Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Queerying Easter 2C

The Gospel reading, also queeried last year, can be found at this link.

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

Acts 5:27-32
27When the captain and temple police had brought the apostles,
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 one’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 this Jesus to be Leader and Savior at God's right hand,
to give repentance to Israel
and forgiveness of sins.
32And we are witnesses to these things,
and so is the Holy Spirit
who has been given to those who obey God.”

Queeries for the text:
How and from where had they brought the apostles?
What strict orders do religious leaders give today?
Whose blood is on us?
Where is Peter at in the stages of moral development?
How can we navigate human and divine authority?
Why does it matter that Jesus was hanged on a tree?
Who are our ancestors?
What does it mean to obey God in the context of this story?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Easter Day year C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 24:1-12
But on the first day of the week,
at early dawn,
the women 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?
Jesus is not here,
but has risen.
6Remember how Jesus told you,
while 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,
Peter saw the linen cloths by themselves;
then he went home,
amazed at what had happened.

Queeries for the text:
Which spices? How did the stone get rolled away?
What else dazzles? What is happening?!
How do we look for the living among the dead?
How much can we be expected to remember without the context?
Did Jesus tell more than just "the Twelve" about the upcoming death?
What should the role of women be?
What truths seem idle tales today?
How fast does Peter run?
Why didn't Peter share his amazement and findings with others?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Good Friday year C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12

“Indeed, my servant shall prosper,
be exalted and raised to great heights.
Just as the many were appalled—
so marred was his appearance, unlike any form,
beyond human semblance
just so he shall startle many nations.
Kings shall be silenced because of him,
for they shall see what has not been told them,
shall behold what they never have heard.”
“Who can believe what we have heard?
Upon whom has the arm of the Becoming One been revealed?
For he has grown, by God's favor, like a tree crown,
like a tree trunk out of arid ground.
He had no form or beauty, that we should look at him:
no charm, that we should find him pleasing.
He was despised, shunned by all, a man of suffering, familiar with disease.
As one who hid his face from us, he was despised, we held him of no account.
Yet it was our sickness that he was bearing,
our suffering that he endured.
We accounted him plagued, smitten and afflicted by God;
but he was wounded from our sins,
crushed from our iniquities.
He bore the chastisement that made us whole,
by his bruises we were healed.
We all went astray like sheep, each going their own way;
the Becoming One visited upon him the guilt of all of us.”
He was maltreated, yet he was submissive, he did not open his mouth;
like a sheep being led to slaughter,
like a ewe, dumb before those who shear her,
he did not open his mouth.
By oppressive judgment he was taken away, who could describe his abode?
For he was cut off from the land of the living through the sin of people,
who deserved the punishment.
And his grave was set among the wicked,
and with the rich, in his death—
though he had done no injustice and had spoken no falsehood.
But the Becoming One chose to crush him by disease,
that, if he made himself an offering for guilt,
he might see offspring and have long life,
that through him the Becoming One's purpose might prosper.
Out of his anguish he shall see it;
he shall enjoy it to the full through his devotion.
“My righteous servant makes the many righteous,
it is their punishment that he bears.
Assuredly, I will give him the many as his portion,
he shall receive the multitude as his spoil.
For he exposed himself to death and was numbered among the sinners,
whereas he bore the guilt of the many and made intercession for sinners.”

Queeries for the text:
Who does this text talk about? When has or will this person come?
Who is speaking in this text? Does it matter?
Does this person fulfill a political role, a religious role, or something else entirely?
What kind of healing does Messiah bring?
What is the sin for which Messiah was hurt?
Are the Becoming One's actions justified? Why or Why not?
What kinds of atonement theory are in place in this text? How are they reconciled with belief in a just God?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading, broken into parts as they would be used for a tenebrae service.

Gospel: John 18:1-11
After Jesus had spoken these words,
he went out with his disciples
across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden,
which he and his disciples entered.
2Now Judas,
who betrayed Jesus,
also knew the place,
because Jesus often met there with his disciples.
3So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers
together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees,
and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.
4Then Jesus,
knowing all that was to happen to him,
came forward and asked them,
“Whom are you looking for?”
5They answered,
“Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus replied,
“Here I AM.”
Judas, who betrayed Jesus,
was standing with them.
6When Jesus said to them, “Here I AM,”
they stepped back and fell to the ground.
7Again Jesus asked them,
“Whom are you looking for?”
And they said,
“Jesus of Nazareth.”
8Jesus answered,
“I told you that here I AM.
So if you are looking for me,
let these others go.”
9This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken,
“I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.”
10Then Simon Peter,
who had a sword,
drew it,
struck the high priest’s slave,
and cut off his right ear.
The slave’s name was Malchus.
11Jesus said to Peter,
“Put your sword back into its sheath.
Am I not to drink the cup that the Loving Parent has given me?”

