I thought I’d re-blog the original poem on Forgiveness that led to all
the subsequent musings on Judas Iscariot…
You know, Candia, I like the idea of forgiveness. Even the vandals that
committed that terrible act of desecration in Steep Church are merely
re-enacting a type of evil behaviour like that of poor old Judas, but there
is a wonderful tradition of felix culpa, isn’t there?
Yes, Brassie. The sadness of destruction reminded me of another
Whistler window- a 13th pane which was rejected by the villagers of
Moreton. It is now in the County Museum in Dorset.* It struck me
very powerfully some years ago as I considered the whole theological
debate as to the ultimate salvation of the betrayer.
Whistler himself had written to The Independent in 1994, from Watlington
in Oxfordshire, after experiencing the rejection of his offer of this 13th pane.
It would only have been visible from the inside of the church. It showed
Judas being pulled into Heaven by the rope around his neck. Some people
are as resistant as that to salvation, I suppose. Anyway, he commented
that three minutes of agonising strangulation was not to be compared to
the extended suffering of crucifixion.
You wouldn’t have a poem on that, would you, Candia?
Well, actually, yes, I do, as a matter of fact…
(Engraved for Morton Church, by L. Whistler. *Now, hopefully
received into Moreton Church, after having been stored in The
Dorchester Museum for years.)
THE FORGIVENESS WINDOW
This was to have been a thirteenth blind pane,
seen only from the outside of the church:
replacement for its bombshell-slivered glass.
Judas, the betrayer, hangs from a tree.
His grasp relaxes and thirty pieces
of silver metamorphose into a
Discernment can come from outside the Church.
Inside some, coin-lidded, opt for cataracts.
Most see through glass darkly; few face to face.