14. Black Silver

Holy Week in Eastern Christendom is not Lent. Time makes another somersault and lands feet down. During Lent a day could be forty years or four hours. The Holy Now where God lives without the regiment of sun-time could turn the Red Sea into the Jordan River, Pharaoh’s son and Moses into the Christ, and manna into fasting-food. The Holy Now could even make the leap from the sacrificial lamb to the crucifixion. This week is truly holy, truly different for the pilgrim and its God. It is no longer enough to be a Jew heading to the Promise Land somewhere in Israel. The journey of this week is towards the complete annihilation of death and a whole new science of life. As with other watershed moments in real time it is marked by betrayal.

Sensing that the end was near, most of the pilgrims picked up the tempo. Ben and Asa continued to pass the time amusing each other with their conversation. “Ben, let’s imagine a big yellow ball of light on which someone comes along and pours ink. I’ll bet that is what God saw when He watched beloved Joseph being sold by his brothers for twenty pieces of silver.”

“Asa, is that your convoluted way of imagining betrayal, a ball of inked-up light? Betrayal is torturous, it’s more like a dozen stabbing arrows piercing one’s back until love gives way to death.” Ben thrived on drama.

“Call it what you will Ben, but when you think of it, our journey began ages before the Passover night.”

“Twenty pieces of silver; imagine that! All that slavery and all this walking!” Ben’s mind quickly traversed thousands of years.

“Yes, I’m sure Ben, my friend, that you are worth at least thirty pieces of silver! I wonder who I can get to pay me that for you! Actually, that is all Judas got for betraying the Christ. Do know with inflation the brothers made out much better, but then again they had to divide the money.”

“No jokes now Asa, please.” Ben took a mental dive and then came up with: “I think we all felt a little betrayed by God when He let the goyim in. Have you noticed how much we’ve changed since they showed up? So many people couldn’t stand the idea and are still walking with their own tribes.” The thought that so many foreigners were praying to His God still stung Ben a little bit too.

Asa responded, “I don’t know who is taking whom where. Yes, the goyim joined the Jews but I think we are going much farther than we ever expected.

“Joseph was betrayed and we ended up as slaves to the Egyptians, and then Jesus was betrayed and we ended up in Rome and Greece, Constantinople, and the New India! Has it occurred to you that the betrayal of Joseph led to captivity and the betrayal of Jesus lead to dispersion?”

Ben was not really listening to Asa. Instead he kept talking hoping that Asa would listen to him. “Do you think the brothers may have been right to rid themselves of Joseph? After all how fair was it that Jacob favored him? And even more, wasn’t it right that Jesus was betrayed, after all He claimed to be the Son of God, the King of Israel. That broke a commandment or two!”

“Ben, my friend, do you suggest that jealousy should be pandered to? Let all the jealous of the world prevail!” Asa looked to the left and right. “What a horrid place this is. Yikes! Get me out of here!” Now Asa was mocking Ben but then became more serious. “Yes, Joseph was favored and Jesus was truly the Son of God. I suppose Truth bothers those who don’t like Truth. I hope that in the Promise Land everyone will love Truth, even when it stings!”

Ben was tired of thinking so hard, “Asa, let’s just mind our own business and watch the road so we make it. I have a sinking feeling that there are rough travels ahead.”

Asa wasn’t quite ready to let go of his strong position. “Ben, the pain of Truth only lasts for a moment. The betrayer is much worse off than the betrayed. Better we should make sure that we are not jealous of anyone, and let God have favorites, eh?” Now Asa was ready to move on.

“Deal!” agreed Ben, “By the way Asa did you get enough oil for your lamp at that last stop?”