The Book Of Judas
"Oh shit," Steve chokes, suddenly so angry. "I don't have to! I could stay! I can do what I want!" The cough of an obsolete engine. "Because you need me, you lot need me!" He's just embarrassing himself now. "I could bring Pete back! I could raise him from the dead! Just like that," he screams, snapping his fingers. Like that, like that, like that. Jude begs him to stop. Don't. It's too ugly. He looks down. "Power mad? That's the time to go." A tear traces down Jude's cheek; Steve tries again. "In it goes." And she begs him not to.
One spoon. Another. Jude stares, heart breaking. Whatever broken pieces remain, they shatter again. Another spoon. Huge mouthfuls of the stuff; Steve sips the beer to wash it down. Another spoon. She weeps, they lock eyes, and he speaks. "Have to say...." He convulses. His head falls back. He falls away. It goes out of him.
Jude stares at the body.
Like it wasn't bad enough in color, we watch video again, of that last minute, under her voice. "It was all on tape. Police had the housekeys -- wired the place up. Recorded everything. Steve made his broadcast in the end, and it was transmitted worldwide. They keep on playing it now, all these years later." We watch him die again, in silence, on the screen. The sound of his choking. His death. Beautiful Steven.
The Fionas are legion in this world, but I have to believe that a percentage of the Passion gross Stateside has to do with watching it happen. Making it real. For the same reason Oliver Stone's WTC movie will make a bajillion dollars; you hear a story -- even see it -- enough times, it gets dirty and well-worn. But the fact remains that the story -- all of them -- of the Christ are about something beautiful, the most beautiful thing you can think of, a love that encompasses everyone and everything, proving the breadth and height of that grace by consenting to being treated as horribly as anyone could ever imagine. That's a story that belongs to everyone: the daily, violent abuse of the golden light inside every single person who ever existed. You don't have to be Christian for that to hurt. You don't need to be Christian for that to matter. You don't even have to believe in God, to love Him passionately -- that's where we trip up, in the conversation. But by the same token, you don't have to be atheist for this story to hurt, or to matter: the proof of the breadth and height of that grace consenting to grant us self-determination, even as our actions break its heart. God loving you enough to turn His face away, and stop promising rescue. That was never part of the deal anyway. Grace is incidental. Even in His absence -- especially in his absence -- He still gives you passage home.