Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Queerying 21st after Pentecost B

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
Gospel: Mark 10:35-45
35James and John, called the sons of Thunder, whose father was Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

36And Jesus said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?”

37And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

38But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

39They replied, “We are able.”

Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 42So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must serve you, 44and whoever wishes to be first among you must become enslaved to all. 45For the Human One came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip?
What would you ask of Jesus?
What cup does Jesus drink? With what baptism is Jesus baptized?
Who overestimates their ability?
Who is great today?
Who offers a ransom?

What are your queeries?



Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Queerying 20th after Pentecost B

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
ID: a rocky beach scene has white text superimposed with Barack Obama's quote "There is no individual salvation without collective salvation."
Gospel: Mark 10:17-31
17As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit everlasting life?”

18Jesus said to the rich man, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not take another's life; you shall not harm your romantic and sexual partners through non-consensual infidelity; you shall not take what you did not earn; you shall not manipulate the truth to harm others; you shall not misrepresent yourself to others; honor your caregivers as they're instructed to honor you.’”

20The rich man said to Jesus, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.”

21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22When the rich man heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23Then Jesus looked around and said to his chosen family, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the reign of God!” 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the reign of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the reign of God.”

26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?”

27Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

28Peter began to say to Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.”

29Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or siblings or parents or caregivers or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, siblings, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come everlasting life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Queeries for the text:
What do people inherit?
Which commandments are these? In what order?
What does it mean to honor another?
How do we gain treasure today?
How is grief connected to action? What did the rich man end up doing?
Who has wealth today?
Upon whom does salvation rely on?
What must we leave to follow Jesus?
Who has to balance family and persecution

What are your queeries?

 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Queerying 19th after Pentecost B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.
ID: a variety of people in different skin shades and genders, with text that reads: Sexism. See It. Name It. Stop It. #StopMisogyny #MeToo
Tanakh: Job 1:1, 2:1-10
There was a man in the land of Uz named Job. That man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.

[...]

One day the divine beings presented themselves before the Becoming One. The Adversary came along with them to present himself before the Becoming One. The Becoming One said to the Adversary, “Where have you been?”

The Adversary answered the Becoming One, “I have been roaming all over the earth.”

The Becoming One said to the Adversary, “Have you noticed My servant Job? There is no one like him on earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil. He still keeps his integrity; so you have incited me against him to destroy him for no good reason.”

The Adversary answered the Becomig One, "Skin for skin—all that a human man has he will give up for his life. But lay a hand on his bones and his flesh, and he will surely blaspheme You to Your face.”

So the Becoming One said to the Adversary, “See, Job is in your power; only spare his life.”

The Adversary departed from the presence of the Becomig One and inflicted a severe inflammation on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. He took a potsherd to scratch himself as he sat in ashes.

His wife said to him, “You still keep your integrity! Blaspheme God and die!”

But he said to her, “You talk as any shameless woman might talk! Should we accept only good from God and not accept evil?” For all that, Job said nothing sinful.

Queeries for the text:
What is missing from the text?
How is theodicy apparent?
What does shameless mean?
Where else is shameless used in the Tanakh?
How is shameless a good thing?
How is this text problematic?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
ID: against a teal circle background, an orange t-shirt with white lettering reads "Every Child Matters"
Gospel: Mark 10:2-16
2Some religious authorities came, and to test Jesus they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

3Jesus answered them, “What did Moses command you?”

4They said, “Moses allowed a human man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.”

5But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses wrote this commandment for you. 6But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made humanity with many and no genders.’ 7‘For this reason a person shall leave their parents and be joined to their spouse, 8and they shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer distinct persons, but one flesh. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

10Then in the house the disciples asked Jesus again about this matter. 11He said to them, “Whichever husband divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12and if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

13People were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the reign of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the reign of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16And Jesus took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

Queeries for the text:
Where were they?
Why do we test Jesus?
What's the difference between what is lawful and what is right?
Where is the power?
What happens with divorce?
What counts as adultery? What doesn't?
How do children receive the reign of God?
How have children been discarded?

What are your queeries?




Thursday, September 23, 2021

Queerying 18th after Pentecost B

ID: a white magen David on a golden yellow background says "Happy Purim". There are two large round lollipops in the lower right hand corner.
River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

Tanakh: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22
So the king and Haman came to feast with Queen Esther.

