Sunday, June 4, 2017

Only 9 am

Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Jo'el

I know, file this under the myriad of reasons I'm probably headed to hell, but this is one of the things that  make me giggle.  Not so much about the original joke, as remembering the first time I realized what he was actually saying.

Let me narrow this a bit for you:  Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. 

"It's too early for us to be drunk yet."  That's what Peter is saying.  Peter, yes, that Peter, is reassuring the crowd that it is too early for him and his friends (who let's face it, had gotten extra weird in the last couple of weeks) to be "lit".   

I remember the first time I realized what he was saying.   I cackled aloud in church.  Not entirely sure I wasn't standing at the lectern.  It was the first time Peter, as seen in scripture, came off as funny to me.   It happened again today, and of course, someone saw it.  (I didn't cackle aloud, which is good, as I sit under a hanging mic.) 


Saturday, January 28, 2017

From the Outside In. (Installment Eight)

Then it was over.  Rafael watched as they carried the body down from the cross and quickly laid it in Joseph of Arimathea's tomb.   He followed.  He watched as they pushed the rock over the door and began his vigil.  The air was cold and still.  He waited.  He passed the night in silence and about halfway through that Saturday he began to work.  Rafael began to loosen the shroud, light pulsing from his hands as he prepared body for Jesus' return.   The flesh began to heal.  He waited a little while more.   He was hoping  he would be able to sense the return of Lord's spirit, but nothing was happening yet.  One of the angels guarding the door looked in, wanting to know if anything was happening.   Rafael waved him off.  He peeled back more of the shroud. He staunched the wounds that had started to bleed again, but left the scars as he had been instructed.  No breathe yet.  No Jesus.  Rafael washed his hair and cleaned off the dirt and the blood.   He took the clothing he had brought with him and dressed the body.  He waited.  Watching impatiently as the sun went down.

Rafael leaned over and kissed Jesus' forehead.  He heard a shocked gasp and Jesus' eyes fluttered open.    Overcome, Rafael embraced him, crying, and Jesus pulled away.  He looked at the angel with compassion in his eyes and softly said,  "Don't do kiss the women when they come, the shock will kill them."

"Lord..." he muttered.  "It's not, you're not, the body's not ready yet.  You must rest, Master."  He watched him crumple up the shroud at the foot of the slab, and stand up.  

"I have to go meet my brothers."   He leaned over and kissed Rafael on the forehead and told him what to tell the women when they came to the tomb.   Then he left.   Rafael sat there for a few minutes, trying to process what just happened. Michael came in and patted him on the shoulder.  

"You alright, brother?"

"He just got up, told me what to do to send the women to him, and left.  Wouldn't sit still for even a moment.   I'm not even sure he's.."  Michael put a finger to his lips to stop him talking. 

"He got back up and started working, right?"  Rafael nodded.   "Rafi, he's fine.   That's what he does."   

Rafael started to speak again, to protest, when he heard something rustle outside.  "It's them, Michael, let's stand aside while they look around."  They faded into the back wall of the tomb.  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

From the Outside In (Installment Seven)

The chief priest was heading home and threw up on the side of the road along the way.  Something had to be done, he mumbled to himself.  Something had to be done.  It was him or someone else.  Something had to be done.  He claimed to be one with God.  Something had to happen.  But he was Joseph and Mary's boy, and that bothered him.  So did the healings.  What did they mean?  He cursed violently as he passed through the door at the front of the house.  Remembering Jesus as a young man, a gangly boy, helping Joseph put up the lintels.   He had been so jealous of the attention Jesus was getting.  What had he done?  He tried to pray, and found he could not.  The words wouldn't even come off his lips. 

Rafael considered comforting him, but decided against it. He looked small and weak in the light in his house.  Less like a man who had spear headed a campaign to murder a rival using the Roman government and more like a man who'd done something he didn't know how to undo.   Rafael decided to let him wallow in it. He didn't understand how it had come to this.   Humanity had been showing promise, but it always came back to this.  

Rafael looked up and realized the moment had come.  He understood now why Jesus had chosen this in a way he hadn't before.  The soldier's shaking hand holding the nails to his wrists.   The stiffening of their jaws as they did what was, at that moment, their duty.   The air smelled of desperation, feces, and blood.   There were thieves on either side of Jesus. One of them defiant, even naked and nailed to a cross he was defiant, and the other was resigned to his fate and even defending Jesus from the first one's gasping mockery. Rafael's heart swelled with love, falling to his knees next to the women.   They were weeping.  He was too stunned to move to help them in any way.  Gabriel already stood behind them with his wings spread over them in protection.  He was also stunned and weeping.  

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Waxing adventurous

Big secret reveal here:  I have hair on my face.  Hair in places I do not want it to be.  My chin, for example, grows wiry hairs that are stiff like a man's, are a favorite place for zits to crop up and generally drive me crazy.   In my continued efforts to not look like a man and not feel horrible stubble when I touch my chin, I have been waxing for years.


