Saturday, December 28, 2019

Queerying Christmas 1A

River Needham queeries the Tanakh reading.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piF4YOiIYS0

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?

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Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

https://www.facebook.com/heidi.neumark/posts/10220614511091125

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?


2 comments:

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Unknown said...

"What are kind acts?"

I feel like essays can be written on this, and I am pretty sure I read books on it. But honestly, kind acts to me is acts of love that engage the person in what they need in a consensual way (no forcing anything on them, but navigates through what they need to find the best way to support them). Sometimes an act can be as simple as noticing that someone can't afford to buy the food they picked out at the grocery store --- offering to pay for it and saying, "I want to do this for you. So that your needs are taken care of, and it brings me joy to do this. No need to pay me back. Pay it forward if ever the chance arises, and know that you are not alone in this." Give them the chance to say no or yes and do accordingly.

I'm sure there's more to say on that, but it got me thinking.

As for "What kind acts as the Becoming One Done?" This is so hard to untangle for someone who suffered through spiritual abuse -- the dismantling of what was human harm from the actual spiritual impact of the Becoming One. It's getting me thinking tho.


"What if Joseph had warned the other families with young children?"

I'll be honest. Every time I saw this reading, I wondered why no one else was warned. Could folks have set up a resistance? Could folks have created a communal network to hide children to avoid the purge? Couldn't Joseph at least warn those in the town that Herod may retaliate, that although they needed to flee, Joseph could have warned the others. Yes, it seems to fit the prophecies, but why must folks, especially kids, die for a prophecy? (That plays into your last question.) I think Matthew really wants to stress how Jesus fit all the prophecies, but could the bloodshed been avoided or at last the harm reduced? Is it necessary that Jesus fit every single prophecy perfectly?

Can we not do such things today? To build a communal network to save the children (AND their families, do not separate them), to help them hide if needed, to get them what they need for survival, to try to find ways to stop the killing?

"How are we weeping with Rachel?" Acknowledging the harm and death; if able providing support to the families impacted; if able, taking action to reduce the harm and eventually dismantle the systems that perpetuate the harm. I feel that all of these are embedded in the weeping with Rachel; that it is not enough to mourn without taking action to dismantle the oppression and systems of harm.