Sunday, January 17, 2021

Queerying 3rd after Epiphany B

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: a sample of sackcloth, a light brown, loosely woven fabric against a dark background.
Tanakh: Jonah 3:1-5, 10

The word of the Becoming One came to Jonah a second time: “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city of mine, and preach to it.” Jonah went at once to Nineveh in accordance with the Becoming One’s command. Nineveh was an enormously large city a three days’ walk across. Jonah started out and made his way into the city the distance of one day’s walk, and proclaimed: “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” The people of Nineveh believed God. They proclaimed a fast, and great and small alike put on sackcloth.

[...]

God saw what they did, how they were turning back from their evil ways. Then, God renounced the punishment She had planned to bring upon them, and did not carry it out.

Queeries for the text:
What does God's word sound like?
What does preaching look like?
Does God speak Hebrew? What does a Hebrew command look like?
Why are cities enormously large?
What is missing from this passage?
How can we turn from our evil ways?

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Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
 
ID: dark skinned hands use a metal hook to mend a white net while other netting is visible in the background.

Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the reign of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” 
 
16As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishers. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed Jesus. 
 
19As Jesus went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20Immediately Jesus called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.  

Queeries for the text:
Why was John arrested?  What happened to him?
What does it look like to repent?
When a fisher catches fish, what happens to the fish?
Who are the Sons of Thunder?
How do you mend nets?
How did Zebedee feel?
 
What are your queeries?
 
 
 


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Queerying 2nd after Epiphany B

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: in black and white, clouds fill the top of the scene. At the cloud line, an older person, read as an older man, floats in the air with arms extended. From his torso, rain flows to the earth.  The earth appears to be desert, with some smaller plants and rocks around.

Tanakh: 1 Samuel 3:1-10
Young Samuel was in the service of the Becoming One under Eli. In those days the word of the Becoming One was rare; prophecy was not widespread. One day, Eli was asleep in his usual place; his eyes had begun to fail and he could barely see. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the Becoming One where the Ark of God was. 

The Becoming One called out to Samuel, and Samuel answered, “I’m coming.” He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” 

But Eli replied, “I didn’t call you; go back to sleep.” So Samuel went back to lay down. 

Again the Becoming One called, “Samuel!” 

Samuel rose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” 

But Eli replied, “I didn’t call, my son; go back to sleep.”

—Now Samuel had not yet experienced the Becoming One; the word of the Becoming One had not yet been revealed to him.— 

The Becoming One called Samuel again, a third time, and he rose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” 

Then Eli understood that the Becoming One was calling the boy. And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down. If you are called again, say, ‘Speak, Becoming One, for Your servant is listening.’” And Samuel went to his place and lay down. 

The Becoming One came, and stood there, and She called as before: “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”

Queeries for the text:
Why was the word of the Becoming One rare? Why is the word of the Becoming One rare today? Where do we receive the word of the Becoming One today?
When were they sleeping? Why?
Who can sleep in God's temple? Which communities are they permitted in?
What is the significance to being called three times?
Does the Becoming One have a body? How?
 
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Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
 
ID: a blonde barbie with hair up, tilted head, and sequin top looks toward the camera.  In yellow at the bottom of the image words say "Who the fuck are you?"

Gospel: John 1:43-51
43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. Jesus found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
 
45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found the one about whom Moses in the Torah and also the prophets wrote: Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 
 
46Nathanael said to Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” 
 
Philip said to Nathanael, “Come and see.” 
 
47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, Jesus said of Nathanael, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 
 
48Nathanael asked Jesus, “Where did you get to know me?” 
 
Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 
 
49Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Divine One! You are the Ruler of Israel!” 
 
50Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51And Jesus said to Nathanael, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the messengers of God ascending and descending upon the Human One.”
 
Queeries for the text:
The next day after what?
Where do we assume goodness comes from? Can anything good come out of any nation?
Where else do fig trees show up?
How do titles convey meaning? How can they contradict meaning?
What's so great about a fig tree?
Where else do messengers of God ascend and descend?
 
What are your queeries?
 
 




Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Queerying Baptism of Jesus B

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: an artists rendition of a formless void, not as in earth, but as in a black hole.