This is the stuff I buy at Sally Beauty.    It works great.  It goes on sticky, makes a little bit of a mess, but nothing I can't handle.   I've learned to stick in it in the microwave, not use it when I'm tired for fear of losing half an eyebrow, and generally respect the boundaries of my relationship with the stuff.
Except for when I went shopping on December 4, 2016,   That day, thinking I had spotted a larger size of the same product, I bought soft wax.   You know soft wax, the stuff the nice lady at the salon slathers on your face and then makes your eyebrows look like a painting of saint?   That soft wax?   I got it home and realize it was not my beloved blue microwave hard wax but the soft wax.  I thought, why not?  You're grown!  You've been waxing for years!

Stupid, stupid girl.   The signs were all there.  I bought the cloth strips at the store.  I saw all these other products I don't usually use because I'm a bad ass bitch who don't need lidocaine.  I also noticed products designed to remove wax from skin.  I figured this was also for people without my pain tolerance, because hey, I've been waxing for YEARS. 

I was so so wrong.   I decided I was going to do this before church, because a certain choir girl had Satan's chin hairs poking out to say hi.   I put the wax in the microwave.  I use my finger (like an idiot) to break the top layer of said wax.   It won't come off the tip of my finger.  It keeps drawing more wax up instead, until it looks like wax icicles on top of the wax pot.  Three inches worth of spun wax icicles.   I put it back in the microwave and wash my hands.  It won't come off.  I keep paper toweling it, thinking surely, it will eventually come off.   

I carry it to the bathroom and put it on my face.  It's so sticky.  It just stays sticky too.  I put the cloth strips on my face, I rub them in, proceed to rip them off.   The little bastard hairs are still there.  I try this again.  For the record, it worked on my eyebrows.   I break open a healing zit on my chin.   Swearing ensures.  The damn hairs are still there.  I decide to tweeze them because they have to die.  I realize at this point that I have to get this crap off my face before I got to church.  I try soap again to no avail.  In desperation, I reach for the rubbing alcohol.   It works!! 

There is a way out of this.   At this point, I realize I'm not making it to Sunday School.   I decide to get cleaned up and shoot for choir practice.  I rub wintergreen rubbing alcohol all over my bathroom and my face and do my makeup.   I go into the bedroom for earrings and realize I have this crap on my blouse.  I go back into the bathroom, pour alcohol on my shirt, it goes away.   (Thank you, God, for this small miracle)  I make it to church, thinking I've turned my phone down.   We're singing the Magnificat and Rachel texts me back.   The TARDIS's engine noise echoes through the church.  I run up to my choir pew and bend over to shut it up before it goes off during the sermon and I feel it...  my breasts are sticky.  I reach down and realize I have soft wax on my boobs.  

What do I do now?   Where is there rubbing alcohol at the church?  Where?   I remembered Marilyn's hand sanitizer that she keeps in the front pew.   Salvation in the form of a stinging bottle of germex has arrived!  Still trying to play it cool, I sit down in the front row with the bottle and nonchalantly  rub it on my chest while singing.  Elizabeth pretends not to notice because she's used to me being weird as shit.  Finally, I'm free of the sticky crap!   Then I notice it on my necklace, and stuff the damn thing into my purse to be immersed in rubbing alcohol later. 

The moral of the story:  Do not use soft wax at home!!  

From the Outside In (Installment six)

Herod, upon seeing them bring him in, was visibly tickled.  He hated the council.  He'd been wanting to see Jesus in hopes that he would perform some sign for him.  Rafael sighed, the man was a buffoon.  Herod was increasingly bored with the tenuity and danger of his position as a Roman puppet.  The religious leaders irritated him.  So did revolutionaries.  He listened to their accusations and upon seeing Jesus refuse to answer any of them, began mocking him.  He sent Jesus back to Pilate.   Herod had no idea that there was anything significant going on.  His mind was on his belly.  He didn't like to drink too much in front of the council.  It made him say things they made him regret later.  At any rate, he wanted the noise to stop.  

Pilate, upon seeing them bring Jesus back into his court, sighed deeply.   He laughed a little seeing the robe Herod had put on him.  Maybe the old man had a sense of humor after all?   The angel retreated to the shadows to get grip on his anger.  It was no great thing to them to be doing this.  It was true, Pilate was a little afraid of the mob.  He was a little worried about what his wife had said to him. He was also amused at the way these Jews took themselves and their god so seriously.  He couldn't even figure out what they were so upset about.  The man hadn't done anything wrong so far as he could tell.  He was just more popular than them.   As far as Pilate could tell, he was only more popular at the moment.  In the end, these Jews always went back to their standard rabbis and left the rabble rousers alone. He tried to get them to let him go.  He appealed to their conscience, knowing it would turn tender the next day, and tried to give him to them as was customary.  They picked a bandit instead.  Rafael caught a glimpse of Mary, Jesus's mother, and some other women, disciples, watching from the edge of the crowd.   Their veils shielded their faces and gave them an anonymity the men didn't have.  He stopped watching Pilate, sensing what was about to happen, and went to Mary.  He wrapped his wings around her to shield her from what came next.   It didn't help much.   