Queeries for the text:
How are soldiers and police connected to religious folks?
What happened to Malchus' ear?  Why was Malchus there?


Gospel: John 18:12-27
12So the soldiers, their officer, and the Judean police
arrested Jesus and bound him.

13First they took Jesus to Annas,
who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas,
the high priest that year.
14Caiaphas was the one who had advised the religious authorities
that it was better to have one person die for the people.
15Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.
Since that disciple was known to the high priest,
they went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest,
16but Peter was standing outside at the gate.
So the other disciple,
who was known to the high priest,
went out,
spoke to the woman who guarded the gate,
and brought Peter in.
17The woman said to Peter,
“You are not also one of this man’s disciples,
are you?”
Peter said,
“I am not.”
18Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold,
and they were standing around it
and warming themselves.
Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.
19Then the high priest questioned Jesus
about his disciples and about his teaching.
20Jesus answered,
“I have spoken openly to the world;
I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple,
where all the Jewish people come together.
I have said nothing in secret.
21Why do you ask me?
Ask those who heard what I said to them;
they know what I said.”
22When Jesus had said this,
one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying,
“Is that how you answer the high priest?”
23Jesus answered,
“If I have spoken wrongly,
testify to the wrong.
But if I have spoken rightly,
why do you strike me?”
24Then Annas sent Jesus bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself.
Those gathered asked him,
“You are not also one of his disciples,
are you?”
Peter denied it and said,
“I am not.”
26One of the slaves of the high priest,
a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off,
“Did I not see you in the garden with him?”
27Again Peter denied it,
and at that moment the cock crowed.

Queeries for the text:
Which disciple knew the high priest?  How did they know Caiaphas?
How should police be treated?
Was Peter too cocky during dinner?


Gospel: John 18:28-40
28Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters.
It was early in the morning.
They themselves did not enter the headquarters,
so as to avoid ritual defilement
and to be able to eat the Passover.
29So Pilate went out to them and said,
“What accusation do you bring against this one?”
30They answered,
“If this man were not a criminal,
we would not have handed him over to you.”
31Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.”
The Judeans replied,
“We are not permitted to put anyone to death.”
32(This was to fulfill what Jesus had said
when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)
33Then Pilate entered the headquarters again,
summoned Jesus, and asked him,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
34Jesus answered,
“Do you ask this on your own,
or did others tell you about me?”
35Pilate replied,
“I am not Jewish, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
36Jesus answered,
“My kingdom is not from this world.
If my kingdom were from this world,
my followers would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Judeans.
But as it is,
my kingdom is not from here.”
37Pilate asked him,
“So you are a king?”
Jesus answered,
“You say that I am a king.
For this I was born,
and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
38Pilate asked him,
“What is truth?”
After Pilate had said this,
he went out to the Judeans again and told them,
“I find no case against him.
39But you have a custom
that I release someone for you at the Passover.
Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?”
40They shouted in reply,
“Not this man,
but Barabbas!”
Now Barabbas was a terrorist.

Queeries for the text:
What is truth?
What does it mean to be called King (of the Jews)?
What kind of terrorists exist today?


Gospel: John 19:1-7
Then Pilate took Jesus
and had him flogged.
2And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns
and put it on his head,
and they dressed him in a purple robe.
3The soldiers kept coming up to Jesus, saying,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
and striking him on the face.
4Pilate went out again and said to them,
I am bringing him out to you
to let you know that I find no case against him.”
5So Jesus came out,
wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.
Pilate said to them,
“Here is the one!”
6When the chief priests and the police saw Jesus,
they shouted,
“Crucify him!
Crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and crucify him;
I find no case against him.”
7The Judeans answered Pilate,
“We have a law,
and according to that law he ought to die
because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

Queeries for the text:
What's the difference between Son of God and child of God?
Why did Pilate have Jesus beaten and mocked when found no case against him? Who is beaten and mocked today?
Where were the rest of the people?


Gospel: John 19:8-16a
8Now when Pilate heard this,
he was more afraid than ever.
9Pilate entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus,
“Where are you from?”
But Jesus gave him no answer.
10Pilate therefore said to him,
“Do you refuse to speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you,
and power to crucify you?”
11Jesus answered Pilate,
“You would have no power over me
unless it had been given you from above;
therefore the one who handed me over to you
is guilty of a greater sin.”
12From then on Pilate tried to release Jesus,
but the Judeans cried out,
“If you release this man,
you are no friend of the emperor.
Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”
13When Pilate heard these words,
he brought Jesus outside
and sat on the judge’s bench
at a place called The Stone Pavement,
or in Hebrew Gabbatha.
14Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover;
and it was about noon.
Pilate said to the Judeans,
“Here is your King!”
15They cried out,
“Away with him! Away with him!
Crucify him!”
Pilate asked them,
“Shall I crucify your King?”
The chief priests answered,
“We have no king but the emperor.”
16Then Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

Queeries for the text:
What power do we think we have?  Who actually hands Jesus over?
Who is "King" for "Christians"?  What about those who claim to be Queens?


