Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

CandleAt the Christmas eve celebration with Unity Center Austin we lit a candle for each apostle, and recited a meditation to reinforce their qualities in us. The last candle was for Judas.

I cry. I feel so moved that we include the one person whom we consistently have excluded throughout history. I feel so touched that we honor him, that we acknowledge him as a source of inspiration.

I once read an article about Jesus and Judas. New research showed a different perspective on Judas, “the traitor”. It described how Jesus and Judas talked about the kingdom of God. That it is the kingdom of thís present moment. Of being fully alive with whatever is. Of being fully present with our suffering, feeling it, saying “yes” to it. That it is the kingdom of our vision, our dreams, our soul’s calling. Of holding on to what is true for us, what we envision for the world, even if all circumstances might indicate it is impossible. It is the kingdom of asking for what we need, and knowing we’ll receive it.

Jesus and Judas discuss how reluctant people are to enter this kingdom. How hard it is to give up on the habitual patterns of fear, of holding back, of not trusting we can reach for the stars. For all the miracles in the world, people are still blind to the truth that embracing the present moment and holding on to our dreams transforms suffering into light, life and love.

Something more radical needs to happen. They come up with a plan that will lead to Jesus’ crucifixion, so he can resurrect after three days. That should be powerful enough to open people’s eyes. Judas is willing to be the one who betrays Jesus. He shares Jesus’ vision of transforming suffering. So deeply that he is willing to be rejected, excluded and ostracized in pursuit of this dream. Jesus trusts Judas enough to know that Judas will stick to the plan, and not back off when the going gets tough.

We all know the rest of the story. We repeated it for 2000 years. Last night we celebrated his existence and his contribution to our well-being. We included him in our acknowledgment and affirmation of love, life and light. I felt touched and honored to have been there.

I wish you a merry Christmas, may your dreams come true.


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