Foot-Washing Mary Foils Purse-Snatching Judas–John 12

In this Bible Bash episode, Don invites us into a closer look at what is going on with Judas when he rails at Mary for wasting expensive perfume on washing Jesus’ feet. In other gospel versions of the story, the woman who washes Jesus’ feet is unknown to us, but in John’s version of events, it is Mary, sister to Lazarus, who performs the intimate act of foot washing. And it is Judas, Jesus’ eventual betrayer, who complains.

Listen as Don has some things to say about Judas, stealer of the community purse, his self-serving agenda, and Liam offers some thoughts about his own research into this well-known, often superficially read Bible story. In closing, Liam shares some lines from a poem he is working on, “What Place Might Hold Us?,” in which he imagines speaking to his ancestors:

What Place Might Hold Us
If we could gather ourselves
together somewhere 
your time and mine,
what place might hold us?

Where, and what, is the space between
my world and your worlds
near enough to bridge the distances
and differences, familiar
enough for each, and all,

to find footing, make a way,
carve a seat from earth and stone, 
grass and shrub, clover and trees, 
from all our lingering 
undiscovered longing and, at last, rest?

Because I am who I am—
alive, walking as I do with a catch in my right hip,
struggling these days to work, create, or even open a jar 
as my Brockman thumbs weaken more and more at the main joint,

like my mother’s, and my uncles’ and their father’s
(and, likely, his father’s and his father’s, and his before him);
because my left eye squints more than my right 
when I smile; because I sometimes hear lizards,
see wind, grow things, and walk with deer;

because the highlands know and call my name;
because I refuse to be made other than who I am
and have paid for that in deep-running, 
ancient blood that travels far, flows, submerges 
and surfaces like mountain springs, through you, in me;

because I have worked, made things, dared to live, and died 
before I was born, more than once, and still I have striven
and failed, wrestled and prevailed, grown to hear my name,
been changed and learned from my journey-bearing hip,

from hard things and been softened; I have
seen love is grown, like selfhood, in the daily doing of it;

because I have done a few things and dreamed of even more—
because I am who I am and I have dared to live,

I know you were.

I know you were here. I know you 
have been speaking, are speaking, still—
do you know I have been,
I am, here 
learning to listen?

What if we could call ourselves
beckoning back as far as the winds, the tree roots,
streams, hawks and crickets can carry
the rising sounds of our voices—

reaching out farther and father, back and back, 
and back farther still, until our wistful words become ghostly
whispers in time-echoing valleys?
What space might hold 
our answering presence?

What might we come knowing, bearing
wisdom burdens, nearly lost treasures, 
and deep-veined, living stories
in our knotted, life-worn, sometimes weak-thumbed, 
still ever-grasping hands?

What might we ask one another, understanding 
the needful question is never the one imagined 
and it makes its way over tongue and teeth 
as if it has been there—been here—before, 
desperate to return, emerging in utterance?

Would you know me as we draw near, see yourself
in my gray-green eyes searching for signs of myself 
across the ever-thinning veil between 
Moigh and Georgia, highland and lowland, Franklin 
and this place, this place and Sinai, and even Eden?

What might we say to one another,
to all of us gathered, kin to kin, collecting ourselves 
in blood, bone, and yearning, present 
and worded into whatever strange, mystical 
space emerges, able and willing like cradles to hold us?

Regardless, because I dared to live, I know
you were here. I know you have been speaking,
are always speaking, on wind and stream 
ripples, crow calls, lizard-whispers 
and always, in dreams.

Do you know I have been, I am,
here—my world-worn, knotted, working hands grasping,
in ground and world, within and beyond this slight, sturdy body, 
reaching for green growing things and something like joy, place,
perhaps understanding, and sometimes life itself.

Do you know I am speaking, 
across the distances and differences—
with every new-day, rising up 
and going forth, catching on my stubborn wrested hip,
making my way—

with every rising, I am speaking
gratitude that you were,
that you are 
ever here
that you dared to live.

In Trans-Forming Proclamation, Liam Hooper tenderly explores gender and the Bible. This book actually defies genre. With rich patches of poetry, memoir, and devotional, Liam weaves together inspiring literary insights with grounded, original, and informed scholarship. Trans-Forming proclamation: A Transgender Theology of Daring Existence is new wine in a new wine skin. It is Inventive, artful, and liberating. Available on Amazon and published by Otherwise Engaged.

About US
In each episode of Bible Bash Podcast, , Liam Michael Hooper, a white trans Bible scholar and Don Durham, a white, cis, heterosexual farmer, minister, and podcaster take turns presenting the text. They then discuss. In addition, each episode they present another text, a non-Biblical text of note–religious or secular–that may or may not correspond to the Bible text.

Bible Bash Podcast is a collaborative project created by Liam Hooper, Don Durham, and Peterson Toscano.

Our theme song is Playbill by The Jellyrox. It is available on iTunes, Spotify, or through Rock Candy Recordings. The show is edited by Peterson Toscano.

To share your questions, comments, requests for passages to be discussed, or suggestions for guests who can talk about texts, email Liam & Don:

Follow on Twitter:
Liam @LiMHooper
Don @RealDonDurham

Bible Bash Podcast is part of the Rock Candy Network

Bible Bash logo was designed by Diana Coe at Crone Communications

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