Simon’s Son… April 5, 2012

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From Safford, Arizona

Simon fathered a boy–a delightful young lad–his only son. “Proud” could not possibly describe the experience that occurred in Simon’s soul over having such an opportunity–to have an heir and a young, fertile mind in which to plant great ideas and dreams.

He taught the boy to love God, because without the love of the Divine, the appreciation of the earthly is often tainted. He taught his son to be loyal to his family. After all, there is nothing greater than family. He instructed his fine pupil in the value of loyalty to your country–being willing to stand up for liberty and independence. He shared with him that generosity to the poor is a great way to please God and also a signal to your neighbors of the purity of your motives. He taught his son that government interference in the choices of its citizens should be limited, allowing for the population to grow, prosper and expand.

He was pleased when his young fellow grew into a man and offered his talents to the resistance party. Even though his child was not a warrior, he possessed great skill in communication, negotiation–and also had a knack for finance. After all, even freedom fighters need an accountant.

He was a bit surprised when his son ended up in Bethabarra by the Jordan with a new movement that promoted the idea that repentance and immersion in water replaced debate and standing up against tyranny. Yet he never questioned him. After all, all young people go through phases and as he got older, he would return to his moorings and roots.

But when his son chose to join forces with a Galilean, it was time to object. Simon was a proud citizen of Kerioth, a town in Judea.  Now, Simon did not feel that Judeans were better than Galileans, but the natural pecking order in both the physical and spiritual worlds seemed to have produced such evidence. Galilee was poor, absent loyalty to the country and too preoccupied with sustenance to be of much use to the common good. Judeans were faithful to both God and country, and were prepared to do whatever was necessary to free themselves from the interference of government and the tyranny of foreign influence.

But Simon loved his son. He realized that there is a season of reflection, when every man questions his values and wanders into the oblivion of possibilities for a brief season, to then return to the righteous struggle.

Simon loved Judas. Nothing could change that love. He was proud that Judas had found a place of high regard in this new movement, one of the top twelve–even though it was spawned in Galilee.

But today he had received news that his hope and dream–his prodigy and the symbol of his destiny–was dead.

Simon decided to make a journey to Jerusalem to try to trace the last days of his beloved Judas. It was difficult to find anyone who would talk to him. Apparently those associated with the new movement had escaped into private chambers or were completely unwilling to meet with the father of the man they knew as a traitor.

A traitor. Simon could not imagine his Judas betraying anyone. Loyalty to family, country and God had been the bulwark of their household philosophy.

Finally one of the women from the Nazarene‘s camp–a lady named Mary of Magdala–agreed to meet with him. He was a little uncomfortable to be discussing such important matters with a woman, but decided that something was better than nothing. He had only one question.

“Who killed my beloved son?”

Mary paused, eyeing him carefully, contemplating how to share the truth. She had no desire to hurt this father’s feelings. She had no wish to bring judgment on a man who was once a friend and now lay dead by his own hand. The delay troubled Simon, agitating his soul.  He asked again.

“Tell me, woman.  Who killed my Judas?”

Mary drew a deep breath. “I don’t know. And sir, I’m glad I don’t know. For Judas loved his country, but in the midst of his affection and devotion, his country changed. Judas loved the poor but didn’t realize that they would never go away and that merely casting coins in their direction was not a resolution to the problem. Judas believed in a religious system that was evolving from true Godliness to a safe Godliness that included greed and too much nationalism. Judas was my friend–but he forgot how to be a friend to the one who befriended him the most. So when our master asked him to stretch his mind and expand his heart to believe in things he did not yet comprehend, Judas returned to his training, his instincts and his security instead of abandoning them for the quest for the Kingdom of God.”

 Simon was aggravated. “You didn’t answer my question. Who killed Judas?” he asked.

Mary, without pausing, replied, “Religion. Tradition. Fear of being out of the mainstream. Insecurity. Selfishness. Hurt feelings. Jealousy. Nationalism. Wanting revolution instead of revelation. Money. Acceptance. And … probably mainly horror over being different for a season, to be right forever.”

Simon tried to interrupt, but Mary continued. “Your son betrayed. You see, it wouldn’t be a betrayal if the end result had been the betterment of mankind. But our master, Jesus, called him the ‘son of hell.’ I remember when I heard those words come from his lips, I thought to myself, ‘This is too harsh.’ But then I realized that hell exists whenever we believe that God is merely in heaven and not in the hearts of our brothers and sisters. And anyone who tries to stop God from loving people instead of just statues, countries and causes becomes hell’s son.”

Simon departed without saying another word. This woman was obviously deluded, as females often were. He went back to Kerioth feeling cheated and robbed of his only begotten son. Was there any truth to Mary’s words? Had he failed as a father? What was wrong with believing in God, family and country? What was wrong with objecting to government interference? What was wrong with being a patriot?

Six months later Simon passed away, still grief-stricken over the loss of his son. He never got to hear the words of Jesus. The only thing the name “Jesus” meant to him was that the son he had raised to be a good Jew was dead–because he had followed this teacher.

Simon had a son. He named him Judas–in honor of the great warrior who had fought for the Jewish people, Maccabees. His son grew up to be a man–a dastardly deceiver–the one who betrayed the Prince of Life.

**************

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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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