Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Queerying New Year's

River Needham, MA, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13

A season is set for everything, a time for every experience under heaven:
a time for being born and a time for dying, a time for planting and a time for uprooting the planted;
a time for slaying and a time for healing, a time for tearing down and a time for building up;
a time for weeping and a time for laughing, a time for wailing and a time for dancing;
a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,
a time for embracing and a time for shunning embraces;
a time for seeking and a time for losing, a time for keeping and a time for discarding;
a time for ripping and a time for sewing, a time for silence and a time for speaking;
a time for loving and a time for hating; a time for war and a time for peace.

What value, then, can the businesswoman get from what she earns? I have observed the business that God gave woman to be concerned with: She brings everything to pass precisely at its time; God also puts eternity in their mind, but without woman ever guessing, from first to last, all the things that God brings to pass. Thus I realized that the only worthwhile thing there is for them is to enjoy themselves and do what is good in their lifetime; also, that whenever a woman does eat and drink and get enjoyment out of all her wealth, it is a gift of God.

Queeries for the text:
What is time?
What has been born in your life this year? What has died?
What season is it in your community's or family's life?
What season is it in your life?
What is eternity?
Where do you find pleasure?
What things do you want to explore in the new year?
What gifts of God do you treasure?

What are your queeries?


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Queerying Christmas 1A

River Needham queeries the Tanakh reading.


Tanakh: Isaiah 63:7-9

I will recount the kind acts of the Becoming One, the praises of the Becoming One— for all that the Becoming One has wrought for us, the vast bounty to the house of Israel that She bestowed upon them according to Her mercy and Her great kindness. She thought: surely they are my people, children who will not play false. So She was their deliverer. In all their troubles She was troubled, and the angel of Her presence delivered them. In Her love and pity She Herself redeemed them, raised them, and exalted them all the days of old.

Queeries for the text:
What are kind acts?
What kind acts has the Becoming One done?
What kind acts has the Becoming One done?
Who plays false?
What's a location of trouble in our world?
Where and how is there deliverance from this trouble in our world? How does God participate?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.


Gospel: Matthew 2:13-23

13Now after the magi had left, an angel of the Becoming One appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and their mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy them.” 14Then Joseph got up, took the child and their mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Becoming One through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my child.”

16When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the magi. 17Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
  18“A voice was heard in Ramah,
    wailing and loud lamentation,
   Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

19When Herod died, an angel of the Becoming One suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20“Get up, take the child and their mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 21Then Joseph got up, took the child and their mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. 23There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “They will be called a Nazorean.”

Queeries for the text:
What if Joseph had warned the other families with young children?
What children are being killed today?
How are we weeping with Rachel?
Which came first: Joseph's decision or God's affirmation of it?
How do dreams work on us?
Why does Matthew care so much about making sure "that what had been spoken through the prophet(s) might be fulfilled"?

What are your queeries?

Monday, December 23, 2019

Queerying Christmas Eve

River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: 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, and 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 youth has been given us. Authority has settled on her shoulders. She has been named “The Mighty God is planning grace; The Eternal Mother, 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 God of angel armies shall bring this to pass.

Queeries for the text
What is brilliant light?
How often does light dawn?
What event brings great joy?
What happens at reaping time?
What are days that exist in infamy? Which days are missing?
Which grace is God planning?
Who is the becoming God?


For more queeries, especially Gospel queeries, check out our queeries from last year also on these same passages.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Queerying Advent 4A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeried the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25

18Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When Jesus' mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a child, whom you are to name Jesus, for this one will save the people from their sins.”

22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by God through the prophet: 23“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a child, whom they shall name Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of God commanded him; Joseph took Mary as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a child; and Joseph named the child Jesus.

