Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Queerying Easter 7C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

Acts 16:16-34
16One day, as we were going to the place of prayer,
we met a slave girl who had a spirit of divination
and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling.
17While she followed Paul and us,
she would cry out,
“These ones are slaves of the Most High God,
who proclaim to you a way of salvation.”
18She kept doing this for many days.
But Paul, very much annoyed,
turned and said to the spirit,
“I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.”
And it came out that very hour.

19But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone,
they seized Paul and Silas
and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities.
20When they had brought them before the magistrates,
they said, “These men are disturbing our city;
they are Jewish 21and are advocating customs
that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.”
22The crowd joined in attacking them,
and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing
and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
23After they had given them a severe flogging,
they threw them into prison
and ordered the jailer to keep them securely.
24Following these instructions,
he put them in the innermost cell
and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,
and the prisoners were listening to them.
26Suddenly there was an earthquake,
so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken;
and immediately all the doors were opened
and everyone’s chains were unfastened.
27When the jailer woke up
and saw the prison doors wide open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped.
28But Paul shouted in a loud voice,
“Do not harm yourself,
for we are all here.”
29The jailer called for lights,
and rushing in,
he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
30Then he brought them outside and said,
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31They answered,
“Believe on the Lord Jesus,
and you will be saved,
you and your household.”
32They spoke the word of the Lord to him
and to all who were in his house.
33At the same hour of the night
he took them and washed their wounds;
then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.
34He brought them up into the house
and set food before them;
and he and his entire household rejoiced
that he had become a believer in God.

Queeries for the text:
Which place of prayerWhere?
Why is telling the truth annoying to Paul?  What does the girl who is enslaved feel?
How do we profit off of slavery?
What agency does the girl who was enslaved have?  What happens to her when she is no longer "useful"?
Which customs were unlawful for Romans?
What happened to a fair trial?
Who else sings and prays in prison?
How do you believe "on" something or someone?
Did the others in the household also become believers?  Does it matter?
What ever happened to the girl?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Queerying Easter 6C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

Acts 16:9-15
9During the night Paul had a vision:
there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying,
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
10When Paul had seen the vision,
we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia,
being convinced that God had called us
to proclaim the good news to them.
11We set sail from Troas
and took a straight course to Samothrace,
the following day to Neapolis,
12and from there to Philippi,
which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia
and a Roman colony.
We remained in this city for some days.
13On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river,
where we supposed there was a place of prayer;
and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there.
14A certain woman named Lydia,
a worshiper of God,
was listening to us;
she was from the city of Thyatira
and a dealer in purple cloth.
The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.
15When she and her household were baptized,
she urged us, saying,
“If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord,
come and stay at my home.”
And she prevailed upon us.

Queeries for the text:
Where was Paul and who was with him?
Who is "us" in Macedonia? Did Paul actually help them?
What did the journey look like?
Why does it matter that the cloth was purple?
Where is Thyatira?
How does Lydia have a household?
How hard did Lydia prevail to provide hospitality?
What colonies exist today?
If a man had summoned Paul, why did the group talk to women?  Would they have listened if a woman had summoned them?  What about someone who was trans, intersex, and/or gender expansive?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Queerying Easter 5C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

Acts 11:1-18
Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard
that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God.
2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem,
the circumcised believers criticized him,
3saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men
and eat with them?”
4Then Peter began to explain it to them,
step by step, saying,
5“I was in the city of Joppa praying,
and in a trance I saw a vision.
There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven,
being lowered by its four corners;
and it came close to me.
6As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals,
beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air.
7I also heard a voice saying to me,
‘Get up, Peter;
kill and eat.’
8But I replied,
‘By no means, Holy One;
for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’
9But a second time the voice answered from heaven,
‘What God has made clean,
you must not call profane.’
10This happened three times;
then everything was pulled up again to heaven.

11“At that very moment three men,
sent to me from Caesarea,
arrived at the house where we were.
12The Spirit told me to go with them
and not to make a distinction between them and us.
These six believers also accompanied me,
and we entered the man’s house.
13He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying,
‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon,
who is called Peter;
14he will give you a message
by which you and your entire household will be saved.’
15And as I began to speak,
the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning.
16And I remembered Jesus' words,
having said,
‘John baptized with water,
but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’
17If then God gave them the same gift
that God gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was I that I could hinder God?”
18When the apostles and believers who were in Judea heard this,
they were silenced.
And they praised God, saying,
“Then God has given
even to the Gentiles
the repentance that leads to life.”

