What is Spy Wednesday?

As you know, the Supreme Executive Committee has declared that the final battle for the Golden Halo will take place tomorrow on Spy Wednesday. Several of you have asked us about this unusual name for the Wednesday in Holy Week. Ever willing to educate and inspire, we are only too happy to oblige.

spywednesdaypaintingSpy Wednesday gets its name because this is the day on which Judas betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin. Because Judas is thought to be sneaky, his actions conjured up the image of a spy. The synoptic gospels all include an account of the betrayal — Matthew 26:12-14, Mark 14:10-12, Luke 22:3-6.

This is how the Gospel of Luke recounts the events:

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22:3-6)

The illustration above evocatively depicts this infamous scene. If you go to Holy Eucharist every day of Holy Week, the Gospel readings provide the narrative of Jesus’ final days, an ever-quickening story that spins out of control and finally brings us to Good Friday.

It is surely a strange juxtaposition to think about Spy Wednesday and Lent Madness in the same 01_01moment. But the whole point of Lent Madness is to engage us all in an exploration of the ways God’s grace has filled the lives of women and men through history and across all cultures. Sure, we’ve been silly and even competitive about our Lenten exercise. In the end though, we are learning to see in fresh ways how Jesus Christ matters to all humanity. That seems like a good and holy thing to do on Spy Wednesday.

23 Comments to "What is Spy Wednesday?"

  1. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 15, 2014 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Ah, Dawn Breaks over Marble Head!
    Thanks for clearing this up for me.

  2. Bonnie's Gravatar Bonnie
    April 15, 2014 - 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Ah hah! I thought it would be the day that the SEC informed us of methods used to uncover voter fraud!

  3. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 15, 2014 - 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Now I can go to Tenebrae tomorrow and not wonder about this, focus on the service instead.

  4. April 15, 2014 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Also thinking that Judas is not the only one who betrays Jesus during Holy Week. Peter denies him three times.

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      April 15, 2014 - 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Yes you’re right ! But unlike Judas, he lived to regret it.

      • Susan T's Gravatar Susan T
        April 15, 2014 - 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Hmmm. I think Judas lived to regret it, didn’t he try to return the money and hang himself?

        • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
          April 15, 2014 - 7:06 pm | Permalink

          Good point. He obviously regretted it, as evidenced by him hanging himself!

    • Lucretia Jevne's Gravatar Lucretia Jevne
      April 15, 2014 - 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention the numbers of times we betray Jesus every day!

      • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
        April 15, 2014 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Lucretia, how right you are! There’s a hymn that comes to mind:
        “I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me.
        “Confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me.
        I tremble to know that for me He was crucified,
        That for me, a sinner, He suffered, He bled and died”………..

  5. aleathia (dolores)nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores)nicholson
    April 15, 2014 - 5:22 pm | Permalink

    It’s somewhat surprising to learn that many people don’t know or connect the dots about the connection between Judas’ betrayal and Spy Wednesday. It’s also important to remember that there was actually mercy for Judas. When consigned to Purgatory, he awaited Jesus’ descent there for the waiting period to receive the kiss that would, in essence, provide forgiveness by the very One whose death was set in motion by his betrayal. The SEC has done a fabulous job in educating LentMadness participants about Easter, before, during, and beyond. We all owe the good Padres Gunn and Schenck and their authors many thanks.

    • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
      April 15, 2014 - 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Hi Aleathia, yes I should have figured it out. . …..like I said, Dawn Breaks over Marble Head……..:p

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      April 15, 2014 - 8:41 pm | Permalink

      Yes, there is mercy for Judas. And for all of us, the living and the dead.
      As Jesus said in today’s Gospel “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32)
      I have a dear friend who says that she likes to think of Jesus meeting Judas in the underworld and saying “Judas, let’s get the hell out of here!”

      • Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
        April 15, 2014 - 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Ohhhh Harlie, that is genuinely tacky! Wish I’d thought of it……

  6. Jamie Glock's Gravatar Jamie Glock
    April 15, 2014 - 5:31 pm | Permalink

    You have done an outstanding job this year in educating me about so many people that I know little or nothing about before. I have been inspired by the examples set by many of them. I have “Googled” to read more and gain insights into these people. Thank for all of your efforts to make Lent and engaging, learning experience. I look forward to next year.

  7. April 15, 2014 - 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Very well stated. Thank you and the whole Executive Supreme Committee (Scott and you) for a fun way to learn some new things about people who have had an impact on this Church we all love. Good job. Thanks again.

  8. Carey's Gravatar Carey
    April 15, 2014 - 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoy the services if Holy Week rather than the entire story on Palm Sunday. Heading to evening Eucharist just a bit. Thanks too for the time the Supreme Committee and others devote to Lent Madness. It is a great way to learn about such interesting saints of the faith.

  9. Donna Devlin's Gravatar Donna Devlin
    April 15, 2014 - 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Ya done good Guys! Kudos!!

  10. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 15, 2014 - 8:48 pm | Permalink

    To be specific!!…Jesus meeting Judas in the underworld and saying let’s get the hell out of here……good one!

  11. linda's Gravatar linda
    April 15, 2014 - 10:01 pm | Permalink

    LMW setting in…help.

  12. K8's Gravatar K8
    April 16, 2014 - 12:12 am | Permalink

    I’m a first timer – but sure not a last timer
    Lent Madness is addictive!
    Thank you, thank you!

  13. Cynthia Freels's Gravatar Cynthia Freels
    April 16, 2014 - 7:00 am | Permalink

    Good job everyone, thanks and God Bless

  14. MaurineRuby's Gravatar MaurineRuby
    April 16, 2014 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    I’ve been an Episcopalian for 25 years, been a member of five parishes, and I’ve never heard of Spy Wednesday. The concept must not have drifted this far south. I’m glad to know about it, though!

  15. MatthewSully's Gravatar MatthewSully
    April 16, 2014 - 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Shamelessly cutting and pasting from my Facebook page entry for today:

    “As a senior in high school, I was cast in a musical Passion play as Judas. I was very young in my faith, and had to study this very interesting character. Judas had unfortunately become disillusioned with the Jesus he thought he was following. He had tried to shape Christ into his own mold for what a Savior should be and do. Jesus had completely broken every expectation of Judas’ – His Kingdom was not one to be expanded by swords and spears, and would not be advanced by pushing back the Roman occupiers. His Kingdom was one of service, of sacrifice, of love and of mercy to the sinner. When Judas betrayed Jesus, he did not see it as a betrayal, but as, sadly, the only way out, for him and for his people. Each night of the Passion play, when playing Judas I would walk up to Jesus and kiss his cheek to betray him, I would be struck by how similar I am to Judas. I try to make Jesus into something I want, and stop receiving Him as He is. I think we all are guilty of this at some time or another.”
    So, I have a mile-wide soft spot for Judas. My job is a grade-school Bible teacher, so its fun to teach the kids about SPY WEDNESDAY — they certainly want to hear about it!!! Thanks, SEC, for all your work to enlighten the current saints about saints past. We are all in your debt!!

Comments are closed.