I went to church looking for Jesus
But Judas greeted me at the door
And smiled with soft spoken words
Kisses on the cheek and handshakes of greeting.
I entered the sanctuary looking for Jesus,
But Judas sat next to me and welcomed me
With song and spoken words
While asking about my membership.
They said listen to the sermon to hear Jesus,
But Judas was veneered at the pulpit
Speaking words of condemnation and ignorance
Rattle the collection plate, drum up the tithe.
They said to speak aloud and talk to Jesus
But Judas was listening and weaving deception
Whispering words of guilt and self-deprecation
Thirty-nine lashes, thirty missing pieces.
Funny, that Jesus never appeared
But Judas showed up to hand out ropes
When they nominated my lynching
And cast stones at my soul.
Like all realities, the books are best
Mercy and love waxing eloquent on less than half the pages
Sorely lacking in stark application
A disproportionate outcome in action.
They said you have a savior in Jesus
But it was Judas knocking on my door
To point out my follies and hem me with hell
The terrified are the easiest to con.
Judas hugged and embraced me
Wondered when I’d return
But the game was exposed
When he hungrily eyed my purse.
How difficult it is to find salvation
And appease one’s immortal soul
When every church, mosque, synagogue, and holy place
Hordes a Judas within its walls.
I don’t trust anyone with matters of eternal life
If they insist on holding my coin hostage
For with finances, guilt, and atonement
Money tends to be the superior currency.
They sent me to church to find Jesus,
But met Judas at the front door
Where he was shaking hands and kissing cheeks
And greeting with fervor.
I went to meetings, looking for Jesus
But found Judas at the head
Guiding the ministry in one hand
And pocketing funds with the other.
I went to the pastor’s office looking for Jesus
And found Judas on his hands and knees
Prying open the safe, frothing with rage
When faced with the Bibles within.
I went to the congregation to look for Jesus
But Judas was waiting with empty hands
An oily smile and a sharp eye
To mark my remaining coins.
And when the doors shut and the services ended
When the fellowship had long expired
I sat on the steps and pondered this curiosity-
For “Jesus” had never appeared.