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Total hospitality, liturgy, and transgenderism

As we struggle with living out the Gospel message

to love you and our neighbour

forgive us when we fail your children

in whatever body they are clothed.

(from Moot little service liturgy on the theme of Hospitality)


Today i found myself, as usual, in a Moot service. This is a pretty normal Sunday evening activity for me now. I have come to love the profound acceptance of humanity that is often shared in a space created by members of our community. Today’s little service was based on the theme of Hospitality. I’m not often moved by liturgy. In fact my general impression has always been that liturgy is there for those who can’t handle the risk of getting to the core of who we are as people…that it offers a way out of being honest. That’s just my stupid arrogance coming through. But today’s liturgy had followed on form an afternoon event that I’m sure will stick with me.
A friend had offered to take me to a caberet club he often visits with his boyfriend. It’s not something i would usually do with my Sunday afternoons. Soho has always been kept for birthday parties on Saturday nights that i would more often than not wish to forget. Dean street at 3pm on a Sunday has a slightly different feeling though.
We were there to see the drag act who arrived on stage an hour late. Most in the audience were regulars. Being new to the venue, i was keeping a watchful eye of the other visitors. One lady in particular caught my eye: at about 4’5inches high she wore a large black adidas anorak which was worn from the elements. Her hair, unwashed was less ‘presentable’ than most other cuts in the room.
I remarked to my friend about the smell of hairspray that made me cough as our glamourous and tall afternoon entertainment passed by me down the aisle and made for the stage. There a giant bouquet of flowers and red velvet curtain met her predictable black sequin dress on stage. I antcipated a long string of innuendoes and smutty jokes. Instead our entertainer (whose name i forget) got down off the stage and made a b-line for the lady in the anorak. She lent over and gave her a huge hug followed by a kiss on the cheek.
Anorak lady’s face glowed up to show a smile missing many of the front teeth. Her day had been made. The lady at the bar with nobody to talk to, met with warm acceptance from on high. The atmosphere in the room was converted from generic entertainment venue to a place of hospitality and dramatic acceptance.
What struck me today was the love shown from one marginalised soul to another. The liturgy at moot helped me to look a myself, at the places i have ignored my own neighbour and reflect on the examples of love in our city.
God, help me to remember the subversive language of your love. Forgive me for turning my back on my brothers and sisters because of fear, mistrust and busyness.
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POSTED 06.12.09 BY: paulabbott | Comments (3)

3 Responses to “Total hospitality, liturgy, and transgenderism”

  1. On December 7th, 2009 at 3:05 pm Ian said:

    Love it David. It is good to have Epiphany moments of the encounter of God at unexpected times. I am always moved by the exploration of Christ as human, and the language of Isaiah – a 'man of sorrows and acquainted with grief', who was 'despised and afflicted'. It makes God far more real, and excites me – a God that chooses to be ordinary – 'that we could esteem him not', a God that chooses powerlessness and the way of love. God that became a servant rather than God as King. This type of God, is much more focused on justice, and for me, resonates far more with the Gospels, the Beatitudes and the beautiful concept of gracious love. The church has been appallingly bad at expressing Christ as human in the West, very different in the East. So your encounter – just so reminds me of the characteristics I would expect of CHRIST if God was here in human flesh now. I also love that the moment you outline was a foretaste, a holy moment, of the now but not fully yet Kingdom of God. In that way your experience connects with the principles Nic is outlining in Ubuntu and our ROL. Love it David….. very moving.

  2. On December 8th, 2009 at 1:28 pm grace said:

    Thank you David. God keep us from not seeing anorak lady.

  3. On December 10th, 2009 at 9:57 am Rob said:

    I don't get to Moot as often as I'd like – but I love this story David which brought a tear to my eye.
    Thanks masses for sharing!