The Righteous Ones
When I was a kid, I was as curious as I am today but back in the 60s we didn’t have Google or Bing to ask our questions to. Anytime I met someone in a position of authority or someone in the know, I had a question to ask. I wasn’t one of those, let-me-show-off-by-asking-something people, I genuinely wanted to know as much as possible. My curiosity got me to where I am today but it also got me in trouble.
One Easter weekend when the church was more packed than usual I went to Sunday school as I always did. I had been going to church on my own from the time I was 12. I went to a Pentecostal church 6 days a week with two services on Sunday. That Easter Sunday, I asked a question and made a comment that marked me as a rebel from that day on. I asked Sister Evangelist Lucinda Treadway (you had to call her by her ordained title and full God-given name) what made Good Friday good. She looked at me as if I were dumb and so I told her that I knew that it was the day Jesus was crucified and that the day had originally been called mourning Friday but I wanted to know when it was changed and why it was good.
She thought about it for a moment and then said that if Jesus had not been crucified he would not have been resurrected and then we would not have been able to have salvation. I smiled my big old I see a connection here smile and raised my hand again. Sister Evangelist Lucinda Treadway was tired of me but the place was packed and she had been on a roll. “Yes, Bertice, what is it now?” She asked.
“Okay,” I said, “so if the crucifixion was good, why is Judas so bad?” That was it for me. Sister Evangelist Lucinda Treadway told me to leave and not come back. I was not trying to show my teacher up, as she suggested to our pastor later. I truly wanted and answer. I told Rev. Rainey just that and so he allowed me to go to Sunday school, but I had to go to the adult class with the seniors. At first I was mad but then he explained to me that I had adult questions and maybe I needed more of an adult teacher. He also told me that I should keep asking questions and one day they would all be answered either in this life or the next.
To be fair to Sister Evangelist Lucinda Treadway, this was long before it was known that the Lost Gospel of Judas was discovered; before it was pulled from the vault where it had been deteriorating for 18 years. It was before it had finally been bought, pieced back together and translated. So Sister Evangelist Lucinda Treadway had no way to know that according to the lost codex, Jesus asked his best friend, Judas Iscariot, to make the ultimate sacrifice turning him over to the authorities. According to that lost gospel Judas not only enabled Jesus to fulfill his mission, Jesus had asked to do so. When he did, Jesus was able to release the inner spark of the divine so that we too may find The Way. (Read more )
I wish I had had the Gospel of Judas back then because I could have told Sister Evangelist Lucinda Treadway that this day should be called All Good Friday because even a man who did what we see as bad was doing it for what was ultimately the good of all.
But now, let me make my point. In every ancient belief system, there is the idea of the Righteous Ones. This is a belief that at all times in every place there is a given number of people who keep the earth, village or family in balance. Some cultures or practices believe that the number is 7, some 12 and in some that number is 33. The Righteous Ones don’t always know who they are, but their very presence keeps things in balance. These folks have the virtues that are necessary to combat evil.
I love this idea and have quietly incorporated it into my life. The folks on my list display the things that I need to have and to emulate. They are kind and thoughtful they see the divine in others. They may display a good work ethic or a peaceful spirit. They do the right thing when no one is looking and don’t care if no one finds out.
Today, I will be speaking to a group of folks who are called the Savannah Stars. These are people who make our community better in one way or another. They keep their jobs, families and communities in harmony. The event is a fundraiser that exists to eradicate America’s dirty little secret of illiteracy. The folks at Savannah Technical College who host it are modern day abolitionists on the road to freedom. They understand that until everyone is free, no one can truly be.
These abolitionists and the Stars are a part of my 33 displaying the virtues of charity, kindness, idealism, knowledge, justice, mercy, perseverance, purposefulness and love.
Today, find your good.
Who represents the spark of the Divine in your daily life? We all need someone to look up to as teachers as guides and our light house.
Make a list of the folks who inspire you and then make a note about how they do so. Keep your list with you and remind yourself that we all have a place and a purpose.
All things work together and ultimately, it’s all good.
Be you, be well, Be Better
Bertice Berry, PhD.