New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 51

      character-driven epics. But a closer reading reveals that they are not utilitarian presentations of the life of Jesus. They are narratives, full of rich details and intrigue and riddle and mystery and personality. The Gospels have shown that they care about the characters that move the story forward – even villains. But Judas Iscariot received such a notably different treatment. Did the evangelists downplay Judas’ love for Jesus and emphasize his human failings? Did they deny him a true place in posterity by ignoring his service and simplifying him to evil incarnate? Did the evangelists fear that their readers would sympathize with Judas? That this man is still known to humanity and that he can still impact people in such a way as to cause wonder and woe is in itself a testimony to his importance. It is evidence of his immortality, and is a sign that the spirit of Judas lives on in people today, just as his spirit was present in some shape or form in each of Jesus’ disciples during that solemn last supper, when each of them asked, “Lord, is it I?” Seeing Judas as a real person – not just an icon of betrayal – allows us to ask both, “Is it I?” and to know that no matter how far we feel we have turned away, with remorse and repentance, the Lord’s redemption surely awaits. Seeing Judas as a real person – not just an icon of betrayal, allows us to ask both, “Is it I?” and to know that no matter how far we feel we have turned away, with remorse and repentance, the Lord’s redemption surely awaits. The Rev. Christopher Augustus Barber teaches religion at the Academy of the New Church Secondary Schools. He says it is his joy to help students grasp biblical and theological concepts in the light of the New Church worldview. He thoroughly enjoys working with adolescents, as they are in the springtime of their critical analysis. Chris loves researching obscure figures from New Church history, studying the Fourth Gospel, and watching documentaries. He lives in Huntingdon Valley with his wife, Annika (Fitzpatrick), and their son, Jaiell. You can read more about him at www. chrisbarber.info. Contact: chris.barber@ancss.org. (Photo Credit: Olivia Brock, Girls School ‘16, ANC photography student.) 117