Gospel: John 19:16b-22
So they took Jesus;
17and carrying the cross by himself,
Jesus went out to what is called The Place of the Skull,
which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.
18There they crucified Jesus,
and with him two others,
one on either side,
with Jesus between them.
19Pilate also had an inscription written
and put on the cross.
It read,
“Jesus of Nazareth,
the King of the Jews.”
20Many of the Judeans read this inscription,
because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city;
and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.
21Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,
“Do not write,
‘The King of the Jews,’
but, ‘This man said,
I am King of the Jews.’”
22Pilate answered,
“What I have written I have written.”

Queeries for the text:
How does the Hebrew matter?
Why was the place for the crucifixion of Jesus near the city?
What is the authority of the written word?


Gospel: John 19:23-30
23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus,
they took his clothes and divided them into four parts,
one for each soldier.
They also took his tunic;
now the tunic was seamless,
woven in one piece from the top.
24So they said to one another,
“Let us not tear it,
but cast lots for it to see who will get it.”
This was to fulfill what the scripture says,
“They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
25And that is what the soldiers did.
standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother,
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.
26When Jesus saw his mother
and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her,
he said to his mother,
“Woman, here is your son.”
27Then he said to the disciple,
“Here is your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
28After this,
when Jesus knew that all was now finished,
he said (in order to fulfill the scripture),
“I am thirsty.”
29A jar full of sour wine was standing there.
So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop
and held it to his mouth.
30When Jesus had received the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
Then Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Queeries for the text:
How have soldiers divided bounty since then?  With what did the soldiers leave Jesus on the cross?
Where's the rest of Jesus' family?  Siblings?
What is finished? What did Jesus give up?


Gospel: John 19:31-42
31Since it was the day of Preparation,
the Judeans did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath,
especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity.
So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken
and the bodies removed.
32Then the soldiers came
and broke the legs of the first
and of the other who had been crucified with him.
33But when they came to Jesus
and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs.
34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear,
and at once blood and water came out.
35(The one who saw this has testified
so that you also may believe.
This one's testimony is true,
and they know that they tell the truth.)
36These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled,
“None of his bones shall be broken.”
37And again another passage of scripture says,
“They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”

38After these things,
Joseph of Arimathea,
who was a disciple of Jesus,
though a secret one because of his fear of the Judeans,
asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus.
Pilate gave him permission;
so Joseph came and removed Jesus' body.
who had at first come to Jesus by night,
also came,
weighing about a hundred pounds.
40They took the body of Jesus
and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths,
according to the Jewish burial custom.
41Now there was a garden in the place where Jesus was crucified,
and in the garden there was a new tomb
in which no one had ever been laid.
42And so,
because it was the Jewish day of Preparation,
and the tomb was nearby,
they laid Jesus there.

Queeries for the text:
Why was that sabbath so solemn?
How can you be a secret disciple? How much did Nicodemus' myrrh and aloe cost?!
Does it matter if the tomb had been used?  Was it a tomb of convenience?

What are your queeries?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Maundy Thursday year C

Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Exodus 12:1-4 [5-10] 11-14.
The Becoming One said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:
This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months;
it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.
Speak to the whole community of Israel and say that on the tenth of this month
each of them shall take a lamb to a family, a lamb to a household.
But if the household is too small for a lamb, let him share one with a neighbor who
dwells nearby in proportion to the number of persons: you shall contribute for
the lamb according to what each household will eat.
Your lamb shall be without blemish, a yearling male;
you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
You shall keep watch over it until the fourteenth day of this month;
and all the assembled congregation of the Israelites shall slaughter it at twilight.
They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel
of the houses in which they are to eat it.
They shall eat the flesh that same night;
they shall eat it roasted over the fire,
with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs.
Do not eat any of it raw, or cooked in any way with water,
but roastedhead, legs, and entrailsover the fire.
You shall not leave any of it over until morning;
if any of it is left until morning, you shall burn it.
This is how you shall eat it:
your loins girded,
your sandals on your feet,
and your staff in your hand;
and you shall eat it hurriedly:
it is a passover offering to the Becoming One.
For that night I will go through the land of Egypt
and strike down every first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast;
and I will mete out punishments to all the gods of Egypt,
I the Becoming One.
And the blood on the houses where you are staying shall be a sign for you:
when I see the blood I will pass over you,
so that no plague will destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
This day shall be to you one of remembrance: you shall celebrate it as a festival to
the Becoming One throughout the ages;
you shall celebrate it as an institution for all time.

