WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Heaven Broken Open

By Jami Yandle

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
—Hebrews 13: 2

Last Friday night, six hundred people from my religious faith watched an online drag show together. It was one of those moments when you realize something epic is happening. I felt joy—a joy I haven’t felt in a long time—from the tingling on the top of my skull to the electricity that flowed through my body down to my toes. The drag show was heaven broken open, given to us for the evening. We were the angels, and the kings and queens were our royalty. Everything for a little while was perfect—and I saw the face of my God.

A lot of people think that drag is “just” dressing up, but to me drag is about more than taking the stage. If you’re trans/non-binary, like me, the actual performance is pretending to be cisgender. This means that drag is the most authentic thing I can be a part of: watching, or taking the stage as. a King. Queer people are in fact royalty, the early creators who utilized drag for survival—and, in some cases, protection. When Kings and queens are on stage, their witnesses form a holy council. Here is where my God can be found: nestled in the crux of the connection of humanity.

My God is too big to fit into any pronouns. My God accepts my entire sacred and holy self. My God knows I was created for an expansive life, and knows that the margins hold the most sacred and holiest parts of humanity.

When I witness a drag show, I’m witnessing my God in all who are present. I can feel our connection: the rhythm of life running through all of us, and in all things, is so obvious it almost hurts to feel it. In that moment, all of the struggles and pain incurred from existing as a person who’s non-binary are washed away, and I am made new, again.

Remind us that when the weight of the world is too much, we need to rest our wings a bit. For the spirit of a new day is waiting to renew us and subsume all that we are holding for good.

About the Author

Jami Yandle

The Rev. Jami Yandle (they/them) is a non-binary UU minister, graduate of Union Theological Seminary, and is a Board Certified Chaplain. Currently, Rev. Yandle serves the UUA as the Transgender Support Specialist.


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A 9-cell montage of Angel DeVida, Drag Queen, in amazing make-up and jewelry.

Angel DeVida, a self-described "Schizophrenic-Mexican-Jewish Drag Queen" who was part of the drag show described by Rev. Jami.

Photo used with permission.

Even if you didn't watch the General Assembly drag show, we invite you to practice generosity by tipping the performers via Venmo: