Thursday, March 26, 2020

Queerying Lent 5A

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

Tanakh: Ezekiel 37:1-14
The hand of the Becoming One came upon me. They took me out by the spirit of the Becoming One and set me down in the valley. It was full of bones. They led me all around them; there were very many of them spread over the valley, and they were very dry. They said to me, “O mortal, can these bones live again?”

I replied, “O Becoming God, only you know.”

Then, They said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Becoming One! Thus said the Becoming God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live again. I will lay sinews upon you, and cover you with flesh, and form skin over you. I will put breath into you, and you shall live again. Then, you shall know that I am the Becoming One!” I prophesied as I had been commanded. While I was prophesying, suddenly there was a sound of rattling, and the bones came together, bone to matching bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had grown, and skin had formed over them; but there was no breath in them.

Then They said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, O mortal! Say to the breath: Thus said the Becoming God: Come, O breath, from the four winds, and breathe into these slain, that they may live again.” I prophesied as They commanded me. The breath entered them, and they came to life and stood up on their feet, a vast multitude.

They said to me, “O mortal, these bones are the whole House of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone; we are doomed.’ Prophesy, therefore, and say to them: Thus said the Becoming God: I am going to open your graves and lift you out of the graves, O my people, and bring you to the land of Israel. You shall know, O my people, that I am the Becoming One, when I have opened your graves and lifted you out of your graves. I will put my breath into you and you shall live again, and I will set you upon your own soil. Then you shall know that I, the Becoming One, have spoken and have acted”—declares the Becoming One.

Queeries for the text:
What memories does this text bring up?
What time of year do we see bones in the United States?
How can bones hear?
How can bones breathe?
How can the dead live again?
What are the four winds?
Where are we doomed? Where is there hope?
What about the Becoming One allows them to do these things?
Why does the Becoming One speak in the third person?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: Revised Comic Lectionary by Dave Arends shows Jesus shouting "Lazarus, Come Out!" from the dark tomb to the right, a speach bubble says "What?! Seriously? Right Now? ... Well, Umm...OK... ... I'm gay."  Caption reads "What would have been one of JEsus' most significant miracles was somewhat overshadowed by a slight misunderstanding from Lazarus."
Gospel: John 11:1-45
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2Mary was the one who anointed the Commander in Chief with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Commander in Chief, he whom you love is ill.”

4But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Divine One may be glorified through it.” 5Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.”

8The disciples said to Jesus, “Rabbi, the Judeans were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?”

9Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” 11After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.”

12The disciples said to Jesus, “Commander in Chief, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” 13Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep.

14Then Jesus told the disciples plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, 19and many of the Judeans had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21Martha said to Jesus, “Commander, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of Them.”

23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24Martha said to Jesus, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27Martha said to Jesus, “Yes, Commander, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Divine One, the one coming into the world.” 28When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to Jesus.

30Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31The Judeans who were with Mary in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Commander, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33When Jesus saw Mary weeping, and the Judeans who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34Jesus said, “Where have you laid him?”

They said to Jesus, “Commander in Chief, come and see.”

35Jesus began to weep.

36So the Judeans said, “See how Jesus loved Lazarus!” 37But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

38Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”

Mary, the sister of the dead man, said to Jesus, “Commander, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.”

40Jesus said to Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Papa, I thank you for having heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43When Jesus had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

45Many of the Judeans therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

Queeries for the text:
What sort of family dynamics are going on with three adult siblings living together?  Are they really "siblings", two sisters and a brother?
With whom does Thomas want to die?
How did Jesus love Lazarus?  What kind of love was it?
Who are the ones who believe in the resurrection?
What prompts weeping today?
How are we entombed?  How is this a tomb?  How might it be a womb?
What is in need of binding?  What is being bound?
What is in need of unbinding?  What is being unbound?
How can you come out?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Queerying Lent 4A

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

Tanakh: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

And the Becoming One said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and set out; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have decided on one of his sons to be king.”

Samuel replied, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.”

The Becoming One answered, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Becoming One.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrificial feast, and then I will make known to you what you shall do; you shall anoint for me the one I point out to you.”

Samuel did what the Becoming One commanded. When he came to Bethlehem, the elders of the city went out in alarm to meet him and said, “Do you come on a peaceful errand?”

"Yes,” he replied, “I have come to sacrifice to the Becoming One. Purify yourselves and join me in the sacrificial feast.” He also instructed Jesse and his sons to purify themselves and invited them to the sacrificial feast. When they arrived and he saw Eliab, he thought: “Surely the Becoming One’s anointed stands before Them.” But the Becoming One said to Samuel, “Pay no attention to his appearance or his stature, for I have rejected him. For not as man sees does the Becoming One see; man sees only what is visible, but the Becoming One sees into the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass before Samuel; but he said, “The Becoming One has not chosen this one either.” Next Jesse presented Shammah; and again he said, “The Becoming One has not chosen this one either.” Jesse presented seven of his sons before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Becoming One has not chosen any of these.” Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the boys you have?” He replied, “There is still the youngest; he is tending the flock.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send someone to bring him, for we will not sit down to eat until he gets here.” So they sent and brought him. He was ruddy-cheeked, bright-eyed, and handsome. And the Becoming One said, “Rise and anoint him, for this is the one.” Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Becoming One gripped David from that day on. Samuel then set out for Ramah.