Queeries for the text:
Why do they only care about the men in the story?  What about people of other genders?
Where and with whom does the story really begin?
What do the animals have in common?
Why is Peter so invested in binaries?
Why does it take Peter so long to get what God is trying to say?
Which six believers?
Did the Holy Spirit trip?  On what?
Who needs to be silenced today?  Who needs to stop being silent?  How does God surprise us into silence?
Why are Peter and the believers so surprised that God is with those who are different from them?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Queerying Easter 4C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

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 works
and acts of charity.
37At that time Tabitha became ill and died.
When they had washed her,
they laid her in a room upstairs.
38Since Lydda was near Joppa,
the disciples, who heard that Peter was there,
sent two people 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 Peter,
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 Lord.
43Meanwhile Peter stayed in Joppa for some time
with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Queeries for the text:
What is with Acts' multiple names?
Why do all the witnesses always get sent out of the room?
What else happens in upstairs rooms?
How are the widows and disciples connected? Are they the same people?
Were the tunics some of Tabitha's good works and acts of charity?
Is this "certain Simon" code for Peter's "roommate"?
What does a tanner do?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Queerying Easter 3C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts and Gospel readings.

Acts 9:1-6 [7-20]
Meanwhile Saul,
still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of Jesus,
went to the high priest
2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus,
so that if Saul 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.
4He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,
“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
5Saul asked,
“Who are you, Sovereign?”
The reply came,
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
6But get up and enter the city,
and you will be told what you are to do.”

[7The ones 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 Saul 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 Sovereign said to him in a vision,
Ananias answered,
“Here I am, Sovereign.”
11The Sovereign 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 a man named Ananias come in
and lay his hands on Saul so that he might regain his sight.”
13But Ananias answered,
“Sovereign, 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 chief priests
to bind all who invoke your name.”
15But the Sovereign 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 Sovereign 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 he got up and was baptized,
19and after taking some food,
Saul regained his strength.
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus,
20and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying,
“Jesus is the One born of God.”]

Queeries for the text:
Who breathes threats and murder against faithful people today?
How do we persecute Jesus today?
How much evil is done while thinking it is for God?
How is blindness a gift for Saul?
Why would anyone want a street (or anything) called Straight?
How much must Saul suffer for the sake of the Holy Name?
When do we begin to call him Paul?
When have we encountered the Divine?  Do we recognize it?  Do we name it as such?


Gospel: John 21:1-19
After these things
Jesus showed themself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias;
and they showed themself in this way.
2Gathered there together were Simon Peter,
Thomas called the Twin,
Nathanael of Cana in Galilee,
the sons of Zebedee,
and two others of the disciples.
3Simon Peter said to them,
“I am going fishing.”
They said to him,
“We will go with you.”
They went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
4Just after daybreak,
Jesus stood on the beach;
but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
5Jesus said to them,
“Children, you have no fish, have you?”
They answered Jesus,
6Jesus said to them,
“Cast the net to the right side of the boat,
and you will find some.”
So they cast it,
and now they were not able to haul it in
because there were so many fish.
7That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter,
“It is the Sovereign!”
When Simon Peter heard that it was Jesus,
he put on some clothes, for he was naked,
and jumped into the sea.
8But the other disciples came in the boat,
dragging the net full of fish,
for they were not far from the land,
only about a hundred yards off.

9When they had gone ashore,
they saw a charcoal fire there,
with fish on it, and bread.
10Jesus said to them,
“Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”
11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore,
full of large fish,
a hundred fifty-three of them;
and though there were so many,
the net was not torn.
12Jesus said to them,
“Come and have breakfast.”
Now none of the disciples dared to ask Jesus,
“Who are you?”
because they knew it was the Sovereign.
13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them,
and did the same with the fish.
14This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples
after being raised from the dead.

15When they had finished breakfast,
Jesus said to Simon Peter,
“Simon son of John,
do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter said to Jesus,
“Yes, Sovereign;
you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him,
“Feed my lambs.”
16A second time Jesus said to him,
“Simon son of John,
do you love me?”
Simon Peter said to Jesus,
“Yes, Sovereign;
you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him,
“Tend my sheep.”
17Jesus said to Simon Peter the third time,
“Simon son of John,
do you love me?”
Peter felt hurt because Jesus said to him the third time, “Do you love me?”
And Peter said to Jesus,
“Sovereign, you know everything;
you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him,
“Feed my sheep.
18Very truly, I tell you,
when you were younger,
you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished.
But when you grow old,
you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will fasten a belt around you
and take you where you do not wish to go.”
19(Jesus said this to indicate
the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.)
After this Jesus said to him,
“Follow me.”

Queeries for the text:
How many times will Jesus show themself to the disciples?
Why did Simon Peter want to go fishing?
Do the fishing disciples always follow instructions and advice from strangers they don't recognize?
How does the Beloved Disciple know it's Jesus?
Why is Simon Peter in such a rush to get to Jesus?
Why does the disciple whom Jesus loves wait for the boat to get to short to see Jesus?
Why does Jesus want more fish if some was already on the fire?
Why 153?
How many times must Jesus appear for the disciples to get it?
Why does Jesus ask Simon Peter three times?

What are your queeries?