Tanakh: Genesis 1:1-5

When God began to form the heavens and the earth.
The earth, unformed and empty, with darkness over the surface of the deep, felt wind from God's breath blowing over the water. 

God said: Let there be light!
And there was light.

God saw the light was good, so She pulled the light apart from the dark and separated them. 

God called the light Day, and the darkness, She called Night. And there was evening and morning, a first day.

Queeries for the text
:
When does God begin to form?
What does unformed and empty mean?
How are breath and wind different?
How is light formed?
Where is Day celebrated? What about the (longest) Night?

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Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
 
ID: blue clouds in the sky open with a bolt of lightning and a deluge of water onto the desert.

Gospel: Mark 1:4-11

4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to John, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7John proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of this one's sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but the one to come will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Child, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Queeries for the text:
Where have I read some of this before?
What sins need to be confessed?
What happens after repentance?
What do we proclaim?
What do shoes have to do with anything?
What do heavens torn apart look like?
When else are divisions torn apart?
What has Jesus done to deserve divine pleasure?
 
What are your queeries?
 
 


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Queerying Epiphany B

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: View from the observation platform in Alishan, Taiwan just before sunrise

Tanakh: Isaiah 60:1-6

Get up, for your light has dawned; The Becoming One's essence has shined on you!
Look! Darkness shall cover the earth, the peoples will be covered with thick clouds; But upon you the Becoming One will shine, and Her presence be seen over you. Nations shall walk by your light, sovereigns, by your shining radiance. Raise your eyes and look about: they have all gathered and come to you. Your sons shall be brought from afar, your daughters like babes on shoulders. As you behold, you will glow; your heart will throb and trill—for the wealth of the sea shall pass on to you, the riches of nations shall flow to you. Dust clouds of camels shall cover you, the camels of Midian and Ephah. They all shall come from Sheba; they shall bear gold and frankincense, and shall herald the glories of the Becoming One.

Queeries for the text:
What is the light that has dawned?
How is it the Becoming One's essence?
When else did darkness cover the earth?
What do sons and daughters refer to?
What is the wealth of the sea?
Where is Sheba?
Who heralds the Becoming One today?

-----
 
Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
 
ID: against a cloudy background on a dark screen, two people who read as women stand with their backs against each other, one facing forward and one facing to the side. Their hair and skin are dark. The one facing forward has a black corset on and short, dangly earrings. The one facing to the side has a gold bangle on her hand that reaches to her head, is wearing longer hoops and an orange top, and she is wearing a head wrap.
 
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, witches from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born ruler of the Jewish people? For we observed their star at its rising, and have come to pay them homage.’ 
 
3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 
 
5They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6 “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
   are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
   who is to shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod secretly called for the witches and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then Herod sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found her, bring me word so that I may also go and pay her homage.’ 9When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 

10When they saw that the star had stopped, the witches were overwhelmed with joy. 11On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered the child gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, the witches left for their own country by another road.

Queeries for the text:
Who are the witches? What impact does gender have?
Why is Herod frightened?
Who are the religious leaders quoting?  What was it really about?
How do stars guide? When do stars move?
How old was Jesus when the witches arrived?
Why myrrh?
How do encounters change us? Our paths?
What happened next?
 
What are your queeries?
 
 
 



Monday, December 28, 2020

Queerying Christmas 2

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: a night club filled with people with a variety of skin colors dancing in a variety of ways with strobelights and discoballs shining light.

Tanakh: Jeremiah 31:7-14

For thus said the Becoming One: cry out in joy for Jacob, shout at the crossroads of the nations! Sing aloud in praise, and say: Save, O Becoming One, Your people, the remnant of Israel. I will bring them in from the northland, gather them from the ends of the earth— the blind and the lame among them, those with child and those in labor— in a vast throng they shall return here. They shall come with weeping, with compassion will I guide them. I will lead them to streams of water, by a level road where they will not stumble. For I am ever a Parent to Israel, Ephraim is My first-born.

