Thursday, May 21, 2020

Queerying Easter 7A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

Acts 1:6-14
6So when the apostles had come together, they asked Jesus, “Leader, is this the time when you will restore the ruling power to Israel?”

7Jesus replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Parent has set by Their own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9When Jesus had said this, as the apostles were watching, They were lifted up, and a cloud took Them out of the apostles' sight.

10While Jesus was going and the apostles were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two people in white robes stood by them. 11They said, “People of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Them go into heaven.”

12Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as Jesus' siblings.

Queeries for the text:
Who is seeking ruling power today?
What is for us to know?
Who knows the times and periods?
What sort of power does the Holy Spirit bring?
Who have been witnesses to the ends of the earth?  Is it a good thing?
Who wears white robes?
Which certain women?  Who are certain women?
Who are Jesus' siblings?

For Ascension Day Queeries, check out this link to last year's Acts reading.

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Queerying Easter 6A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

Acts 17:22-31
22Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

24The God who made the world and everything in it, who is Leader of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25nor are They served by human hands, as though They needed anything, since God Themself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26From one ancestor They made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and God allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for Them and find Them—though indeed God is not far from each one of us. 28For ‘In God we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are Their offspring.’ 29Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now They command all people everywhere to repent, 31because God has fixed a day on which They will have the world judged in righteousness by a human whom They have appointed, and of this God has given assurance to all by raising Them from the dead.”

Queeries for the text:
What's the Areopagus?
What is it like to be extremely religious?
Does God need humanity?  Adoration?  Worship?
Which poets said we are God's offspring?
How are we God's offspring?
What do the art and imagination of mortals produce?
Where is judgment lacking?  Where is it needed?
How do people hold space for the unknown?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Queerying Easter 5A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

Acts 7:55-60
55But filled with the Holy Spirit, Stephen gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56“Look,” Stephen said, “I see the heavens opened and the Human One standing at the right hand of God!”

57But the religious authorities covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against Stephen. 58Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Sovereign Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Then Stephen knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Becoming One, do not hold this sin against them.” When Stephen had said this, he died.

Queeries for the text:
Who is Stephen?
What prompted this?
From what do we cover our ears?
What happens when crowds get together?  Can good come from groups?
Why are young men dangerous?
Who does Stephen sound like?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Queerying Easter 4A

Photo Credit: Dana Rademacher Hansen

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

Acts 2:42-47
42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Becoming One added to their number those who were being saved.

Queeries for the text:
Is this a fairy tale?
What wonders and signs were being done?  What wonders and signs are being done?  What wonders and signs are we waiting for?
Who is "everyone"?
What does it mean to have all things in common?  What are "all things"?
What are today's needs?
How are needs being met?
What is it like to break bread at home?
Who has the goodwill of people?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Queerying Easter 3A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

Acts 2:14a, 36-41
14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd,

36“Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made Them both Leader and Anointed, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 

37Now when the crowd heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Kindred, what should we do?”

38Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Becoming One our God calls to Them.” 40And Peter testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

Queeries for the text:
What is missing?
Who is leading today?
What happens when hearts are cut?
Who are your kindred?
What is the promise?
Who is far away?
What in this generation is (not) corrupt?  ...Anything?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Queerying Easter 2A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

Acts 2:14a, 22-32
14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd in Jerusalem,

22“You people of Israel, listen to what I have to say:
Jesus of Nazareth, one attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— 23this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24But God raised them up, having freed them from death, because it was impossible for them to be held in its power. 25For David says concerning them, ‘I saw the Becoming One always before me, for They are at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; 26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope. 27For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your Holy One experience corruption. 28You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29“You people and kindred, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that They would put one of his descendants on the throne. 31Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, ‘They were not abandoned to Sheol, nor did their flesh experience corruption.’ 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. ...

Queeries for the text:
What's missing?
When is this taking place?
How does God's "definite plan and foreknowledge" of the crucifixion comfort?  How does it disturb?
How might antisemitism be read into this text?  How does Peter's second naming of the crowd challenge that interpretation?
What is the difference between Sheol and Hades?
Is David saying the same thing two different ways?
Whose hands are outside the law?

What are your queeries?

Friday, April 10, 2020

Queerying the Easter Vigil

Queerier River Needham, MA queeries the Tanakh readings of the Easter Vigil.

Tanakh 1: Genesis 1:1-2:4a

Queeries for the text:
Who is the main character in this story?
Why was this creation narrative chosen?
Where is human's responsibility today?

Tanakh 2: Exodus 14:10-31, 15:1b-13, 17-18, 20-21

Queeries for the text:
What visceral feelings emerge when you hear this text?
Does this text show certain character(s) as unquestionably good?  How can different viewpoints complicate that?
Could you sing the song of Moses after seeing so many people die?
What horrifies you about this story?


Tanakh 3: Isaiah 55:1-11

Queeries for the text:
How does this utopian vision feel in an era of social distancing and CoViD-19?
What parts of our economic system do you want to change after reading this?
Does God care about the people who cannot afford to eat?
How are God's people remedying that?


Tanakh 4: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Queeries for the text:
How can bones hear?
How can bones breathe?
How can hope emerge from despair?
How can the dead live again?


Tanakh 5: Daniel 3:1-29

Queeries for the text:
How hot was the fire to kill people outside of it?
What kind of spiritual development does Nebuchadnezzar show in this text, if any?
Who went along and didn't ask questions or create difficulties for Nebuchadnezzar?  What might the parallels to today be?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel readings of the Easter.

Gospel 1: Matthew 28:1-10

Queeries for the text:
How does the world feel unstable today?
What is as shocking as lightning to us?
What happened to the guards after this?
What is with Jesus and Their feet?
What's going to happen in Galilee?


Gospel 2: John 20:1-18

Queeries for the text:
How does Mary's fear about Jesus' body resonate in our context?
Who rolls up linen wrappings?
How are belief and understanding different?
What is the power of Naming?

What are your queeries?