On the second day, the king again asked Esther at the wine feast, “What is your wish, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to half the kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.”

Queen Esther replied: “If Your Majesty will do me the favor, and if it pleases Your Majesty, let my life be granted me as my wish, and my people as my request. For we have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, massacred, and exterminated. Had we only been sold as bondspeople, I would have kept silent; for the adversary is not worthy of the king’s trouble.”

Thereupon King Ahasuerus demanded of Queen Esther, “Who is he and where is he who dared to do this?”

“The adversary and enemy,” replied Esther, “is this evil Haman!” And Haman cringed in terror before the king and the queen.

[...]

Then Harbonah, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “What is more, a stake is standing at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai—the man whose words saved the king.” “Impale him on it!” the king ordered.

So they impaled Haman on the stake which he had put up for Mordecai, and the king’s fury abated.

[...]

Two chapters later

Mordecai recorded these events. He sent dispatches to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus, near and far, charging them to observe the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar, every year— the same days on which the Jews enjoyed relief from their foes and the same month which had been transformed for them from one of grief and mourning to one of festive joy. They were to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking, and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor.

Queeries for the text:
What is missing from this text?
Why did Haman want to kill the Jews?
How is this celebrated today?
When is genocide okay?
How are Jews oppressed today?

-----

Queerying Mark 9:38-50
ID: Shells&Emotions @anna_bayla posts "My favorite bible story is when instead of telling women to dress modestly, Jesus tells his dudes to avoid lust by plucking their eyes out". This is followed by further commentary challenging victim blaming and calling people to responsibility for their own feelings.
What are your queeries?


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Queerying 17th after Pentecost B

ID: the Boov from the movie Home is visible in six panels immitating what is listed: He's a frog, He's a salesman, He's a letterbox, He's a fugitive, He's an optimist, He's a pessimist.  Along the bottom, the image reads: And the Boov says HUMANS are complicated!

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Mark 9:30-37
30Jesus and his chosen family went on from there and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know it; 31for he was teaching his chosen family, saying to them, “The Human One is to be betrayed into human institutions, and they will execute him, and three days after being executed, the Human One will rise again.” 32But they did not understand what Jesus was saying and were afraid to ask him. 

33Then they came to Capernaum; and when Jesus was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. 35Jesus sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”

36Then Jesus took a little child and put them among his chosen family; and taking them in his arms, Jesus said to the chosen family, 37“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

Queeries for the text:
Where are they coming from?
Who is the Human One?  What makes them human?
How are human institutions involved in betrayal?
Why were they afraid to ask?
How do children receive welcome?

What are your queeries?

 


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Queerying 16th after Pentecost B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: Sophia with dark skin, sitting between two pillars in the style of the Waite-Smith High Priestess.

Tanakh: Proverbs 1:20-33
Wisdom cries aloud in the streets,
raises her voice in the squares.

At the head of the busy streets she calls;
at the entrance of the gates, in the city, she speaks out:

“How long will you simple ones love simplicity,
you scoffers be eager to scoff, you willfully ignorant hate knowledge?

You are indifferent to my rebuke;
I will now speak my mind to you, and let you know my thoughts.

Since you refused me when I called,
and paid no heed when I extended my hand,

you spurned all my advice,
and would not hear my rebuke,

I will laugh at your calamity,
and mock when terror comes upon you,

When terror comes like a disaster, and calamity arrives like a whirlwind,
When trouble and distress come upon you.

Then they shall call me but I will not answer;
they shall seek me but not find me.

Because they hated knowledge,
and did not choose fear of the Becoming One;

They refused my advice,
and disdained all my rebukes,

They shall eat the fruit of their ways,
and have their fill of their own counsels.

The tranquillity of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of the willfully ignorant will destroy them.

But she who listens to me will dwell in safety,
untroubled by the terror of misfortune.”

Queeries for the text:
Who is Wisdom?
What advice and rebukes are being rejected and ignored?
What is the terror of misfortune?
Does God punish us?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
ID: a purple ribbon, known to represent domestic violence victims and survivors is visible in its characteristic loop.
Gospel: Mark 8:27-38
27Jesus went on with his chosen family to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his chosen family, “Who do people say that I am?”

28And they answered Jesus, “John the Baptizer; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

29Jesus asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”

30And Jesus sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. 31Then Jesus began to teach them that the Human One must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the religious authorities, and the legal authorities, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him.

