Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Queerying Easter 5C

ID: Beatus de Facundus' 1047 Icon of New Jerusalem and the River of Life. A white figure, robed in black, holds an open book above a sperm-shaped river that flows downward. Eight people of a variety of genders and ethnicities sit on each side of the central figure. From the sides of the river, plants grow. In the bottom right corner, an angel shows John of Patmos the vision.
J. Pace Warfield-May queeries the reading from Revelation.

Revelation 21:1-6
Then I saw a new sky and a new ground; for the first sky and the first ground had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of the sky from the Becoming One, decorated as a banquet hall for a wedding. 3And I heard a loud voice from the judges’ bench saying, "See, the home of the Becoming One has been placed among mortals. Xe will dwell with them as their God; they will be Xyr peoples, and God Xymself will be with them; 4Xe will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for they have passed away." 5And the One who was seated on the judges’ bench said, "See, I am making all things new. Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6Then Xe said to me, "It is done! I am the A and the Z, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the parched I will give away clean, neverending water from the spring of the water of life.

Queeries for the text:
What do you envision the new sky and the new ground to be like?
Why did the old ground pass away and the sea become no more?
How do we comfort and build community through times of grief?
Why is clean water so important?

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Find previous queeries for the Acts text here.

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What are your queeries?




Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Queerying Easter 4C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

ID: Rose Schneiderman, the first woman elected to national office in a labor union, speaks out at a rally, which she did many times after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911.
Acts 9:36-43
36Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good action and generous giving. 37At that time she became ill and died. When the community had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs.

38Since Lydda was near Joppa, the Sent Ones, who heard that Peter was there, sent two who were men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” 39So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them.

40Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. 42This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lover.

43Meanwhile Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Queeries for the text:
Where is Joppa?
Why does Tabitha's Greek name matter?
What are good works and generous giving?
Of what did Tabitha die? Was she pregnant?
What was Peter doing in Lydda?
Who makes the clothing now?
Which "certain Simon"? How long does Peter stay?

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J. Pace Warfield-May queeries the Revelation reading.
ID: Vantablack applied to tinfoil in a square container. The Vantablack makes it appears as if there is no shape or contour to the tinfoil where the Vantablack is applied
Revelation 7:9-17
9After these things, I looked, and holy shit there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in Vantablack, with palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying, "Salvation and an end to suffering belongs to the Becoming One who is seated on the judgment bench, and to the Lamb!”

11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the ancestors and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped the Becoming One, 12singing, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our Becoming One forever and ever! Amen.”

13Then one of the ancestors addressed me, saying, "Who are these, robed in Vantablack, and where have they come from?” 14I said to the ancestor, "Comrade, you are the one that knows." Then the ancestor said to me, "These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them Vantablack in the blood of the Lamb. 15For this reason they are before the throne of the Becoming One, and worship day and night within the temple, and the One who is seated on the judgment bench will keep them safe and protected. 16They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not burn them, nor any scorching heat; 17for the Lamb at the center of the judgment bench will be their shepherd, and They will guide them to springs of the water of life, and the Becoming One will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Queeries for the text:
What are these things John is referencing?
What would it be like to fear no more the heat of the sun?
What does the judgement bench have to do with salvation and an end to suffering?
What would it be like to have robes in Vantablack?

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What are your queeries?



 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

A Litany for Reproductive Justice

ID: a graphic designed by Pace Warfield-May shows a purple band with white flowers adjacent to a taupe rectangle with the following text: "A Litany for Reproductive Justice/written by Suzannah Porter and Rev. Emily E. Ewing." A purple flower is under the text and the diakonia.faith logo is in the bottom right corner.
With devastation all around and in our hearts, we come to you, Holy Protector.

Be with all who are caught up in despair today for when the draft statement becomes the opinion of the United States Supreme Court:
those experiencing emergency or risky pregnancies, who will not be able to terminate a pregnancy in order to save their own life.
those who miscarry and will face criminal investigations in the midst of their pain and loss.
those who are pregnant and feel financially chained to an abusive partner.
those who do not want to be pregnant for any reason and now wonder if it will be possible to end an unwanted pregnancy.
Comforting God, be with us in our despair



Be with all who fear what is to come.
for the terrifying realities and increased danger for those who become pregnant.
for those who recognize this as one step of many in the erosion of rights for all people.
Be a courageous and caring presence especially for people with uteri, for women of all kinds, for trans and nonbinary people, for disabled people, for queer people, for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and especially for those with intersecting identities of oppression.  Give us faith to triumph over our fear.
Courageous God, be with us in our fear



Our hearts grieve for the ways we have failed.  We repent for our inaction to protect the right to an abortion.  We repent for the ways we have remained silent and let fear outweigh our faith and commitment to reproductive justice.  We repent for the times when we did not speak and could have.  We repent for the education we did not share.  We repent that we let it come to this.  For those of us who are faith leaders, clergy, and politicians, we repent for the times when our pulpits were silent, when we feared for our jobs more than a future without safe abortion, when we didn't believe the warning signs, when we refused to risk our comfort for the sake of reproductive justice.  We repent for the ways we ignored the 1 in 4 people with uteri in our pews who have had abortions, adding to the stigma.
God of mercy, forgive us our sins.



