Sunday, October 23, 2016

From the Outside In (Second Installment)

"Did my Father?"  He whispered ... 

"No" Rafael breathed.  "I love you, Lord."  Rafael kissed his forehead, putting all the love and energy into that kiss he could.  He heard people entering the garden from a distance. 

"Go" Jesus whispered and Rafael receded into the shadows again, watching unseen.  Another angel had his hand in a tight grip to remind him not to stop what he was seeing while he wept.  He watched Jesus approach his disciples, asleep and half drunk still, shaken by the things he had been saying over the past weeks and confused.  He was moved to pity by their sorrow at his rebuke, and crushed by the hurt in the Lord's face.  "Could you not stay awake with me one hour?"

No, no they could not. 

The crowd came.  A great flush of people led by Judas who had a familiar smile behind his eyes.   Satan hadn't left this to chance.  He'd come to do the job himself.    His great victory was forthcoming.  "Can I kill him?"  Rafael asked Michael, knowing the answer.

"No, he's mine, and not yet."

"Are we to bear even this insult?  That he takes a bitter man and uses him for this?"

"We are to bear witness. That's what we are to do, Rafael."

More shouting, Judas kissed his cheek, almost casually, Satan casting a glance at the archangels from behind his eye,  more fresh pain in his voice "a kiss?"  Rafael couldn't tell who it came from more.  He knew Jesus could see Satan behind Judas's eyes, and that even then, he remembered him as he was before his fall.   He watched the devil leave him then.  His work done.  Fresh shame sneaking on him even as he had what he thought was his victory.   Then the man, the man coming back to himself and realizing what he had done with his eyes clouded by unmet expectations and desire to see his revenge on the Romans in Judea.   He was waiting, watching the Lord closely thinking that any minute armies of angels would descend on the crowd and he would take his rightful place at the head of great rebellion and then a great victory.   That was not to be.

The disciples, realizing what was about to happen, drew their swords to defend him.  Sloppily, arms shaking, one of them raised his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, slicing the man's ear off.  Shaking his head, Jesus touched the man's ear and restored it.  "No more of this," he muttered, and waved them off before they could attempt to do more.   These were not soldiers.   

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