Sacred Text Reading Group
Date(s) - 12/12/2020
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
A weekly online sacred text reading group with Amy
Using a spiritual-practice approach, in each session we will explore a different brief scriptural text in depth. The aims of the sessions are educational (learning something about the texts and traditions), spiritual/moral (discovering what the texts ask of us), and community-building (getting to know each other better). Amy will have a version of the text available to share; “bring” your own if you like. All are welcome, as are your suggestions of future texts. About half our readings so far have been those suggested by group members.
Our text for December 12 is from the play Angels in America, by Tony Kushner. Two weeks before Christmas seems like a good time to talk about angels, doesn’t it?
Part 2: Perestroika
Act 4, Scene 6: Walter Prior, a gay man dying of AIDS, is in the ER with his ex-lover’s lover’s Mormon mother. Prior has been seeing visions of an angel.
PRIOR (Looks at Hannah, then): This is my ex-lover’s lover’s Mormon mother.
EMILY (THE NURSE): Even in New York in the Eighties, that is strange.
PRIOR: I saw an angel. That’s insane.
HANNAH: You had a vision.
PRIOR: A vision. Thank you, Maria Ouspenskaya.
I’m not so far gone I can be assuaged by pity and lies.
HANNAH: I don’t have pity. It’s just not something I have. (Little pause)
One hundred and seventy years ago, which is recent, an angel of God appeared to Joseph Smith in upstate New York, not far from here. People have visions.
PRIOR: But that’s preposterous, that’s…
HANNAH: It’s not polite to call other people’s beliefs preposterous.
He had great need of understanding. Our Prophet. His desire made prayer. His prayer made an angel. The angel was real. I believe that.
HANNAH: An angel is just a belief, with wings and arms that can carry you. It’s naught to be afraid of. If it lets you down, reject it. Seek for something new.
Act 5, Scene 1, when the angel appears to both Prior and Hannah
HANNAH: It’s an angel, you … just.. . grab hold and say … oh what was it, wait, wait, umm…. OH! Grab her, say “I will not let thee go except thou bless me!” Then wrestle with her till she gives in.
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