Protect the most vulnerable.  Keep those who seek and who provide abortions safe.  Pour your power into holistic reproductive health care, for all seeking to become pregnant, to end pregnancies, and everything between and beyond.  Protect those who have faced forced sterilization, that their wombs and bodies may be kept safe.  Protect those without the funds or access to seek abortion, especially in states where it is already nearly impossible to access reproductive health care.
God our refuge, protect us from all harm.



Strengthen the support for abortion networks and those who are working to protect rights to reproductive justice.  Expand the work that is already being done to ensure access to safe, free abortions.  For the fights on the horizon, we pray for your strength and protection: for bodily integrity and autonomy of all kinds, including access to birth control, access to gender affirming health care, protection for transgender and queer children from legislated harm, the protection that marriages of many kinds provide.  Give us patience and care in the creation of a more expansive movement, that we would each be gentle with each other as we navigate our trauma collisions, to seek first to understand with love.
God our champion, lead us to justice.



We give you thanks for all those who have been in this fight for decades and for those who today are filled with ferocity, fury, and fear.
for the work and protection that has been done so far.
for all who don’t know where to begin, and yet are burning with a fire for justice in the wake of this news.
Breathe your resting peace into those who have been fighting, that they carve out space to be gentle with themselves in the time to come.  Give us wisdom to follow those who are already doing this work.  Put your words in our mouths and on our hearts as we speak with state and national officials.  Prepare us for the long road ahead.
Maker of justice, breathe your liberating Spirit through us.



Creative Spirit of consent and courage, we entrust all this and all that you know that we need into your loving presence.  We pray all this in your many names. Amen.



If you would like to use this litany, please credit Suzannah Porter and Rev. Emily E. Ewing, diakonia.faith. The litany in graphic form, designed by Pace Warfield-May can be found here on the diakonia.faith Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Queerying Easter 3C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.
ID: a continuous scaly pattern fills a rainbow blue green background.
Acts 9:1-6[7-20]
Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lover, went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, of any gender, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3Now as Saul was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5Saul asked, “Who are you, Lover?”

The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are targeting. 6But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”

[7The people who were traveling with Saul stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. 8Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.

9For three days Saul was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lover said to Ananias in a vision, “Ananias.”

He answered, “Here I am, Lover.”

11The Lover said to Ananias, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12and he has seen in a vision one named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”

13But Ananias answered, “Lover, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14and here he has authority from the community leaders to bind all who invoke your name.”

15But the Lover said to Ananias, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and rulers and before the people of Israel; 16I myself will show Saul how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

17So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lover Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18And immediately something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and his sight was restored. Then Saul got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20and immediately Saul began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “They are the Descendant of God.”]

Queeries for the text:
How can light harm?
Why is Saul persecuting the followers of the Way?
How is Saul dependent on others? How are we interdependent?
Why would anyone want to go to the street called Straight?
How do harmful actions disconnect us?
What scales need to fall for us to proclaim Jesus?
How do conversions usually happen

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J. Pace Warfield-May queeries the reading from Revelation.
ID: an icon of the tetramorph (the four creatures), with a bird on the top, the human in the center, the bull on the left, and the lion on the right, each surrounded by wings against a starry field.
Revelation 5:11-14
11Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the ancestors; they numbered tens of thousands of tens of thousands and thousands of thousands, 12singing with full voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!"

13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, "To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!" 14And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the ancestors fell down and worshiped.

Queries for the text:
How does one hear by looking?
Who are the ancestors? What are the four creatures?
What comes from suffering?
What does an entire planet singing sound like?

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Find previous queeries for the John text.

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What are your queeries?




Thursday, April 21, 2022

Queerying Easter 2C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

ID: the cover of The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James Cone shows a golden leafed tree standing in a yellow field and pale sky.
Gospel: Acts 5:27-32
27When the captain and police had brought the Sent Ones, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, 28saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this person’s blood on us.”

