Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
This morning I went to church for Easter and, if I do say so myself, I was looking v. cute despite being at the 9 am service which is v. early for me to be seen in public in a non-Zoom capacity. But we do what we must to participate in society. The liturgist read a passage from Luke that I guess I've heard or heard referred to hundreds of times in my life, but this morning a part of it struck me as hilarious in a way that I've never thought of before.
So, this is the part where the women discover that Jesus is no longer in the tomb. (Side note: as you know, my husband has a Masters degree in all of this. Literally his degree is in Divinity, which seems extra and delightful to me. And any time I try to talk about anything from the Bible or explain a story beyond the basic Sunday School paper-figures-on-felt-board level I feel like a straight up fraud. Why am I sitting up here talking to you about the book of Luke like I know what I'm talking about? Have they made the book of Luke a musical? No, then I don't know nothing about it. [Like, seriously--to flesh out this part, I googled "who were the women at the tomb?" which feels like something I should already know. I knew one was Mary Magdalene, but the rest? You could have told me it was anybody. You could have said it was Esther, Eve, and Lilith from Frasier and I'd be like, "Yes, that sounds right." Anyway, it was Mary Magdalene, Mary of Clopas, and Mary as in Mary. Like. MARY. Of course! I knew that part. I did. So many Marys! Mary from 227, Sister Mary Clarence, Merry Clayton were there too. It was a whole conference. Also, apparently, according to some scholars, there was also someone named Joanna there. This was shocking to me. She didn't get the memo about the names.])
(See, this is why I'm not a preacher. Can you imagine how chaotic my sermons would be?)
Anyway, the phalanx of Marys arrives to find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. GASP! They're all like "Mary, what is happening?" "I don't know, Mary. Did you ask Mary?" "Mary and Mary and Mary and Joanna, rest assured I do not know what this is all about!"
Then the Book of Luke says "While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel." This morning in church the words "dazzling apparel" leapt across the pulpit and it me right in the head. I was like "MARY WHAT?!"
Dazzling attire! Okay hon! These two angels were like "lemme go on ahead and drop into Earth and show the kids how it's done! We came roll a stone away and we came to slay!"
This is my new favorite part of the Bible. Clearly these angels were Black, showing up in their dripped out Easter outfits, freshly purchased and extra as all get out.
Dazzling! Okay! The angels were like "Yes, Jesus is alive but that doesn't mean we can't steal focus for a hot second." The Marys were giving them 10s across the board.
The Bible was like "So, on the first Easter, two absolute queens caused a lot of conversation." Obsessed.
I really don't think I've heard it like this before. I feel like I'd remember Siegfried and Roy showing up at the Resurrection. So then I googled other translations. Dazzling shows up a lot but so do some other choice descriptions. Luke 24:4 reads like various tweets from Paris Fashion Week.
New International Version: While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
Lightning! Storm from X-Men and Jamie Foxx from the Spider-man movies dropped in to say hello.
Literal Standard Version: And it came to pass, while they are perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in clothing—flashing [with light];
[with light] is doing so much here. I also love that this is the version is called literal. It's like "I'm just going to tell you what happened, okay? I don't have time for all this extra. The angels were literally wearing Christmas lights wrapped around their whole bodies. It was crazy. Like, where was the plug?!"
King James Version: And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
Whatever your plans for the day, whether you're commemorating something or not, I hope you go out into the world with the dazzling energy of two angels who were sent to ask some rhetorical questions to group of more Marys than you would ever expect.
Ramadan Karim, Kosher and Happy Passover, and Happy Easter!
Plays on stage and on your computer! Books in your hand!
Backing Track is now streaming; Crying on Television starts performances in 6 weeks!
Backing Track streams until April 24th only!
Crying on Television, my new farcical play about making friends as adults, streams from June 26 to July 10 (live performances May 31 through June 25). Tickets to both are on sale now!
Swag for Kings of B'more
Many of my favorite independent booksellers are running preorder specials for Kings of B'more (which comes out May 31st). Order from Charm City Books, Solid State DC, East City Bookshop and others and get a chic mug for free.
PLUS! Anyone who preorders can get this fun travel pouch for all your dazzling accessories. All you have to do is submit proof of preorder at this link and they'll send one to you!
Random Thing on the Internet
Mary, what is happening?,