Hear the word of the Becoming One, O nations, tell it in the isles afar. Say: the one who scattered Israel will gather them, and will guard them as a shepherd their flock. For the Becoming One will ransom Jacob, redeem him from one too strong for him. They shall come and shout on the heights of Zion, radiant over the bounty of the Becoming One—over new grain and wine and oil, over sheep and cattle. They shall fare like a watered garden, they shall never languish again. Then shall maidens dance gaily, young men and old alike. I will turn their mourning to joy, I will comfort them and cheer them in their grief. I will give the priests their fill of fatness, and My people shall enjoy My full bounty —declares the Becoming One.

Queeries for the text:
Where is the crossroads of the nations?
How might disabled people receive and respond to this passage? How might different people receive and respond to this passage?
Why are level roads important?
Where else do watered gardens show up?
What does it mean to dance gaily?
How is fatness positive?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
 
ID: on a background of deep black, stars and galaxies are visible in the distance with one towards the top left and one towards the top center-right of the photo surrounded by light-colored gas. Waves of cloudy gases drift down from near the star out into space.
 
Gospel: John 1:1-18
 
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The Word was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Her, and without Her not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in the Word was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 
 
6There was a person sent from God, whose name was John. 7John came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through the light. 8John himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which makes everyone vivid, was coming into the world. 
 
10The true light was in the world, and the world came into being through Faer; yet the world did not know Faer. 11The light came to what was Faen own, and Faen own people did not accept Faer. 12But to all who received the light, who believed in Faen name, the light gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of a man, but of God. 
 
14And the Word became flesh and pitched Her tent among us, and we have seen the glory of the Word, the glory as of a parent’s only child, full of grace and truth. 15(John testified to the Word and cried out, “This was the one of whom I said, ‘The One who comes after me ranks ahead of me because She was before me.’”) 16From the Word's fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Child, who is close to the Parent’s heart, who has made God known.
 
Queeries for the text:
Who is the Word?
How are light and darkness in conflict? How do they work together?
How can light be unaccepted?
What is the will of those who are not men?
What is a child's glory?
Why does John the Testifier like riddles so much?
Where is grace and truth in law?
 
What are your queeries?
 
 



Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Queerying Christmas 1

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Isaiah 61:10-62:3

ID: a Sukkot, built up for the festival of Sukkot, the third in a series of festivals in the Jewish High Holy Days, after Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashannah and before Simchat Torah.

I rejoice with the highest joy in the Becoming One. My whole existence exalts Her, for She has given me the triumphant clothes to wear and wrapped me in a cloak of victory. She has dressed me like a bride and groom in their wedding attire. Just like the earth brings forth growth and the garden feeds the seeds so they grow tall, so will Becoming Itself be victorious and known throughout the nations. I am not silent for the sake of Zion and Jerusalem. I cannot, I will not be still until she is victorious and resplendent, her triumph like an Olympic torch. As you travel the earth, nations will see the victory of the Becoming One, and every sovereign your majesty. You will be called by a new name that the Becoming One will give you. You will be a royal diadem and a glorious crown in the hands of the Becoming One. 

Queeries for the text:
What is the highest joy? Where can it be found?
What might be a cloak of victory?
What's the relationship between Becoming Itself and The Becoming One?
What is victorious about an Olympic torch?
How far did the world extend in this text?
Who gets a new name?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
 
ID: a Black woman welcomes and awaits the dawn with arms widespread
 
Gospel: Luke 2:22-40

22When the time came for the family's cleansing according to the law of Moses, they brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Becoming One 23(as it is written in the law of the Becoming One, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as set apart to the Becoming One”), 24and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Becoming One, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on Simeon. 26It had been revealed to Simeon by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Becoming One’s Messiah. 27Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying, 29“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; 30for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 

33And Joseph and the child's mother were amazed at what was being said about Jesus. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Jesus' mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 

36There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37then as a widow for eighty-four years. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39When they had finished everything required by the law of the Becoming One, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Jesus.

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip? Why?
What cleansing? How is it customary?
Where else have I heard of two turtle doves?
How amazed could Mary and Joseph be after their experience with the shepherds?
When do swords pierce our souls?
Where is space for proclamations and prophecies from diverse people?
When is fasting good? Necessary? Harmful?
What does it mean to redeem a country?
What is the favor of God like?
 
