Monday, January 28, 2013

Being a part time angel; and a part time baptiser too


I was an angel yesterday afternoon.

Not for long, and I was only practising, but a bit of an angel nonetheless.

Angels, I discovered, seem to belong somewhere out of time, but have to operate within it. They’re not human, being angels, but are somehow also ultra-human. They have deep compassion, but are also quite detached. They have immense authority but have no need to assert it. They have infinite tenderness: and infinite strength.

I was rehearsing, of course, having been cast as an angel, in Theatre Alba’s remarkable and beautiful passion play, “To The Cross” which they perform to an audience of up to a thousand in and around Duddingston village on the outskirts of Edinburgh, (http://duddingstoneasterplay.weebly.com/index.html) and Charles Nowolskielski, the play’s author/director has cast me because the other thing about angels is that they are not men, and not women, but maybe a bit of both, and in at least part of that respect I fill the bill very well.

I am the angel that rolls away the stone from Jesus’ tomb and appears to Mary Magdalene and the other women to tell them Jesus has risen from the dead.

Not that easy a part, as it happens, but i do my best, and then rush off to a nearby leisure centre to do a baptism.

Which makes it an unusually sacred afternoon. But I like that, because in the societies that accept and celebrate the existence of us gender non-conformists we often seem to play a sacred role.

We’re to baptise a particularly  courageous and remarkable young transman, brought up in the Baptist tradition, who wants to celebrate and consecrate his true name and has hired the swimming pool there.

I’ve been asked to perform Lewis Reay’s very beautiful retelling of the story of the Apostle Philip and the Eunuch (Acts 8) and then help Maxwell, the minister, do the immersion.

Maxwell’s very beautiful prayers speak of an angelic place, a spiritual place, to which we all belong: where we are totally accepted and celebrated for who we are. Part of a community, belonging to our fellow human beings. Where we belong in the world.

A witness to the event said it moved her profoundly because it was a physical symbol of being able to walk away from all the suffering and mistakes of the past and make a fresh start. Begin a new life...

Before we got into the pool Maxwell blessed the water and made it holy, which is rather lovely, because there it is today, looking normal, and people are swimming in it: and all of them quietly getting blessed.

Just as Simon was blessed in his new life. And we who witnessed were blessed in ours.



Comments:
My Baptism was such a beautiful event. Thank you for being part of it :-)
 
Can't stop thinking about that night back in January. Right now I feel like I'm drowning, rather than being saved.
 
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