As you know, almost all of the songs we write tell stories. We want to share those stories with you. Just as we did for the songs on our first CD 13, we’ll post the story behind each song on our new CD Again here for you to read. The plan is to feature one song each week for the next 11 weeks.
Here is the story behind Aceldema as related by Allen Kitselman.
The song “Aceldema”
Aceldama is one of the few songs not mined directly from my personal experience, at least not directly. I ran across this word, “Aceldama,” through a Word–a-Day email service that my friend Hope turned me on to. Turns out that “Aceldama” is the Aramaic word for the Potter’s Field in Jerusalem bought with the 30 pieces of silver Judas Iscariot earned for betraying Jesus. In other words, it’s a place where strangers who die in a land they don’t know can be laid to rest.
I’m not sure how the song itself took shape, but in the end it all came together and made sense to me. Aceldema starts out poking Judas (perhaps History’s biggest traitor) in the chest and ends up turning completely around with the realization that Judas’s indelible character flaw lives in me too. In fact, I’m pretty sure it lives in all of us.
The idea that ultimately became the crux of the song is this: even from the disasters of life and arising directly from our flawed stumble through life, some good can come.
Judas’ blood money ended up providing a place for unknown people who happened to die in Jerusalem to be buried. Without Judas’ betrayal, Jesus would not have been crucified and … well you get the line of reasoning. So, in the end a deal is proposed in which Judas and I forgive each other.
I liked that outcome. We can all use a little forgiveness, even Judas.