29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. 30The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted Them at Xyr right hand as Lover and Savior that They might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Xem.”

Queeries for the text:
Why were the captain and police bringing the Sent Ones?
How do Christians bring Jesus' blood on Jewish people?
What is of God?
What happens when someone is hung on a tree?
Who actually hung Jesus on a tree?
How are religious and community leaders complicit in oppression?
Who needs repentance and forgiveness?
What is the Holy Spirit up to?

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J. Pace Warfield- May queeries the reading from Revelation.

ID: Image is a subtitled still from Season 3 of “American Horror Story,” featuring a close up of Myrtle (Frances Conroy) saying “Behold, the one true, supreme.”
Revelation 1:4-8
4John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from Them who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before Their throne, 5and from Jesus the Anointed, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the Sovereign of the monarchs and leaders of the earth. To Them who loves us and freed us from our harm and harm to others by Their blood, 6and made us to be a kin-dom, priests serving Their God/ess and Parent, to Them be glory and authority forever and ever. Amen.

7Look! They are coming with the clouds; every eye will see Them, even those who pierced Them; and on Their account all the peoples of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. 8"I am the A (the Alpha, the First) and the Z (the Omega, the last)," says the God/ess, who is and who was and who is to come, the Supreme.

Queeries for the text:
Who is this message addressed to?
What does it mean to be firstborn of the dead?
What or who is Jesus witness to?
What does it mean to be a member of Jesus' kin-dom and a priest serving God/ess?
Why will the peoples of the earth wail?

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Find previous queeries for the John text.

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What are your queeries?






Thursday, April 14, 2022

Queerying Easter Day C

Queery the rest of Holy Week

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Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel readings.
ID: the glaciers of Calafate, Argentina are visible on a large body of water in front of tree covered mountains with green plants with red flowers framing the glaciers in the foreground.
Gospel: Luke 24:1-12
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, the women who had come with Jesus from Galilee came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two people in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the people said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? They are not here, but have risen. 6Remember how Jesus told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Human One must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”

8Then the women remembered Jesus' words, 9and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.

11But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Queeries for the text:
Which spices had been prepared?
When else have dazzling clothes appeared? Who dazzles?
When do we look for the living among the dead?
Who are the sinners?
Who made up the church before the apostles were told?
Why wouldn't they believe women?

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Gospel: John 20:1-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other in the chosen family, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lover out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid the body.” 3Then Peter and the one whom Jesus loved set out and went toward the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5This one bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that Jesus must rise from the dead. 10Then the two returned to their homes.

11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “They have taken away my Lover, and I do not know where they have laid the body.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”

Supposing Jesus to be the gardener, she said, “Liege, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).

17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Caregiver. But go to my siblings and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Caregiver and your Caregiver, to my God and your God.’”

18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the chosen family, “I have seen the Lover”; and she told them that They had said these things to her.

Queeries for the text:
Who is the "they"?
How do you believe without understanding?
When do we not recognize loved ones?
How are names powerful?
Who made up the church before Mary announced the news to anyone else?

What are your queeries?





Thursday, April 7, 2022

Queerying Palm/Passion C

ID: a black and white photo shows a person laying their coat on the ground before a person wiht high heels.  At the top is the question "How Did Coat Over Puddle Chivalry Begin?"

 Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 19:28-40
28After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of the disciples, 30saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Becoming One needs it.’”

32So those who were sent departed and found it as Jesus had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34They said, “The Becoming One needs it.” 35Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it.

36As Jesus rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the chosen family began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38saying, “Blessed is the ruler who comes in the name of the Becoming One! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”

39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.”

40Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

Queeries for the text:
After Jesus had said what?
Why a colt that has never been ridden?
Where are the palms?
Who benefits from silence

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Gospel: Luke 21:37-22:16
37Every day Jesus was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called. 38And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple.

22Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. 2The religious authorities were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people. 3Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; 4he went away and conferred with the religious authorites and officers of the temple police about how he might betray Jesus to them. 5They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. 6So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray Jesus to them when no crowd was present.

7Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.”

9They asked Jesus, “Where do you want us to make preparations for it?”

10“Listen,” Jesus said to them, “when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow them into the house they enter 11and say to the owner of the house, ‘The teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ 12The owner will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.”

13So they went and found everything as Jesus had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. 14When the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the chosen family with him. 15He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the dominion of God.”

Queeries for the text:
What else happens in the temple?
What is Passover? What isn't it?
Who colludes with police? How is Satan at work?
How is antisemitism at play?
What kind of man carries water?
Who prepares room for unknown strangers?
How is it fulfilled? How is it not?

What are your queeries?