While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.’ At once he came up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, do what you are here to do.’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?’ At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.’ Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. Matthew 26:47-56
Come Out With Swords
From a very private agonizing moment
praying alone in the night garden
to an agitated and violent mob scene
we are found in the midst of drama.
From this very intentional kiss
from a long time friend and colleague
to battle and blood in minutes
and we lean in to the thrill of it all.
God stands in the center of the battle lines
along the perimeter of the angry crowds
beside protestors and frightened guards
cradling the bruised and the bloodied.
God would come willingly and yet we won't
the incarnate One would dwell among us
we would barricade love behind steel bars
we would limit the possibility of God's presence.
We are created all of us from the same cloth
blood and sinew, rage and tenderness interwoven
brought forth and nourished by tender parents
destroyed by angry and hurting humans.
Let us return to the crime scene again
wondering what part we would have played
betrayer, runner or wounded slave
torch bearer, soldier or terrified onlooker.
Let us see the God in our midst today
in the midst of our violence and rhetoric
in our worst present terrifying moments
on the borderlands where aliens and God dwell.