Poetry: The Longest Night

#57 - The Night Light

 

As the universe and the sun set, so began the longest night…

 

We arrived at our last meal together.
Tonight it ends. They ask which one is my favorite.
Who is the greatest?
So I’ll wash their feet so they see love through service.

Here, right now, I wash the feet of my betrayer.
I look into his eyes, he looks into mine.
My friend, Judas. Why? After all we have been through
He smiles at me, as if I don’t know what is coming in a few hours
I fight back tears and anger.

I break bread, I serve them wine.
I tell them this is me, so they will always remember
Remember. Me…
I can’t hold it back any longer.
I tell them, one of them will betray me.
One of them, one of my friends will…
The favorite talk quickly turns to accusation and denial.
“Who would do this? “Oh, I would never betray you.”
I want to believe Peter, I do. But I know.
I know how the night will end, denied thrice before the rooster awakens the sun.

Judas and I both reach for bread and lock eyes again.
His eyes are wide open, but I see the Deceiver behind his eyes.
The true betrayer, from the very beginning of time.
The Deceiver winks at me, and Judas runs away.
Before the rest of the guys charge off after him,
I suggest we go to the Garden.

The Garden, Gethsemane. In the Mount of Olives. Our safe place.
We often come here to laugh, to talk. Our escape.
My heart is overwhelmed, I need the solace of the Garden.
I need to talk it out, I need my friends.
I tell them I am going to pray, wait up for me.
Yes, it is late, but the night will much much longer than you realize.

I find a place in solitude and it all comes out.
Father, is there some other way?
I drop to my knees, I’ve never felt anguish like this before.
I know what must be done, I know why.
But all I feel is so much pain.
I wipe my brow, am I sweating or bleeding.
I wonder if the guys are awake, I’ll go check.

How can you all be sleeping? HOW?  Peter?  John?  James?
Do you not know what is coming, what I’ve been telling you for years.
It begins tonight. Tomorrow I…
I go back to where I was, almost crawling back thinking about what will happen
Tomorrow.
I beg the father, bless my friends. I know they sleep. I know if I go back again, they will still slumber.
They are a good group of guys, They will carry on.
Bless the ones who will come later. The ones who will read of this, who will hear and believe.
Bless them, they have the difficult task of love. They can do it. They can love.

I am on my knees, weeping, grabbing the ground. My body is quivering, I’m screaming thinking about this cup.
This cup I must drink. Tomorrow, I take it all on. Everything. I must…so they can live. Free.
I feel an arm on my back to comfort me, it is an angel.
I’ll see you soon, old friend.

I walk back to my guys. I wake them, for they are coming.
I see the Deceiver in the shadows, leaning next to a tree.
He blows me a kiss, just before Judas and the soldiers arrive.
I steady myself
Not my will Father, but yours be done.

As Judas walks toward me, betrayal dripping from his lips.
I shake my head and fight back a smile.
They think they have won.
The Deceiver is practically doing somersaults in the background.
They all think it is over. Oh, how silly of them.
Yes, I know what will happen the rest of the night.
And yes, I know what will happen tomorrow.
But
I also know what will happen 3 days later and forever too…

 

[photo by JohnONolan]
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