May 29, 2009

Ross Eldridge

Good Friday with the Blue-eyed Son

I switched the telly on and the between-programmes filler had a voice saying: "This being Good Friday, you'd expect to find a film featuring Jesus. We've got one…" And it was to be "The Greatest Story Ever Told", originally released in 1965.

I saw TGSET back in 1967. How is it that I recall that? Because it was the first movie I ever went to with a friend I met back in the late spring of 1967. And what do I remember about the film? That it was long, that Jesus had blue eyes (of course, and he always wrote in red ink, don't you know), and that the scene where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead was extraordinarily moving, even to a teenager.

Judas was, in some way, the hero of the story. He is certainly the scapegoat (everyone blames the scapegoat, as one wit put it). Without Judas's "betrayal" there would have been no crucifixion, no resurrection, no atonement, no eternal life for you and me (assuming we believe). The poor man had that terrible job to do. Imagine the love he felt for his Master, so great that he could play the part he did. Peter was prevaricating and lying, but Judas spoke the truth: "This is the man!"

The life of Judas might be the second greatest story ever told.

A great deal has happened in what might be termed my Spiritual Life over the past forty years. I suppose the major event would have been my conversion to Mormonism in the early 1970s. More recently I have wandered off into Outer Darkness. I have read a great many books with a spiritual or religious message or content, I have taught Sunday school, preached sermons, given a few obituaries and presided at my mother's funeral. I've had highs and lows to the extreme. Sometimes, at night, this year, I wake up (or I've been awake, unable to get to sleep) and I've said aloud: "Father, are you there?"

One of the Mormon General Authorities told his personal story of feeling disconnected from God and how he asked that question: "Are you there, Father?" And his Father, his God, did respond. Mine hasn't. If he does, I trust it will be gently, perhaps in a dream, rather than having a prophetic angel beam down through my ceiling in laser-lights and scare the Bejesus out of me.

As it is, I remain in a state of disconnection. Waiting. Sometimes posing the question. Perhaps hoping. And why should I be caring at all? I guess it is because I have unfinished business with dead family and friends. I'd rather like to see my mother again, my father too, and to have the seven dogs and one cat of my life running around my feet. If just for a few minutes. Is that odd? Unusual? Am I human after all?


Ross Eldridge lives in a tiny North Sea town on the coast of England near the Scottish border. He reads a good deal, has a go at photography, and researches family history. Ross has written a weekly newspaper column, but is now content to blog. His blog is called Barking Mad in Amble by the Sea, and it is dedicated primarily to his little dog, Cailean.

No comments: