Conversation: The Nameless Lover

Untitled1John 19:25-27

For a while it was the occasion we expected.

It became an experience that I will not forget.

The Passover meal was all but over

when suddenly he said one of those

surprising things that we never saw coming.

‘One of you will betray me’!

It was like a knife to the heart.


Capture – yes.

Torture – yes.

Mockery – yes.

Murder – quite possibly.

But not betrayal, not by one of us.

And then I was involved in more than I wanted.

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Conversations … the story so far

300px-Mattias_Stom,_Christ_before_CaiaphasOver the last week I’ve been posting a series of reflections which seek to describe a possible response of some of the people who were intimately involved in the 24 hours before the death of Jesus. I first performed them as part of a Good Friday Service at Bath Abbey.

Each reflection is accompanied by suggestions for scripture reading and prayer.l1283861072

You can catch up on the stories so far here:

Judas Iscariot, Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate, Barabbas and Simon of Cyrene

The conversations have also been published in The Baptist Times.Giotto_-_Scrovegni_-_-31-_-_Kiss_of_Judas

Still to come …

The Nameless Lover, Mary Magdalene, The Centurion, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus.

Conversation: Simon of Cyrene

l1283861072Mark 15:20-32

My family told me they could see something had happened.

All they needed to do was look at my face.

The boys told me later in life they were terrified.

I looked like I had stared into the pit of hell.


It wasn’t what they were expecting.

My wife had been preparing for the Sabbath.

She had expected me home early.

This was going to be a special time,

more special than usual;

we were not only back in Israel from years of exile,

but celebrating a Sabbath in Passover

and what’s more

within sight and sound of the sacrifices

of Passover.

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Conversation: Barabbas

Untitled6Mark 15:6-15


Well that’s a turn up for the book.


A walk in the hills of Judea not a stagger to a cross.

But why me?

I know my people – full of talk and protest

but when it comes to it, do they do anything?

Of course not.

It takes the likes of me to actually do something.


You can’t just talk about the Romans behind closed doors.

Mumble, mumble.

Groan, groan.

Complain, complain.

That gets you nowhere.

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Conversation: Pontius Pilate

Eccehomo1John 18:28-39

I find it mildly interesting that

although people still question whether Jesus

existed or not –

my existence is never questioned!

This also puzzles me since he and I have been linked

like brothers in the womb

since just a few decades after our deaths.

As your creed declares:

He was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

He suffered death and was buried –

As for the rest of your beliefs?

They are beyond me and lot of other people I believe.

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Conversation: Caiaphas

300px-Mattias_Stom,_Christ_before_CaiaphasJohn 11: 47-50, Matthew 26:57-68

We managed to get most of the Council to the emergency meeting.

NO! Let this be clear; be under no illusion



I had seen it coming for while.

The others were too full of excitement at the approach of the festival.

When you are in my position – you can’t get too drawn into all the singing

and celebration.

A high priest has to see to more than what’s going in the Temple.

Jesus was a dangerous man.

What Jesus could make happen was not going to happen on my watch,

As my father Annas had warned me:

Caiaphas, watch out for trouble from the north.

They have always troubled us Judeans. They will not accept the status quo.

You see, he knew what Galileans were like.


And what is more to the point – the Romans knew this too!

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Conversation: Judas


Giotto_-_Scrovegni_-_-31-_-_Kiss_of_JudasMatthew 26:1-5, 14-16, 47-50; 27:1-5


The view is beautiful from here.

It is so quiet.

It is a place of still waters –

I wish all my fields could be such a heaven on earth.

But it has become the valley of the shadow of death

And this place will see the death of me.


I am Judas Iscariot – the one who betrayed Jesus.

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Conversations: the set up

Over the next couple weeks I will be posting a series of reflections which seek to describe a possible response of some of the people who were intimately involved in the 24 hours before the death of Jesus. Each reflection is accompanied by suggestions for scripture reading and prayer.

I first performed them as part of a Good Friday Service at Bath Abbey.

Read today’s post on Judas Iscariot.


Another very influential man

marcus borgI wouldn’t want to be a Christian in the USA. The Christian community there seems extremely divided not only along denominational lines but also theological.

For instance, there is a very clear division between liberal and fundamentalist theologies. This has historic roots from the beginning of the last century. It appears in the educational institutions as well as churches.

This is the background to the life work of Marcus Borg who died in January this year. He was a liberal and progressive Christian believer. He spent his life as a University New Testament scholar and was amongst the founders of the Jesus Seminar. This brought together leading ‘progressive’ academics who attempted to identify what are likely to be the authentic words of Jesus in the gospels. While the venture foundered on its devotion to its chosen tools of analysis, Borg emerged as one of the most interesting and accessible writers of this exercise in liberal Christianity.

I first came across him when I was given a copy of his very personal book: Meeting Jesus Again for the first time. It was to set the tone and approach of many of his subsequent books. Here was no stuffy, argumentative, self- absorbed progressive but a believer who allowed his academic exploration emerge from and return to his own spirituality.

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The wisdom of the world-weary preacher

tree-rings-on-weathered-stump-texture1-600x400I’m just back from church having listened to the best sermon I have heard for a very long time.

I suppose the preacher was in his late 70s. He played to the gallery. He had obviously preached the sermon often. He was witty, to the point and entertaining. And yet …

It was a very conventional re-telling of a Christian world-view of the God who let something happen in the Garden of Eden which resulted in a rescue mission. It was a mission that involved a nation, its people, priests and prophets and finally a Saviour whose spirit is still on the move all over the world.

It wasn’t what the preacher said which drew my admiration. It wasn’t even the way he said. It was what emerged between the words. There was a wisdom which was full of pathos and truth. It was a wisdom that seemed to be burdened by its own awareness.

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