33But turning and looking at his chosen family, Jesus rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

34Jesus called the crowd with his chosen family, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Human One will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Caregiver with the holy angels.”

Queeries for the text:
What did we skip?
Why John the Baptizer, Elijah, or one of the prophets?
What is a messiah?
Who "must" undergo great suffering?
What does it mean to deny yourself and take up your cross?  What doesn't it mean?
Who gains the world to lose life?
What does it mean to be ashamed?  What doesn't it mean?

What are your queeries?

 


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Queerying 15th after Pentecost B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: a clothes hanger, with text that reads "Warning: This is not a surgical instrument. Keep abortion safe and legal."

Tanakh: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
Repute is preferable to great wealth,
Grace is better than silver and gold.

Rich human and poor human meet;
The Becoming One made them both.

[...]

The one who sows injustice shall reap misfortune;
Their rod of wrath shall fail.

The generous one is blessed,
For she gives of her bread to the poor.

[...]

Do not rob the wretched because ze is wretched;
Do not crush the poor human in the gate;

For the Becoming One will take up their cause
And despoil those who despoil them of life.

Queeries for the text:
What is missing? Why?
What is grace?
When will the rich and poor meet?
What does it mean to give bread to the poor?
Who are the poor and wretched?
What gates are crushing the poor?
What does it mean to despoil of life?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

Gospel: Mark 7:24-37
24From there Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about Jesus, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27Jesus said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

28But she answered Jesus, “Your Honor, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29Then Jesus said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” 30So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

31Then Jesus returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32The crowd brought to Jesus a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33Jesus took the man aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.

36Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “Jesus has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Queeries for the text:
Who else cannot escape notice?
Who are syrophoenicians?
Who else are dogs?
Who bests whom in this battle of wits?
Who brought the deaf man to Jesus?
When do we need privacy?
When do we respond with challenge?
How is society responsible for ableism?
Who is stuck with crumbs today?

What are your queeries?



Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Queerying 14th after Pentecost B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

IDL a photograph of a bronze statue of David and Jonathan. An undressed man is undressing another man from behind.

Tanakh: Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Hark! My beloved! There she comes, leaping over mountains, bounding over hills. My beloved is like a gazelle or like a young stag. There she stands behind our wall, gazing through the window, peering through the lattice. My beloved spoke thus to me, “Arise, my darling; my fair one, come away! For now the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The blossoms have appeared in the land, the time of pruning has come; the song of the turtledove is heard in our land. The green figs form on the fig tree, the vines in blossom give off fragrance. Arise, my darling; my fair one, come away!

Queeries for the text:
Who is my beloved?
Who speaks in this text?
What blossoms are we waiting for?
What are green figs?
What's going on?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: a two-year-old with pale skin, light brown hair, and rolled up sleeves holds a hand under a faucet of running water.

Gospel: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
Now when the religious authorities and lawyers who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, 2they noticed that some of Jesus' chosen family were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. 3(For the religious authorities, and all the Jewish people, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the ancestors; 4and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) 5So the religious authorities and lawyers asked Jesus, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the ancestors, but eat with defiled hands?”

6Jesus said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
7in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’
8You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.” 

[...]

14Then Jesus called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”

[...]

21For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: immoral sex, theft, murder, 22adultery, greed and extortion, wickedness, deceit, shameless excess, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Queeries for the text:
What's missing?  How is it problematic?
What kind of handwashing is traditional?
How is washing good?
Why is Jesus so reactive towards these religious authorities? When else is Jesus reactive?
Which human traditions have taken over God's commands?
When else is defilement addressed?
What does immoral sex consist of?  Shameless excessEnvy?
What else defiles from within?

What are your queeries?


 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Queerying 13th after Pentecost B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: an oval sign that reads in white text on a light green background "Home" it is surrounded by hearts. The sign is hanging from a green cactus.

Tanakh: 1 Kings 8:22-30, 41-43
Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Becoming One in the presence of the whole community of Israel; he spread the palms of his hands toward heaven and said, “O Becoming God of Israel, in the heavens above and on the earth below there is no god like You, who keep Your gracious covenant with Your servants when they walk before You in wholehearted devotion; You who have kept the promises You made to Your servant, my father David, fulfilling with deeds the promise You made—as is now the case. And now, O Becoming God of Israel, keep the further promise that You made to Your servant, my father David: ‘Your line on the throne of Israel shall never end, if only your descendants will look to their way and walk before Me as you have walked before Me.’ Now, therefore, O God of Israel, let the promise that You made to Your servant my father David be fulfilled.

