Today, for one service, there was a woman standing in the pulpit of St. John's playing the role of Jesus Christ in the Passion reading.
Yes: Jesus had a flat-top, and no facial hair, and wore a rainbow pride bracelet!
I've already laid out the drama around this dramatic reading here and here, but needless to say, nothing "bad" happened. And perhaps, there was some good done. There were many who said they liked my reading, which was not the same as the one done at 11:15am...(and a fine reading that one was).
My Jesus was more of a rebel, reminding all that the woman who annointed him with nard had done a beautiful thing, because she recognized that he's about to be killed and buried, so quit your kvetching.
My Jesus emphasized the frustration with disciples who can't keep their eyes open long enough for him to pray when he's in the midst of a personal crisis: "Abba, Father, for you all things are possible. Remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want."
My Jesus was still matter-of-factly defiant with Pilate and the chief priests who were egging on the crucifixion.
My Jesus looked at the audience to ask, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
My Jesus was my understanding of the text... seen through lesbian eyes and understanding of what it really feels like to be the outsider, or the bearer of an unpopular message with the powers-that-be. An understanding of what it means to look around and realize that those who said they were your friends have been more interested in preserving their own skins than risking themselves on your behalf.
My Jesus is as much Your Jesus or the Person in the Next City's Jesus. He is Our Jesus.
My hope is that the congregation that was present was able to move past the obvious cross-gender casting of the part of Jesus, and take ownership of what it was that Jesus is saying and doing in Mark's gospel reading. And, at the same time, they hear the words... knowing that this IS a woman playing the part, or even that this IS a lesbian playing the part... and realizing that women and gay people are, therefore, very much a part of the Body of Christ.
As the prayer goes, "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be always acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer." Amen.