Friday, April 14, 2006

Maundy Thursday at McDonald's

wiping feet, originally uploaded by mincaye.

After attending the Dewan Rakyat session at Parliament for a short while in the morning, Phak Hoe, Li-Shia, Yen and I walked to Masjid Jamek (for want of taxis), from which we took a train to Hang Tuah.

We then walked to Times Square and met up with Tien in Borders. It was, as usual, impossible to decide on a place for lunch, so we ended up in McDonald's.

After lunch, Tien and Yen left for the SU office, while Phak Hoe took to the papers and the land of forty winks.

Li-Shia began wetting a piece of tissue to wipe her feet. (Excessive walking from Parliament House was a major strain on the feet, what more with heels; so she removed her sandals altogether while in Times Square, thus picking up lots of dirt.)

Suddenly the idea to use baby wipes instead, occurred to me. Thankfully, there were enough sheets in my (ever overstocked) bag. As I cleaned her feet, I realised something similar would be happening at the Bangsar Lutheran Church that night, which I would miss for Rojak! at KLPac.

And so it was, Maundy Thursday at McDonald's. Not Jesus washing the disciples' feet after supper, but Ben wiping Li-Shia's after lunch. In fact, I believe we drew some stares and giggles from the secondary schoolgirls sitting at a nearby table!

Later, as I was flipping through the latest issue of TIME, which had just arrived, I came across this short column on the Gospel of Judas. The character of Judas as portrayed by the Bible was contrasted with that of this new 'discovery.'

In it, Judas is painted as:

Christ's Confidant
Jesus said to him, "Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom."

Loyal Servant
"You will be cursed by the other generations... But you will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me."

Jesus answered and said, "[Y]ou will come to rule over them. In the last days they will curse your ascent to the holy."

As soon as I read those words, I realised that the entire Biblical account of Jesus would be pure rubbish if the Gospel of Judas were true, for there is no consistency between the two.

Above all differences, one in particular stood out: Jesus did not preach a Gospel of human glory, but one of sacrifice and humility.

First off, Christ's closest disciples were probably Peter, James and John. Nowhere do we get the idea that they received preferential treatment, or that they were privy to 'mysteries of the kingdom.' Rather, we find that they were rebuked more often and charged with more responsibility than the others.

Then there is the 'loyal servant' argument. In Judas' Gospel, Jesus seems to promise some form of superiority to Judas. Yet this is difficult to reconcile with the One who told Peter, "Feed my lambs." It would appear from the Gospels, that we are not to be reassured by some airy dream of such glory, but by the fact that Jesus is always with us.

Finally, Jesus warned his disciples at the Last Supper to avoid 'lording it over others' as the rulers of the world do. Certainly the same Lord would not have promised rulership to Judas.

Taken together, the claims of the Gospel of Judas are too human to be taken seriously. It seems to cast Jesus as nothing more than just a man with big ideas. Interestingly, this is a perfect foil to the Bible: any man can concoct a story about a saviour, but only the true Saviour can shake the world as Jesus did.

Humility is something I have yet to learn. Oh, how much indeed is my life in want of it! Today Ching Yeng told me that I have to be more sensitive and aware of my surroundings. She was referring to the manner in which I walked quickly ahead, though Li-Shia was in heels.

At the Last Supper, Jesus took on the role of a servant (a slave, even). Would that I learn to do the same, for this life is not all about me, and the world certainly does not revolve around M.E. number one.

So, Li-Shia, if and when you read this, I'm sorry for what I did. I don't know if the foot-cleaning exercise was merely for fun, or perhaps a means for me to allay my guilt. Whatever the case, please forgive me.

And hold me back if ever I walk too fast: I need more balance in my life, more than anyone knows.


lishia said...


i told you a million and two times already that you walk super fast from the first time I ever walked beside you [tried, actually...]

You know it. You know it yourself. You just have selective memory, i guess??? =)

Well, whatever the reason. I'm still thanking you for the baby wipes. Though, saying 'baby wipes' in this sentence sounds awfully weird. It's like grownups talking about important things and suddenly, 'baby wipes' is mentioned? Totally odd.

Haha =)

I always go out of topic.

So. Ah. Okay. =)

If it makes you feel any better, I forgive you =)

Though I have nothing to say about you walking fast when I have heels on, I agree with Celery [=p Private joke, private joke =)] that you need to be more alert and sensitive and aware of your surroundings. It is what many people in our society today lack. At least, the people of society that I met so far. =)

I talk too much.

Toodles =)

silentsoliloquy said...

While reading the full text of the Gospel of Judas.. I felt this shiver up my spine.. so I pressed 'back' on my Firefox browser. Will give it another go another time.