Thursday, August 27, 2020

Queerying 13th after Pentecost A

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: map of the world centering blue ocean with off-white shapes for Africa, Australia, and Antarctica and edges representing other land.

Gospel: Matthew 16:21-28

21From that time on, Jesus began to show the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the religious and legal authorities, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 

22And Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Guide! This must never happen to you.” 

23But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

24Then Jesus told the disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? 

27“For the Human One is to come with the angels in the glory of the Parent, and then will repay everyone for what has been done. 28Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Human One coming in Their reign.” 

Queeries for the text:
What's up with Jesus' rebuke?
What had Jesus told Peter right before this?
What are divine things? What are human things?
Who is expected to deny themselves?
What does it mean to take up my cross? What doesn't it mean?
Who is profiting from the whole world today? What are they forfeiting?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Queerying 12th after Pentecost A

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

ID: an icon of two dark-skinned people, who I read as women. There is text in Ge'ez script on a golden yellow background behind them. The woman on the left is wearing a dark red headcovering, and the woman on the right is wearing a white headcovering. They are only visible from the shoulders up. These two women are identified as Shiphrah and Puah.

Tanakh: Exodus 1:8-2:10

A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph, and the king said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are much too numerous for us. Let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they may not increase; otherwise in the event of war they may join our enemies in fighting against us and rise from the ground.”

So the Egyptians set taskmasters over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor; and they built garrison cities for Pharaoh: Pithom and Raamses. But the more they were oppressed, the more they increased and spread out, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians ruthlessly imposed upon the Israelites the various labors that they made them perform. Ruthlessly they made life bitter for them with harsh labor at mortar and bricks and with all sorts of tasks in the field.

The king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, saying, “When you deliver the Hebrew women, look at the birthstool: if it is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.”

The midwives, fearing God, did not do as the king of Egypt had told them; they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, letting the boys live?”

The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women: they are vigorous. Before the midwife can come to them, they have given birth.” 
God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and increased greatly. Since the midwives feared God, They established households for them. Then Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, “Every boy that is born you shall throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.” 

A certain man of the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw how beautiful he was, she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a wicker basket for him and caulked it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child into it and placed it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. His sister stationed herself at a distance, to learn what would befall him. The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe in the Nile, while her maidens walked along the Nile. She spied the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to fetch it. When she opened it, she saw that it was a child, a boy crying. She took pity on it and said, “This must be a Hebrew child.” 
Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a Hebrew nurse to suckle the child for you?” 
Pharaoh’s daughter answered, “Yes.” 
So the girl went and called the child’s mother, and Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, who made him her son. She named him Moses, explaining, “I drew him out of the water.”

Queeries for the text:
What did Joseph do for Pharaoh? (What did we miss last week?)
What are the rights of immigrants in the u.s.?
Who are the Shiprah's and Puah's of today? Who is Pharaoh in this analogy? What are the orders?
What life is found in the River today?
What should we be looking out for as we work for freedom for the whole human family?
What parts of the story do we miss when we read in translation?

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: Six disabled people of color smile and pose in front of a concrete wall. Five people stand in the back, with the Black woman in the center holding up a chalkboard sign reading "disabled and here." A South Asian person in a wheelchair sits in front.

Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20

13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Human One is?” 

14And the disciples said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 

15Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 

16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Offspring of the living God.” 

17And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the dominion of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 

20Then Jesus sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Queeries for the text:
Who do people say is human
Who do people say the Human One is?
Who is revealing humanity and divinity today?
Why are names important? How is naming powerful?
Why doesn't Jesus want the disciples to tell anyone

What are your queeries?

Friday, August 14, 2020

Queerying 11th after Pentecost A

ID: small- and medium-sized crumbs of bread are scattered against a light gray background.

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Matthew 15:[10-20]21-28

[10Then Jesus called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: 11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 

12Then the disciples approached and said to Jesus, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 

13Jesus answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Creator has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 

15But Peter said to Jesus, “Explain this parable to us.” 