Queeries for the text:
What does it mean to be righteous?
What would have happened if Joseph had dismissed Mary?
Why does verb tense matter?
What kind of name is Jesus?
What does virgin actually mean?
What did the prophet actually say?
How did Joseph take Mary?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Queerying Advent 3A

River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Isaiah 35:1-10

The arid desert shall be glad, the wilderness shall rejoice and shall blossom like a rose.
It shall blossom abundantly, It shall also exult and shout.
It shall receive the glory of Lebanon, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall behold the glory of the Becoming One, the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are slack; make firm the tottering knees!
Say to the anxious of heart,
“Be strong, fear not; Behold your God! Requital is coming, The recompense of God—
She herself is coming to give you triumph.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb shall shout aloud;
For waters shall burst forth in the desert, streams in the wilderness.
Torrid earth shall become a pool; Parched land, fountains of water;
The home of jackals, a pasture; The abode of ostriches, reeds and rushes.
And a highway shall appear there, which shall be called the Sacred Way.
No one unclean shall pass along it, but it shall be for them.
No traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
No lion shall be there, no ferocious beast shall set foot on it— these shall not be found there.
But the redeemed shall walk it; and the ransomed of the Becoming One shall return, and come with shouting to Zion,
Crowned with joy everlasting. They shall attain joy and gladness, while sorrow and sighing flee.

Queeries for the text:
Can land be glad?
What does it look like for wilderness to rejoice?
What is the splendor of God?
How might a blind person receive this text?
How might a D/deaf person receive this text?
How might a disabled person hear this text?
What is the Sacred Way?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeried the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11
2When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”  

4Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. 6And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”

7As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? 8What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. 9What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the realm of heaven is greater than John.

Queeries for the text:
Why was John in prison?
Who takes offense at Jesus?  How?
How is ableism embedded in the textHow can we challenge it?
What assumption is everyone making?
What assumptions do we make about who Jesus and John are?
What does greatest mean?  What about least?
What about those not born of women?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Queerying Advent 2A

River Needham, queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Isaiah 11:1-10

But a shoot shall grow out of the stump of Jesse, a twig shall sprout from his stock.
The spirit of the Becoming One shall alight upon her:
a spirit of wisdom and insight, a spirit of counsel and valor, a spirit of devotion and reverence for the Becoming One.
She shall sense the truth by her reverence for the Becoming One: she shall not judge by what her eyes behold, nor decide by what her ears perceive.
Thus she shall judge the poor with equity and decide with justice for the lowly of the land. She shall strike down a land with the rod of her mouth and slay the wicked with the breath of her lips.
Justice shall be the girdle of her loins, and faithfulness the girdle of her waist. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid; the calf, the beast of prey, and the fatling together, with a little one to herd them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion, like the ox, shall eat straw. A babe shall play over a viper’s hole, and an infant pass their hand over an adder’s den.
In all of my sacred mount nothing evil or vile shall be done; for the land shall be filled with devotion to the Becoming One as water covers the sea. In that day, the stock of Jesse that has remained standing shall become a standard to peoples— nations shall seek her counsel and her abode shall be honored.

Queeries for the text:
How do twigs sprout from stock?
How is the spirit of the Becoming One separate from or a part of the Becoming One? Does her spirit have devotion and reverence for her? Does this make her narcissistic?
Who are the lowly of the land?
What might the breath of her lips tell us about the Becoming One?
How might biology change in this vision of reality?
How is devotion to the Becoming One quantified?

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming,
2“Repent, for the reign of heaven has come near.” 3This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Becoming One, make their paths straight.’”
4Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, 6and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

7But when John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism,
he said to them,
“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry this one's sandals. They will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12Their winnowing fork is in their hand, and they will clear their threshing floor and will gather their wheat into the granary; but the chaff they will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Queeries for the text:
Did John apparate into the wilderness? If not, how did John just appear?
Why would the Becoming One want anything straight?
Why locust and wild honey?
What kind of fruit is worthy of repentance?
Can stones become children?
Is good fruit worthy of repentance? Why would good fruit need repentance?
Who is what? Fruit? Wheat? Chaff?  Are we even meant to be in the symbolism?
What sort of baptism happens by fire?

What are your queeries?