Whether we realise it or not, we all live on:
The Edge of the Otherworld

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Gethsemane

Picture the scene: an olive grove at night, the air still warm and filled with the scent of the trees and with the noises of little creatures. A man enters. He has a dark complexion and he seems aged beyond his years but there's little else to distinguish him. Except, somehow, he seems more real than anyone has the right to be. He glances back wearily and shakes his head. Then he begins to pray.

Jesus: They were asleep again, father. (He raises a smile). James and John were snoring away as always - Sons of Thunder even in their sleep. Not that Peter heard. He looked so peaceful, I didn't have the heart to wake them this time. And besides, they'll need all their strength in the days ahead.

I don't know how well they're going to cope on their own. They know something is about to happen but they don't understand how it has to be. If they did, they'd keep this last vigil with me. (He begins to pace). They prayed hard when the storm came and threatened to swamp our boat. Can't they see the storm approaching now? Are they really so asleep?

Protect them, father. Help them to survive without me. I've talked in parables and they've listened but not heard. Now they'll watch and not see. I love them, father. Why won't they understand? (Pause).

Have I done right? Thinking back, I can't help wondering what might have been. The people I've spoken to - the crowds - where're they now? Is there any more I could've said to them? Any more of you that I could've shared? (He cups his hands in front of him). I held out my hands to them and they walked away, chaff slipping through my fingers. (His hands drop to his sides). I longed to run after them but what good would it have done? I couldn't force them to follow me. So sad... (He shakes his head). So sad...

Take, Nicodemus. Whatever happened to him? He seemed so keen, so eager to learn. Did he put the knowledge into practice, father? I was expecting to see him again before now. Where is he? Where are they all? (He fights back tears).

Daddy, will even you desert me? (He falls to his knees).

The plan looked so magnificent with you at my side. I remember how I felt then... but now I've lived. Please - if there's any way - get me out of this. And not just for my sake, father, but for these people.

There's so much I could do! So much good! They need me. I can heal them and teach them and feed them. I can... No, (He shakes his head. He seems to say the next two sentences to himself, lost in memories) I've been here before. Bread in the desert... You're right, father; they can't survive on bread alone. I must die so that they may live. (Pause. He stands up and glances behind him).

I should wake them; it won't be long now. (He peers out into the audience). Yes, I can see the torches approaching - I'm betrayed and my betrayer is here.

Perhaps there's still time, though. If I wake them now we could escape - we could even fight. I can feel the angels all around me. One word from me and...(He smiles, as if coming to a decision). Your will be done. Let the demons descend; it will soon be Sunday. (He exits).

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