“But will God really dwell on earth? Even the heavens to their uttermost reaches cannot contain You, how much less this House that I have built! Yet turn, O Becoming One my God, to the prayer and supplication of Your servant, and hear the cry and prayer which Your servant offers before You this day. May Your eyes be open day and night toward this House, toward the place of which You have said, ‘My name shall abide there’; may You heed the prayers which Your servant will offer toward this place. And when You hear the supplications which Your servant and Your people Israel offer toward this place, give heed in Your heavenly abode—give heed and pardon.
[...]
“Or if a foreigner who is not of Your people Israel comes from a distant land for the sake of Your name— for they shall hear about Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm—when he comes to pray toward this House, oh, hear in Your heavenly abode and grant all that the foreigner asks You for. Thus all the peoples of the earth will know Your name and revere You, as does Your people Israel; and they will recognize that Your name is attached to this House that I have built.

Queeries for the text:
What's missing?
What house does this text talk about?
What is home?
How long did this temple stand?
Does this home exist today?
Where do you find home? How is it constructed?
How do we care for our home?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: a black and white print shows a person of African descent breaast feeding a child below a cross with a circle around it and the words *TAKE AND EAT*THIS IS MY BODY*
Gospel: John 6:56-69
Jesus continued:
56“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Caregiver sent me, and I live because of the Caregiver, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” 59Jesus said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

60When many of Jesus' community heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?”

61But Jesus, being aware that his community was complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the One Born of Woman ascending to where They were before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65And Jesus said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Caregiver.”

66Because of this many of Jesus' community turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”

68Simon Peter answered him, “Leader, to whom can we go? You have the words of everlasting life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Queeries for the text:
How do we eat people?
How do we drink blood?
What teaching is difficult for you?
Does cannibalism offend you?
How is flesh useful?
What doesn't Jesus know?
From what are you tempted to turn back?
To whom can we go?
What does Jesus taste like?

What are your queeries?




Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Queerying 12th after Pentecost B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: a statue of the deity El, stolen by academics from the Levant--now known as Syria, Palestine, and Israel--and currently held at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.

Tanakh: 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14
So David slept with his ancestors, and he was buried in the City of David. The length of David’s reign over Israel was forty years: he reigned seven years in Hebron, and he reigned thirty-three years in Jerusalem, then Solomon sat upon the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established.
[...]
Then, Solomon, though he loved the Becoming One and followed the practices of his father David, also sacrificed and offered at the shrines. The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the largest shrine; on that altar Solomon presented a thousand burnt offerings. At Gibeon the Becoming One appeared to Solomon in a dream by night.

God said, “Ask, what shall I grant you?”

Solomon said, “You dealt most graciously with Your servant my father David, because he walked before You in faithfulness and righteousness and in integrity of heart. You have continued this great kindness to him by giving him a son to occupy his throne, as is now the case. So now, O Becoming One, my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David; but I am a young lad, with no experience in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of the people You have chosen, a people too numerous to be numbered or counted. Grant, then, Your servant an understanding mind to judge Your people, to distinguish between good and bad; for who can judge this vast people of Yours?”

The Becoming One was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.

God said to him, “Because you asked for this—you did not ask for long life, you did not ask for riches, you did not ask for the life of your enemies, but you asked for discernment in dispensing justice— I now do as you have spoken. I grant you a wise and discerning mind; there has never been anyone like you before, nor will anyone like you arise again. And I also grant you what you did not ask for—both riches and glory all your life—the like of which no king has ever had. And I will further grant you long life, if you will walk in My ways and observe My laws and commandments, as did your father David.”

Queeries for the text:
What's missing from this reading?
Who was worshipped at the shrines?
Was she God's spouse?
Is God monogamous?
Did God care about the shrine?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: against a red background, the (Horror) Nerds at Church glasses and forehead cross logo is visible with a smile that includes protruding vampire teeth.  At the top white lettering reads: "sleep all day, listen all night. It's fun to be a horror nerd" and in the bottom right corner is: HORROR NERDS AT CHURCH

Gospel: John 6:51-58
Jesus continued:
51“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52The Judeans then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this person give us his flesh to eat?”