What are your queeries?
 
 


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Queerying All the Christmases

River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: two shabbat candles next to a chalice. Behind them is a cloth embroidered with Hebrew and a bottle of white wine.
Tanakh I: Isaiah 9:2-7

The people that walked in darkness have seen a brilliant light; on those who dwelt in a land of gloom light has dawned.

You have magnified that nation, have given it great joy; they have rejoiced before You as they rejoice at reaping time, as they exult when dividing spoil. For the yoke that they bore and the stick on their back— the rod of their taskmaster— You have broken as on the day of Midian. Truly, all the boots put on to stamp with and all the garments donned in infamy have been fed to the flames, devoured by fire. For a child has been born to us, a son has been given us. Authority has settled on his shoulders. He has been named “The Mighty God is planning grace; The Eternal Father, a peaceable ruler”— in token of abundant authority and of peace without limit upon David’s throne and kingdom, that it may be firmly established in justice and in equity now and evermore. The zeal of the Becoming One of Angel Armies shall bring this to pass.

Queeries for the text:
How have Christians misappropriated this text?
Who was Hezekiah?

--

Tanakh II: Isaiah 62:6-12

Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchers, who shall never be silent by day or by night. O you, the reminders of the Becoming One, take no rest and give no rest to Her, until She establishes Jerusalem and makes her renowned on earth. The Becoming One has sworn by Her right hand, by Her mighty arm: nevermore will I give your new grain to your enemies for food, nor shall foreigners drink the new wine for which you have labored. But those who harvest it shall eat it and give praise to the Becoming One; and those who gather it shall drink it in My sacred courts.

Pass through, pass through the gates! Clear the road for the people; build up, build up the highway! Remove the rocks! Raise a flag over the peoples!

See, the Becoming One has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Announce to fair Zion, your Deliverer is coming! See, Her reward is with Her, Her recompense before Her. They shall be called, “The Holy People, the Redeemed of the Becoming One,” and you shall be called, “Sought Out, a City Not Forsaken.”

Queeries for the text:
What are tribute payments?
Who is colonized today?

--

Tanakh III: Isaiah 52:7-10

How welcome on the mountain are the footsteps of the herald announcing happiness, heralding good fortune, announcing victory, telling Zion, “Your God is Queen!”

Hark! Your watchers raise their voices, as one they shout for joy; for every eye shall behold the Becoming One’s return to Zion. Raise a shout together, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the Becoming One will comfort Her people, will redeem Jerusalem.The Becoming One will bare Her holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and the very ends of earth shall see the victory of our God.

Queeries for the text:
When did the Becoming One return to Zion?
What is the victory of our God?
 
-----
 
Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel readings.
 
ID: against a background of deep darkness, speckled with bright specks, yellow gas and clouds waft from a central bright point, from which a narrow line of light comes out, like a lightsaber.
 
Gospel 1: Luke 2:1-20
 
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the Roman world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 
 
4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5Joseph went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 
 
6While Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7And Mary gave birth to her firstborn and wrapped the infant in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guest room. 
 
8In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of God stood before them, and the glory of God shone around them, and the shepherds were terrified. 
 
10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see— I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Becoming One. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly angel armies, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom God favors!” 

15When the angels had left the shepherds and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which God has made known to us.” 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 
 
20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
 
Queeries for the text:
What was that night like for Mary?
Where was the manger?
What sort of workers were the shepherds?
 
--
 
Gospel 2: John 1:1-14
 
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The Word was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Her, and without Her not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in the Word was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 
 
6There was a person sent from God, whose name was John. 7John came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through the light. 8John himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which makes everyone vivid, was coming into the world. 
 
10The true light was in the world, and the world came into being through Faer; yet the world did not know Faer. 11The light came to what was Faen own, and Faen own people did not accept Faer. 12But to all who received the light, who believed in Faen name, the light gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of a man, but of God. 
 
14And the Word became flesh and pitched Her tent among us, and we have seen the glory of the Word, the glory as of a parent’s only child, full of grace and truth.
 
Queeries for the text:
Who is the Word?
How are light and darkness in conflict? How do they work together?
What is the will of those who are not a man?
 
What are your queeries?