Queeries for the text:
Does time rebegin in this text? How does time change in this text?
What do cooperative economics look like in this text? In different cultures? Today?
Why were the preparation instructions not a required part of the assigned reading?
Why is cooking it with water explicitly verboten?
Are there any meals we eat hurriedly today? Why do we hurry?
Who are the gods of Egypt? Why does the Becoming One need to mete out punishments to them? What do they do?
What is the significance of blood? Why does God upend the social structure, where Egyptians benefit from the slavery of the Israelites? What might this imply for our social structure today?
Are there any additional plagues? Does this complicate God's instruction? Who was Batyah? Why is she important?
What is the significance of passover to Christians?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: John 13:1-17, 31b-35
Now before the festival of the Passover,
Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world
and go to the Loving Parent.
Having loved his own who were in the world,
Jesus loved them to the end.
2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas
son of Simon Iscariot to betray him.
And during supper 3Jesus,
knowing that the Loving Parent had given all things into his hands,
and that he had come from God and was going to God,
4got up from the table,
took off his outer robe,
and tied a towel around himself.
5Then Jesus poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.
6Jesus came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
7Jesus answered,
“You do not know now what I am doing,
but later you will understand.”
8Peter said to Jesus,
“You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered,
“Unless I wash you,
you have no share with me.”
9Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”
10Jesus said to Simon Peter,
“One who has bathed does not need to wash,
except for the feet,
but is entirely clean.
And you are clean,
though not all of you.”
11For Jesus knew who was to betray him;
for this reason he said,
“Not all of you are clean.”
12After Jesus had washed their feet,
had put on his robe,
and had returned to the table,
he said to them,
“Do you know what I have done to you?
13You call me Teacher and Master—and you are right,
for that is what I am.
14So if I, your Master and Teacher, have washed your feet,
you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15For I have set you an example,
that you also should do as I have done to you.
16Very truly, I tell you,
slaves are not greater than their master,
nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them.
17If you know these things,
you are blessed if you do them.”

31“Now the Human One has been glorified,
and God has been glorified in them.
32If God has been glorified in the Human One,
God will also glorify the Human One in Godself
and will glorify them at once.
33Little children,
I am with you only a little longer.
You will look for me;
and as I said to the Judeans so now I say to you,
‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’
34I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you,
you also should love one another.
35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”

Queeries for the text:
What's missing?
Why is John's gospel always hating on Judas?
What was under Jesus' outer robe?  How big was the towel?
Why would Jesus wash everyone's feet?
Do we ever really know what Jesus is doing?
What kind of master and slave are we talking about?  Was Jesus kinky?  A power bottom?
How has the Human One been glorified?  How is God glorified in humanity?
What can it look like to love one another?  What about those outside of the community?  How do we fail at Jesus' new commandment?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Palm Sunday year C


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Luke 19:28-40
28Jesus 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 Lord needs it.’”
32So those who were sent departed
and found it as he had told them.
33As they were untying the colt,
its owners asked them,
“Why are you untying the colt?”
34They said, “The Lord needs it.”

35Then they brought the colt 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 Jesus was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives,
the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully
with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen,
“Blessed is the ruler who comes in the name of the Sovereign!
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:
Of whom did Jesus go on ahead?
What else happens at the Mount of Olives?
Which two disciples?  What does it mean to be sent?
Why would the colt's owner let anybody walk away with it?
What condition was the road in?  What condition were the cloaks in?
Where are the palms?  Why cloaks?
For what do we praise God joyfully and with a loud voice?
What else was going on in Jerusalem?
What are stones shouting out today?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Lent 5 year C

Gospel: John 12:1-8
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
the home of Lazarus,
whom he had raised from the dead.
2There they gave a dinner for him.
Martha served,
and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him.
3Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard,
anointed Jesus’ feet,
and wiped them with her hair.
The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4But Judas Iscariot,
one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said,
5“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii
and the money given to the poor?”
6(He said this not because he cared about the poor,
but because he was a thief;
he kept the common purse
and used to steal what was put into it.)
7Jesus said,
“Leave her alone.
She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.
8You always have the poor with you,
but you do not always have me.”

Queeries for the text:
When was Lazarus raised?
What does nard smell like?  How can it be beneficial?  How can it be harmful?
Why did Mary use her hair?
What's the equivalent of 300 denarii?
Why does John's gospel work so hard to make Judas seem evil?
How do we balance allocating personal resources?  Community resources?
Did Mary know she was anointing Jesus for burial?
Who should be, but is not being anointed for burial today?
How do we always have the poor with usHow do we not?  What is Jesus referencing?

What are your queeries?