53So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you gnaw on the flesh of the One Born of Woman and drink Their blood, you have no life in you. 54Those who gnaw on my flesh and drink my blood have everlasting life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56Those who gnaw on my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Caregiver sent me, and I live because of the Caregiver, so whoever gnaws on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

Queeries for the text:
What is given for the life of the world?
Who eats flesh?
Where is life?
When did Jesus become a vampire?
Why do we live? How?
What bread comes down from heaven?

What are your queeries?



Thursday, August 5, 2021

Queerying 11th after Pentecost B

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: The Creation of Adam is visible in its restored, vibrant colors

Gospel: John 6:35, 41-51
35Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

[...]

41Then the Judeans began to complain about Jesus because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ 42They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’

43Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless drawn by the Caregiver who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Caregiver comes to me. 46Not that anyone has seen the Caregiver except the one who is from God; this one has seen the Caregiver. 47Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has everlasting life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

Queeries for the text:
What's missing?
What other bread came down from heaven?
What happens when we change?
How are we drawn by the Caregiver?
Where is it written in the prophets?
How do we not die?
How is flesh given?

What are your queeries?




Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Queerying 10th after Pentecost B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: an artist's rendition of David and Bathsheeba, both with dark skin, appearing in a close embrace.

Tanakh: 2 Samuel 11:26 - 12:13a
When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband Uriah was dead, she lamented over her husband. After the period of mourning was over, David sent and had her brought into his palace; she became his wife and she bore him a son. But the Becoming One was displeased with what David had done, and sent Nathan to David.

Nathan came to him and said, “There were two humans in the same city, one rich and one poor. The rich one had very large flocks and herds, but the poor human had only one little ewe lamb that they had bought. They tended it and it grew up together with them and their children: it used to share their morsel of bread, drink from their cup, and nestle in their bosom; it was like a daughter to them.

“One day, a traveler came to the rich human, but they were loath to take anything from their own flocks or herds to prepare a meal for the guest who had come to them; so they took the poor human’s lamb and prepared it for the traveler who had come to them.”

David flew into a rage against the rich man, and said to Nathan, “As the Becoming One lives, the human who did this deserves to die! They shall pay for the lamb four times over, because they did such a thing and showed no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “That man is you!

“Thus said the Becoming One, the God of Israel: ‘It was I who anointed you king over Israel and it was I who rescued you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and possession of your master’s wives; and I gave you the House of Israel and Judah; and if that were not enough, I would give you twice as much more.

“‘Why then have you flouted the command of the Becoming One and done what displeases Femme? You have put Uriah the Hittite to the sword; you took his wife and made her your wife and had him killed by the sword of the Ammonites. Therefore the sword shall never depart from your House—because you spurned Me by taking the wife of Uriah the Hittite and making her your wife.’

“Thus said the Becoming One: ‘I will make a calamity rise against you from within your own house; I will take your wives and give them to another human before your very eyes and she shall sleep with your wives under this very sun. You acted in secret, but I will make this happen in the sight of all Israel and in broad daylight.’”

David said to Nathan, “I stand guilty before the Becoming One!”

Queeries for the text:
Who is the unnamed woman at the beginning of this text?
What is her name?
What is David's crime?
Why might God's "punishment" be ineffective?
Why does the nation care about David's sex life?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: lembas bread is held up with the bottom part of Legolas' face visible in the background.

Gospel: John 6:24-35
24So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his chosen family were still with them, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 25When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”

26Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for everlasting life, which the Human One will give you. For it is on Them that God the Caregiver has set Femmes seal.”

28Then they said to Jesus, “What must we do to perform the works of God?”

29Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one whom Femme has sent.”

30So they said to Jesus, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘Femme gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

32Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Caregiver who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34They said to him, “Leader, give us this bread always.”

35Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Queeries for the text:
What did we miss?
What is hide and seek like with Jesus?
What loaves?
What food endures?
What is Femmes seal?
When is work faith? When is it not?
When did they eat manna? Why?
What gives life to the world?
Who is hungry?

What are your queeries?




Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Queerying 9th after Pentecost B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: two white people, one appearing to be a man, another to be a woman. The man is leaning against a wall gazing upon the woman. She is wearing a knee length skirt and a high-cut blouse, using her arms to attempt to shield herself from the man's gaze.
Tanakh: 2 Samuel 11:1-15
At the turn of the year, the season when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him, and they devastated Ammon and besieged Rabbah; David remained in Jerusalem.

