Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Queerying 5th after Epiphany A

Queerier, River Needham M.A., queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12)

Cry with full throat, without restraint; raise your voice like a ram’s horn! Declare to my people their transgression, to the House of Jacob their sin.

To be sure, they seek me daily, eager to learn my ways. Like a nation that does what is right, that has not abandoned the laws of its God, they ask me for the right way, they are eager for the nearness of God: “Why, when we fasted, did You not see? When we starved our bodies, did you pay no heed?” Because on your fast day you see to your business and oppress all your laborers!

Because you fast in strife and contention, and you strike with a wicked fist! Your fasting today is not such as to make your voice heard on high. 

Is such the fast I desire, a day for humans to starve their bodies? Is it bowing the head like a bulrush and lying in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call that a fast, a day when the Becoming One is favorable? 

No, this is the fast I desire: to unlock fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of the yoke to let the oppressed go free; to break off every yoke.
It is to share your bread with the hungry, and to take the wretched poor into your home; when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to ignore your own kin.

Then shall your light burst through like the dawn and your healing spring up quickly; your vindicator shall march before you, the Presence of the Becoming One shall be your rear guard. 

Then, when you call, the Becoming One will answer; when you cry, She will say: Here I am. If you banish the yoke from your midst, the menacing hand, and evil speech, and you offer your compassion to the hungry and satisfy the famished creature— then shall your light shine in darkness, and your gloom shall be like noonday.

The Becoming One will guide you always; She will slake your thirst in parched places and give strength to your bones. You shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose waters do not fail. 

People from your midst shall rebuild ancient ruins, you shall restore foundations laid long ago. And you shall be called “Repairer of fallen walls, Restorer of lanes for habitation.”

Queeries for the text:
What fills the throat when crying out?
What's the problem with starving one's body?
Who is still working to be set free today?
Who are the kin being ignored?
Why are parts of the passage optional?
Where are there springs with unfailing waters?
Who are the repairer of fallen walls today?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Matthew 5:13-20

Jesus said:
13“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

14“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Parent in heaven.

17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the reign of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the reign of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the reign of heaven.

Queeries for the text:
How does salt lose its taste?
What does salt do to the earth?  To snow?  To soil?
Why build a city on a hill?
What kind of light?  Is light always good?
What does it mean to fulfill the law and prophets?
How do people teach others?
How can we be more righteous?
In what ways are scribes and Pharisees righteous?  How can we learn from them?

What are your queeries?

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