Mycroft Masada is a nonbinary trans and queer Jewish leader with 30 years of experience who moved to Gaithersburg, Maryland (Montgomery County near Washington DC) from their lifelong home of Boston in 2014. A TransEpiscopal Steering Committee member and former Congregation Am Tikva board member, Mycroft is particularly called to pursue LGBTQ+ and fat justice, and is an advocate, organizer, consultant, educator, trainer, writer and artist. They are married to Julia McCrossin, the mas(s)culine fatshion blogger, and with her they co-parent a dogter. Their central online home is

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Erev Easter 2014

“Rejoice and sing now, all the round earth,
Bright with a glorious splendor, for darkness has been vanquished by our eternal King.”
 -- Book Of Common Prayer
(Easter Vigil, page 286)

“They feast upon the abundance of your house;
You give them drink from the river of your delights.”
-- Psalm 36:8
(Common English Bible)

As part of our Holy Week havdalah, we went to the Great Vigil of Easter service at Episcopal Church of the Ascension (click here for the bulletin).  It was so good to see the altar cloths and other moveable furnishings replaced, after having seen them stripped away at the end of the Maundy Thursday service and absent at last night’s Good Friday service.  How much more so, to see them transformed into the Easter versions – spring flowers, multi-colored and metallic ye olde tapestry cloths and vestments, special candles, the handmade “He Is Risen” banner.

We gathered inside and were all given candles, then went out to gather around a little Weber grill on the front walk, where the priest kindled the new fire and lit the Paschal Candle; he led us back in in three stages with a versicle and response, and our candles were lit as we went.

It was a good, long, full service.  Some of my favorite aspects:
  • The way it was woven of threads from the other Holy Week services, plus new and old ones.

  • The vigil and transformation concepts and themes, especially their relationship with trans* people – putting me again in mind of the international Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20th), including the use of individual candles.  The individual candles also reminded me of our and other Christmas services, and those felt more recent and related than ever before.  I also thought about how the Apostles couldn't stay up with Jesus on the eve of his death, and yet we stay up with him tonight.  And of the Pesach seder:  Why is this night different from all other nights?   

  • The tapestry of the altar cloths depicts ye olde urns and flowering plants, but it also looks like hot air balloons, and their 1980s revival was part of my childhood – mostly symbolically, though we did see them in person at least once when visiting the part of my mother’s family that lived in the Southwest.

  • The little white plastic holders for our individual candles made them look like small Unitarian Universalist flaming chalices (the primary symbol of that tradition and Association).
  • There were many explicit and implicit connections between Judaism and Christianity (my faiths) – Passovers, Diasporas, candle-lighting, Cantors and more.  As in Jewish community, I was particularly mindful of people all over the world doing this same thing at this same time.  

  • We were read Genesis and Thanksgiving Over The Water – both especially relevant as Earth Day is this coming Tuesday (April 22nd); the latter begins “We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water.  Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation.”  And Genesis is central to trans* theology for many Jews, Christians and others:  “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – it’s even better when better translated.
  • “O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature…” (the beginning of a contemporary version of a Collect from the Book Of Common Prayer) – doesn’t / can’t this happen to each of us, many times, during our lives?  If we let it  -- if we meet it.
  • Being challenged for the second time this week by the story of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:10-31, 15:20-21), especially God’s hardening the Egyptians’ hearts when they wanted to stop oppressing the Israelites – as He had done to Pharaoh not long before.
  • Two sisters, a small girl and a baby, were baptized.  The older girl reminded me of myself at her age or thereabouts, especially because of her page boy haircut.  She was especially entertaining because she wasn’t shy about standing up on tiptoe and holding onto the baptismal font with both hands to look in, or dancing around it – the priest told us she dances at the service her family attends every Sunday – but when he asked her to look in she became quite shy.  And the last three questions of the Baptismal Covenant are central to me in my faith and ministry, and are part of the sermons I’m writing about trans* and fat justice: 
Celebrant:  Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
People:       I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant:  Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
People:       I will, with God’s help.

Celebrant:  Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
People:       I will, with God’s help.

(Book of Common Prayer, pages 304-305)

Also, it turns out that Ascension has a tradition of giving baptisees a white taper candle at the end of the ritual.

And now, a few more photos.

The Easter eggs, given by congregants, having their own vigil in the narthex as they wait for the hunt after services tomorrow.  (Aren’t the egg baskets that are also eggs cute?  They're sort of like some classic alien flying saucer designs, too.)

They made our nametags!  Our first ones here.  We’ll wear them tomorrow.

The little BBQ we used for the new fire and candles, waiting the Altar Guild to come and collect it.