Late one afternoon, David rose from his couch and strolled on the roof of the royal palace; and from the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and the king sent a man to make inquiries about the woman. He reported, “She is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam and wife of Uriah the Hittite.” David sent messengers to fetch her; she came to him and he "lay" with her—she had just purified herself after her period—and she went back home.

The woman conceived, and she sent word to David, “I am pregnant.”

Then David sent a message to Joab, “Send Uriah the Hittite to me”; and Joab sent Uriah to David.

When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab and the troops were faring and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and bathe your feet.” When Uriah left the royal palace, a present from the king followed him.

But Uriah slept at the entrance of the royal palace, along with the other officers of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When David was told that Uriah had not gone down to his house, he said to Uriah, “You just came from a journey; why didn’t you go down to your house?”

Uriah answered David, “The Ark and Israel and Judah are located at Succoth, and my master Joab and your majesty’s men are camped in the open; how can I go home and eat and drink and sleep with my wife? As you live, by your very life, I will not do this!”

David said to Uriah, “Stay here today also, and tomorrow I will send you off.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. The next day, David summoned him, and he ate and drank with him until he got him drunk; but in the evening, Uriah went out to sleep in the same place, with his lord’s officers; he did not go down to his home.

In the morning, David wrote a letter to Joab, which he sent with Uriah. He wrote in the letter as follows: “Place Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest; then fall back so that he may be killed.”

Queeries for the text:
What happened to Bathsheba?
How might she recover today?
Who were the Hittites?
Who else has died for another's sins?
How do these dynamics play out today?
Where is God in this?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

One manifestation of general relativity is gravitational waves, depicted here as created by two colliding black holes. the fabric of space-time. (Image credit: R. Hurt/Caltech-JPL)

Gospel: John 6:1-21
After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4Now the Passover, the festival of the Jewish people, was near. 5When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” 6He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do.

7Philip answered Jesus, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”

8One of his chosen family, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9“There is a child here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?”

10Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. 11Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12When they were satisfied, Jesus told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.”

13So the chosen family gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. 14When the people saw the sign that Jesus had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”

15When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. 16When evening came, his chosen family went down to the sea, 17got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified.

20But Jesus said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21Then they wanted to take Jesus into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.

Queeries for the text:
After what?
What and when is Passover?
Where don't we acquire bread for these people to eat?
How much is 6 months' wages?
What is food among so many people?
What is lost today?
Why twelve baskets?
How did the chosen family expect Jesus to catch up?
How does travel change?

What are your queeries?



Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Queerying 8th after Pentecost B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

A drawing of the ancient tabernacle of God.

Tanakh: 2 Samuel 7:1-14a
When the king was settled in his palace and the Becoming One had granted him safety from all the enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan: “Here I am dwelling in a house of cedar, while the Ark of the Becoming One abides in a tent!”

Nathan said to the king, “Go and do whatever you have in mind, for the Becoming One is with you.”

But that same night the word of the Becoming One came to Nathan: “Go and say to My servant David: thus said the Becoming One: are you the one to build a house for Me to dwell in? From the day that I brought the people of Israel out of Egypt to this day I have not dwelt in a house, but have moved about in Tent and Tabernacle. As I moved about wherever the Israelites went, did I ever reproach any of the tribal leaders whom I appointed to care for My people Israel: why have you not built Me a house of cedar?

“Further, say thus to My servant David: thus said the Becoming God of Angel Armies: I took you from the pasture, from following the flock, to be ruler of My people Israel, and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut down all your enemies before you. Moreover, I will give you great renown like that of the greatest people on earth. I will establish a home for My people Israel and will plant them solidly, so that they shall dwell secure and shall tremble no more. Evil people shall not oppress them anymore as in the past, ever since I appointed chieftains over My people Israel. I will give you safety from all your enemies.

“The Becoming One declares to you that Femme, the Becoming One, will establish a house for you. When your days are done and you lie with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own issue, and I will establish his kingship. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. I will be a parent to him, and he shall be a child to Me.”

Queeries for the text:
What does it mean to have a home?
Who do you know that doesn't live in a home?
What makes a family?
Where does the temple of God live today?
Where does David's house live today?
What's wrong with adopting a person abandoned by their family?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

An artistic rendering shows Jesus as he would have appeared in 1st century Palestine, as a Jewish man with course, dark hair, a broad nose, and dark eyes.

