabriel - written/painted by Pam, my wife in 2015
Gabriel began the Christmas story with his visit to Mary. The story is told in our Christmas collection in the Carol, Go to Nazareth My Great Messenger. Click on this image to take you there.

Maple Leaf Nebula (CGI)

Maple Leaf Nebula (CGI)
IMAGINARY IMAGE TO CELEBRATE CANADA DAY: Click on this his imaginary 'Maple Leaf Nebula' to take you to a poem entitled 'Nebula' (image not to be confused with NGC 2024, the Flame Nebula which is also known as the Maple Leaf)

Beauty in the Garden - June 2016

Beauty in the Garden - June 2016
Beauty in the Garden - June 2016

Aurora Imagined over Iona (Watercolour & pastel)

Aurora Imagined over Iona (Watercolour & pastel)
First posted here on Adomnan’s day (23rd September) 2015. An imagined natural phenomenom that could be seen to resonate mystically with the idea of Iona being a ‘thin place’ where heaven brushes earth.

Assisi Sunset

Assisi Sunset
Assisi Sunset

Thinking about the Brain

Thinking about the Brain
This image is formed from a small section of neural pathways posted by the Koch Institute, clipped, part inverted and stitched together. It is intended to impart a sense of our extensive, but still partial understanding of what goes on in that awesome part of our bodies, our brains. By clicking on the image, you will be taken to a celebratory poem/song ‘For Amazement by Beauty’ about all of our senses.

Source (CGI by Trevor Thorn)

Source (CGI by Trevor Thorn)
Source: Expand the image to reveal its heart

Rainbow spiral (CGI)

Rainbow spiral (CGI)
'Rainbow Spiral' to accompany 'Darkness,Illuminator' . Find the poem by clicking on the iImagined mage

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)

Cross and simple Prayer rope (Photo)
Cross and simple prayer rope: make one like this to use as an aid to using ‘The Jesus Prayer'