Queeries for the text:
What do we fear?
Who do we ignore in society?
Who gets ignored, forgotten and canceled?
What work does society not value?
What is man?  What is human?
What external characteristics are valued by nature, or by humans?
What else happened in Ramah?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: John 9:1-41

As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2Jesus' disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4We must work the works of Them who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6When Jesus had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then the man went and washed and came back able to see.
8The neighbors and those who had seen the man before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.”

The man kept saying, “I am the man.”

10But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?”

11He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.”

12They said to the man, “Where is he?”

He said, “I do not know.”

13They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened the man's eyes. 15Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “Jesus put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.”

16Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. 17So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

The man said, “Jesus is a prophet.”

18The Judeans did not believe that the man had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”

20His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Judeans; for the Judeans had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.”

25He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

26They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

27He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”

28Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.”

30The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but They do listen to one who worships them and obeys their will. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

34They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.

35Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found the man, he said, “Do you believe in the Human One?”

36He answered, “And who are they, Captain? Tell me, so that I may believe in them.”

37Jesus said to him, “You have seen them, and the one speaking with you is the one.”

38He said, “Governor, I believe.” And he worshiped Jesus.

39Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.”

40Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?”

41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”

Queeries for the text:
Why do people so often need someone to blame?
What happened when someone was isolated in that time?  What happens when someone is isolated today?
How are God's works revealed in the ones others cast off?
What is up with a pool named Sent?
Why won't the neighbors believe the truth?
What happens when people are afraid?
How might a disabled person understand this story?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Queerying Lent 3A

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

Tanakh: Exodus 17:1-7

From the Wilderness of Sin the whole Israelite community continued by stages as the Becoming One would command. They encamped at Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses. “Give us water to drink,” they said; and Moses replied to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you try the Becoming One?”And the people thirsted there for water; and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” Moses cried out to the Becoming One, saying, “What shall I do with this people? Before long they will be stoning me!” Then the Becoming One said to Moses, “Pass before the people; take with you some of the elders of Israel, and take along the rod with which you struck the Nile, and set out. I will be standing there before you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock and water will issue from it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. The place was named Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and because they tried the Becoming One, saying, “Is the Becoming One present among us or not?”

Queeries for the text:
What is the significance of the Wilderness of Sin?
Where do we lack water?
Why do we lack water?
How are we grumbling instead of looking for water?
For what do we thirst?
For what do you thirst?
What risks are you taking? What safety have you left to follow God's call?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: John 4:5-42

5So Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. 7A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8(Jesus' disciples had gone to the city to buy food.)

9The Samaritan woman said to Jesus, “How is it that you, a Jewish man, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jewish people do not share things in common with Samaritans.)

10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked them, and they would have given you living water.”

11The woman said to Jesus, “Captain, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?”

13Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”

15The woman said to him, “Captain, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.”

17The woman answered him, “I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!”

19The woman said to him, “Captain, I see that you are a prophet. 20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

25The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.”

26Jesus said to her, “I am Them, the one who is speaking to you.”

27Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29“Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” 30They left the city and were on their way to him.

31Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”

33So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?”

34Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to complete Their work. 35Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. 36The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for everlasting life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

39Many Samaritans from that city believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony, “They told me everything I have ever done.”

40So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they asked him to stay with them; and Jesus stayed there two days. 41And many more believed because of his word. 42They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

Queeries for the text:
What happened at Jacob's well?  Why isn't Genesis the Tanakh reading for this day?
Why is the woman coming to get water in the heat of the day?
What assumptions are made about Jesus' sexuality in this passage?  What about the woman's sexuality?
What happens if the "the one you have now" is not your husband, because they're not a man?
What is living water?
What astonishes you?
Why do the Samaritans from that city need more proof than a woman's word?

What are your queeries?

Friday, March 6, 2020

Queerying Lent 2A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing and River Needham, M.A. queery the Gospel reading.

Gospel: John 3:1-17
1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Judeans. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

3Jesus answered Nicodemus, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the reign of God without being born from above.”

4Nicodemus said to Jesus, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the parent’s womb and be born?”

5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the reign of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9Nicodemus said to Jesus, “How can these things be?”

10Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Human One. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Human One be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in Them may have everlasting life. 16For God loved the world in this way: that God gave Their only Child, so that everyone who believes in Them may not perish but may have everlasting life. 17Indeed, God did not send the Child into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Them.”

Queeries for the text:
What happened to the Pharisees?
What else happens at night?
How else can someone experience the reign of God besides sight?
Who else has a womb besides a mother?
How else is love expressed?
Who is condemned?  How might they be saved?

What are your queeries?