Gospel: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
30The chosen family gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31Jesus said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34As Jesus went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

[...]

53When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized Jesus, 55and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard Jesus was. 56And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Jesus that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

Queeries for the text:
Who has done a lotWho needs rest?
How do people travel faster than a boat?
What did Jesus teach them?  What's missing?
Was Jesus ever able to go somewhere unrecognized?
Where are the sick laid today?
Who else touched the fringe of Jesus' cloak?

What are your queeries?



Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Queerying 7th after Pentecost B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: a replica of the Ark of the Covenant in George Washington Masonic National Memorial

Tanakh: 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19
David again assembled all the picked men of Israel, thirty thousand strong. Then David and all the troops that were with him set out from Baalim of Judah to bring up from there the Ark of God to which the Name was attached, the name Becoming One of Hosts enthroned on the Cherubim.

They loaded the Ark of God onto a new cart and conveyed it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Abinadab’s sons, Uzza and Ahio, guided the new cart. They conveyed it from Abinadab’s house on the hill, walking alongside the Ark of God and Ahio walking in front of the Ark. Meanwhile, David and all the House of Israel danced before the Becoming One to all kinds of cypress wood instruments, with lyres, harps, timbrels, sistrums, and cymbals.

[...]

Then David went and brought up the Ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the City of David, amid rejoicing. When the bearers of the Ark of the Becoming One had moved forward six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling.

David whirled with all his might before the Becoming One; David was girded with a linen jockstrap. Thus David and all the House of Israel brought up the Ark of the Becoming One with shouts and with blasts of the horn.

As the Ark of the Becoming One entered the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Becoming One; and she despised him for it.

They brought in the Ark of the Becoming One and set it up in its place inside the tent which David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and offerings of well-being before the Becoming One. When David finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Becoming One of Hosts.Then, he distributed among all the people—the entire multitude of Israel, man and woman and humans alike—to each a loaf of bread, a cake made in a pan, and a raisin cake. Then all the people left for their homes.

David went home to greet his household.

Queeries for the text:
What is missing from this text?
What men are picked? How are they picked?
What does the Ark of God look like?
What does it mean to pitch a tent? Where else might you pitch a tent?
Where do you find home? To which household(s) do you belong?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: legos depict the scene of John's head being presented to Herod's daughter, Herodias.  In the upper right, a scroll reads "The executioner brought John's head on a platter and gave it to the girl."

Gospel: Mark 6:14-29
14King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.”

15But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.”

16But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”

17For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 18For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.

21But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 22When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” 23And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.”

24She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?”

She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.”

25Immediately the girl rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

26The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother.

29When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

Queeries for the text:
What did King Herod hear of?
Who understands time and aging?
Who makes judgments about others?
Who can and who can't get married?
Who is perplexing?
How many parents would give anything for their kid?
Who asks for something on a platter?
How do caregivers traumatize children?

What are your queeries?



Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Queerying 6th after Pentecost B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: a pitcher of anointing oil with a branch of green olives in front of it.

Tanakh: 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. Long before now, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led Israel in war; and the Becoming One said to you: You shall shepherd My people Israel; you shall be ruler of Israel.” All the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a pact with them in Hebron before the Becoming One. They anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.

[...]

David occupied the stronghold and renamed it the City of David; David also fortified the surrounding area, from the Millo inward. David kept growing stronger, for the Becoming One, the God of Angel Armies, was with him.

Queeries for the text:
Who else rules instead of the king/queen? 
What is missing from this text?
Who else has asked for a ruler?
Who is God with today?
Who rules over the u.s.?
Who wrote this text?

-----

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: towards sunset, a dirt path winds in shaddow through bushes and trees.  The tops of the trees are lit up and the sky is a muted blue.

Gospel: Mark 6:1-13
Jesus left that place and came to his hometown, and his chosen family followed him. 2On the sabbath Jesus began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and sibling of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Jesus.

4Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” 5And Jesus could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Then Jesus went about among the villages teaching. 7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8Jesus ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12So the twelve went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Queeries for the text:
Where did Jesus leave?
Who takes offense at new wisdom?
What keeps us from deeds of power?
Who takes nothing today?
Who provides hospitality?
What happens when you shake off dust?
From what should we repent?

What are your queeries?