16Then Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”]

21Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 

23But Jesus did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 

24Jesus answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 

25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 

26Jesus answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 

27She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 

28Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

Queeries for the text:
How are the first and second parts connected?
How is what Jesus says ableist? What kind of guides are blind people?
What comes from the heart? How do words defile?
Why is hand-washing important?
Who else are Canaanite women?
Who has privilege and power in this text?
Who else is called dog?
Who receives crumbs?
How do words empower and resist?

What are your queeries?

Friday, August 7, 2020

Queerying 10th after Pentecost A

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

ID: a human person walking onto a stage. The stage is painted and their costume is designed in such a way that it looks like one garment spreads out across the entire stage in several colors.

Authors Note: In the narration in this text, pronouns for Joseph are inconsistent and changing, while in the spoken words the classical he/him pronouns for Joseph are retained. How does this enhance or distract from the reading of this text? What queeries does it prompt in your mind?

Tanakh: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28

Now Jacob was settled in the land where his father had sojourned, the land of Canaan.

This, then, is the line of Jacob: At seventeen years of age, Joseph tended the flocks with her brothers, as a helper to the sons of faer father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. And Joseph brought bad reports of them to their father.  Now Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for fae was the child of his old age; and he had made them a princess dress. And when her brothers saw that their father loved faer more than any of her brothers, they hated them so that they could not speak a friendly word to her.


One time, when faer brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flock at Shechem, Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers are pasturing at Shechem. Come, I will send you to them.” 

Joseph answered, “I am ready.”

And Israel said to Joseph, “Go and see how your brothers are and how the flocks are faring, and bring me back word.” So he sent faer from the valley of Hebron. When they reached Shechem, a man came upon her wandering in the fields. 

The man asked them, “What are you looking for?”

She answered, “I am looking for my brothers. Could you tell me where they are pasturing?”

The man said, “They have gone from here, for I heard them say: Let us go to Dothan.” So Joseph followed faer brothers and found them at Dothan. They saw them from afar, and before she came close to them they conspired to kill faer.

They said to one another, “Here comes that dreamer!

Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we can say, ‘A savage beast devoured him.’ We shall see what comes of his dreams!”

But when Reuben heard it, he tried to save them from them. He said, “Let us not take his life.”

And Reuben went on, “Shed no blood! Cast him into that pit out in the wilderness, but do not touch him yourselves”—intending to save her from them and restore faer to their father.

When Joseph came up to her brothers, they stripped Joseph of faer dress, the princess dress that they were wearing, and took her and cast faer into the pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.

Then the brothers sat down to a meal. Looking up, they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, their camels bearing gum, balm, and ladanum to be taken to Egypt.

Then Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain by killing our brother and covering up his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let us not do away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed.

When Midianite traders passed by, they pulled Joseph up out of the pit. They sold Joseph for twenty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who brought Joseph to Egypt.

Queeries for the text:
What is missing from this passage?
What does it mean to be the favorite son? What are the consequences?
What's that about a princess dress? Why is that important?
What is the difference between Ruben's intention and impact?
What are current responses to human trafficking?
Who is most affected by human trafficking?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: water varying in color from with foamy white caps to deep teal.

Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33

22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them.

25And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is an apparition!” And they cried out in fear.

27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”

28Peter answered him, “Guide, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”

29Jesus said, “Come.”

So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when Peter noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Guide, save me!”

31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught Peter, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

33And those in the boat worshiped Jesus, saying, “Truly you are the Divine One.”

Queeries for the text:
Who values solitude?
How did the disciples think Jesus would catch up with them on the sea?
What ghosts haunt us today?  What messages do they have for us?
Why does Peter need proof?
How is the strong wind blowing today?
Who is beginning to sink now?
Who else has little faith?  What good is little faith?

What are your queeries?