Why, what evil has he done?  Pilate asked, exasperated.   A roar came in response.  Crucify him!  They shouted.  Crucify him!  Mary fell, quickly caught by the other women and held up in a manner attempting to hide her shock and despair.  Mari, they whispered, Mari, we can't be seen.   They were terrified.   Rafael made them fade into the crowd.   He wouldn't let them hurt her any more than they already were.   The people around them simply didn't notice the women at that point. They could have if they really wanted to, but they were fixated on other things. Pilate appealed to them again, wishing to satisfy their blood lust with a flogging.   It wouldn't do.   Crucify him!  They roared again.   The women carried her away, bearing her up as she was unable to move under her own power.   Rafael shielded them from notice on the way out and away from scrutiny.   

Sunday, December 4, 2016

From the Outside in (Installment Five)

"Prophesy, if you can!  Who hit you?"   The soldier sneered with a slurred voice.   Rafael turned and ran back to the house in dead heat and Michael caught him at the door, nearly clothes-lining him with his arm.   "No.  You know we mustn't." Michael held him back.  "Look at him, he's exhausted."   Michael didn't mean the Lord, he meant the soldier.  Rafael stopped fighting and studied his face.  He was sick of the dirty business before him.  The man was tired, tired down to his very soul.  He was irritated that the "revolutionary" he was being forced to guard like he was a rabid dog was a peasant rabbi with dirty clothes and a swollen lip.  He took note that the tunic was nice, but he didn't figure he'd be wearing it much longer.   Quintus, as he was called, was trying to distract himself from the role he was to play in what he was afraid was this man's immanent demise.  

The other man, Titus, took a blind fold and covered Jesus's eyes, hitting him the face.   This went on for a while until they tired of abusing him.   What did he think he was going to do anyway?   Take down the mighty Roman empire?   Rafael saw this on his face and resisted the urge to whisper "eventually, yes" into his ear.  Michael leaned over, smiling a little for the first time that day, and said "just don't" into Rafael's ear. 

Night passed into morning.   

There was something that was supposed to be a trial.   Rafael watched, stunned, as the men did something they no longer wanted to do, simply because they had started doing it.  The whole council conferred, in their jealousy, and decided to take him to the Roman Governor.   Pilot was annoyed at first when he saw them walk in with Jesus as a prisoner.   These were the same men who annoyed him with their religious scruples and their sensitivities.  He listened to them, and examined Jesus.   He didn't see him as a threat.   The council, on the other hand, posed annoyance after annoyance and usually had the power of the mob on their side.  Usually.   He didn't want to get involved.   Rafael looked at Michael a little stunned.  Pilate?  Is it possible he wants to do the right thing?  Michael leaned in a little bit, and remarked that the man probably wanted to go eat and avoid the council, who he did not like and knew that they disliked him.   He sent them to Herod.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

From the Outside In, (Installment 4)

Rafael watched them disappear into the house to see Cephas coming in behind them. He stood in the courtyard around a fire with a few others. He was shaking and it wasn't from the cold.  A young woman approached,recognizing him, she called him out.   "This man was with him."   In her voice there was accusation, the reaction from the disciples had been violent, if sloppy and short lived.   She was a friend of the man whose ear had been sliced off.    She was upset and confused, a little angry, but more frightened because of the healing that had taken place.   The man they arrested had healed her friend's ear.   What had her master done in having him arrested?  Peter swore and said he was not with them.   A violent chill had seized him, terror at meeting the same fate he feared for Jesus.   She looked down at the fire and back at Cephas, then she went into the house.   She wanted to be alone.   She had work to do in the kitchen.  Maybe it would take her mind off the strange things happening here. 

A little while later one of the other men, recognizing Peter, brought it up again, and again he denied he knew Jesus at all.  He could see him through the courtyard.   There was more talk as the night wore on, another one of the men, recognizing Peter as a Galilean, brought it up again.  His accent had given him away.   He swore and denied it a third time.  The rooster crowed in the garden.  It was morning.  Jesus, standing near the door surrounded by armed guards, turned and looked at Peter.   

Peter collapsed inwardly, remembering the words Jesus had spoken to him earlier the night before.  "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times".  He ran out of the house and wept as he walked away.  Rafael followed him, saw him hit his knees once he was out of sight, shaking violently and sobbing hysterically.   Cephas could hardly breathe.  The angel stood in front of him, knelt down and kissed his forehead.   Peter stopped crying.  He knew something had just happened but he didn't know what.  The man got up and walked quickly to the home of one of his cousins.   None of them would dare ask him what was going on and that was how he wanted it just then.