Tanakh: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 (8:1-10 printed, omitted portions in italics)
The entire people assembled as one human in the square before the Water Gate,
and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the scroll of the Teaching of Moses
with which the Becoming One had charged Israel.On the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the Teaching before the congregation,
butches and femmes and all who could listen with understanding.She read from it, facing the square before the Water Gate,
from the first light until midday,
to the femmes and the butches and those who could understand;
the ears of all the people were given to the scroll of the Teaching.Ezra the scribe stood upon a wooden tower made for the purpose,
and beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah at her right,
and at her left Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, Meshullam.Ezra opened the scroll in the sight of all the people,
for she was above all the people;
as she opened it, all the people stood up.Ezra blessed the Becoming One, the great God,
and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," with hands upraised.
Then they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the Becoming One
with their faces to the ground.Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad,
Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites explained the Teaching to the people,
while the people stood in their places.They read from the scroll of the Teaching of God, translating it and giving the sense;
so they understood the reading.Nehemiah the Tirshatha, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites
who were explaining to the people said to all the people,
"This day is holy to the Becoming One your God: you must not mourn or weep,"
for all the people were weeping as they listened to the words of the Teaching.Ze further said to them, "Go, eat choice foods and drink sweet drinks and
send portions to whoever has nothing prepared, for the day is holy to our divine ruler.
Do not be sad, for your rejoicing in the Becoming One is the source of your strength."
Queeries for the text:
What is the Water Gate? What other elements are important?
What was the Teaching of Moses?
Who are butches and femmes?
What is understanding?
How can you learn without ears?
How can you see without eyes?
Why were verses 4 and 7 omitted from this lesson?
Why was mourning prohibited?
Where else are choice foods mentioned?
What was Moses's teaching before Nehemiah read this?
Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the reading from the Gospel.
Gospel: Luke 4:14-21
filled with the power of the Spirit,
returned to Galilee,
and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.15Jesus began to teach in their synagogues
and was praised by everyone.
16When Jesus came to Nazareth,
where he had been brought up,
he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day,
as was his custom.
He stood up to read,
17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him.
Jesus unrolled the scroll
and found the place where it was written:
18“The Spirit of Holy One is upon me,
because God has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
God has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19to proclaim the year of the Holy One’s favor.”
20And Jesus rolled up the scroll,
gave it back to the attendant,
and sat down.
The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
21Then he began to say to them,
“Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Queeries for the text:
Where was Jesus returning from?
What does Luke mean by "everyone"?
Did Jesus choose which Sabbath on purpose? Did Jesus change the expected reading?
What is good news to the poor?
What is release to the captives?
Do the blind want recovery of sight?
What is freedom for the oppressed?
What is the year of God's favor?
Does Jesus practice street theater of the oppressed?
How has this scripture been fulfilled?
What are your queeries?