Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Queerying Easter 5B

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.
ID: a painted image shows Kia, the Ethiopian Eunuch, in a purple robe with a yellow halo lined in rainbow, riding a horse and carriage with a brown road and background hills with some blue sky visible.
First Reading: Acts 8:26-40
26Then an angel of the Becoming One said to Philip, “Get up and go up toward the south to the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 27So Philip got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. Ey had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning home; seated in eir chariot, ey was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” 30So Philip ran up to it and heard the Ethiopian reading the prophet Isaiah. 
Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 
31Ey replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And ey invited Philip to get in and sit beside em. 32Now the passage of the scripture that ey was reading was this: “Like a sheep they were led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so they do not open their mouth. 33In their humiliation justice was denied them. Who can describe their generation? For their life is taken away from the earth.” 34The Ethiopian treasurer asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about themself or about someone else?” 
35Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to em the good news about Jesus. 36As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the Ethiopian eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” 38Ey commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the Ethiopian, went down into the water, and Philip baptized em. 
39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Becoming One snatched Philip away; ey saw him no more, and went on eir way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
Queeries for the text:
What had Philip been up to?
What is the role of education in faith?
Where in Isaiah is that passage?
From whom is justice denied
What else does Isaiah say? Who are they talking about?
What prevents people from being baptized?
Where all did Philip go?
Guest queerier, Pace Warfield-May, queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: rows of Northern California vineyards against a bright blue sky. In the foreground are flowering trees with white, cone-shaped flower clusters
Gospel: John 15:1-8
Jesus continued:
“I am the true vine, and my Caretaker is the gardener. 2Ze removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit Ze prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3You have already been pruned by the word that I have spoken to you.

4“Remain and dwell in me as I remain and dwell in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it remains and dwells in the vine, neither can you unless you remain and dwell in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6Whoever does not remain and dwell in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you remain and dwell in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8My Caretaker is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

Queeries for the text:
How do you bear fruit?
Why do branches stop bearing fruit?
How does pruning help things grow?
How does climate change affect vineyards and farming?
What do you wish for?
What are your queeries?

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Queerying Easter 4B

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

ID: Scoop the backhoe, Muck the bulldozer with a fitted dump bed, Dizzy the cement mixer, and Lofty the crane from Bob the Builder drive together along a paved road under an overpass.
First Reading: Acts 4:5-12
5The next day the people's officials, religious leaders, and lawyers assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners, Peter and John, stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 
8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this one has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this person is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ 12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”
Queeries for the text:
The next day after what?
Who are the prisoners today?
How do names matter?
When do we question good deeds?
Who are the actual builders?
What happened after Peter's speech? 
What happens when the truth is too obvious to deny?
Guest queerier, Pace Warfield-May, queeries the Gospel reading. 

[video description: video shows a sheep being pulled out of a ditch by a young person. The sheep, once freed, immediately leaps back into the ditch and gets stuck again. The video then repeats this, but in slow motion.]
Gospel: John 10:11-18 

Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down their life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs awayand the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Caretaker knows me and I know the Caretaker. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Caretaker loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one has taken it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Caretaker."

Queeries for the text:
Who are the low-wage, seasonal, or migrant workers in our society?
Who is the wolf?
Who is the hired hand?
How do we know our own?
What else does Jesus say about shepherds and sheep? 

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Queerying Genesis 1:1-2:4a

For a virtual Easter Vigil project this year, I translated and shared Genesis 1:1-2:4a. I received a few requests for the translation I used, so here it is.

ID: dark blue and purple textured like water or cloud cover the bottom left of the image while silver swirls against blue in the top right half.

In beginning, when God created the heavens, the earth, and everything between and beyond 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

ID: bright white and yellow with a yellow cross in the top left corner fade into dark purple and black with a black cross in the bottom right.

3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness in all their goodnesses. 5God called the light Day, the darkness They called Night, plus Twilight, Dusk, and Dawn. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

ID: in various shades of blue, a cloudy texture is visible arcing across the top of the image while reflective water is visible below the clouds.

6And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8God called the dome Sky, Atmosphere, Stratosphere, and Space. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

ID: land with grass in the top left blends through beach and marsh into water in the bottom right.

9And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together They called Seas, plus marshlands and beach. And God saw that it was good. 11Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

ID: the moon and stars are set against a dark blue in the top left, which blends through twilight, dusk, and dawn, to the bright yellow of the sun and light blue of day in the bottom right.

14And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16God made the two great lights—the louder light to rule the day and the younger light to rule the night—and the stars: constellations, galaxies, and cosmos. 17God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness, but not too much. And God saw that it was good. 19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

ID: clouds cover the top half of the image with three birds visible in a simple line sillouette while water covers the bottom half with a green, smiling sea monster in the waters.

20And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” 21So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind and even the winged birds that swarm in the waters. And God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

ID: a cow pokes its head out from the left of the image against a backdrop of land with grass on the left half of the image and a creeping spider in the upper right.

24And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. 25God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind, and even the animals that creep on the ground and swarm in the water. And God saw that it was good.

ID: symbols for various genders are visible against a white background.  Gender symbols visible from top left to bottom right are: female, male, bigender (example of female + male), androgyne, neutrois, agender/genderless, intergender, demiboy, demigirl, third gender, genderqueer/non-binary, pangender/poligender, epicene, genderfluid (example of female and male), transgender, transgender (alternative version).

26Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have responsibility over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27So God created humankind in Their image, in the image of God They created them; male and female, between and beyond, They created them. 28God blessed humanity, and God said to them, “Be fruity and multiply, and fill the earth and seduce it; and have responsibility over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

29God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” God endorsed vegetarianism, and it was so.

31God saw everything that They had made, and indeed, it was all very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

ID: green, purple, and light gray spiral together in overlapping swirls.

2Thus the heavens and the earth and everything between and beyond were spent, and all their multitude. 2And on the seventh day God finished the work that They had done, and God rested on the seventh day from all the work that They had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that They had done in creation.

4These are the generations of the heavens and the earth and everything between and beyond when they were created.

Queerying Easter 3B

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.
ID: a dark skinned, nonbinary person writes in a notebook while another dark skinned person, with shoulder length hair, with red tips reads a paper.
First Reading: Acts 3:12-19
12When Peter saw people running to the throuple, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made the person walk? 13The God of Abraham, the God of Rebecca, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified Zer servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. 14But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, 15and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16And by faith in Their name, Their name itself has made this person strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given this person this perfect health in the presence of all of you. 
17“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18In this way God fulfilled what Ze had foretold through all the prophets, that Zer Messiah would suffer. 19Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out..."
Queeries for the text:
What did Peter see and do?  Why is Peter talking to his own community?
Who do we make walk
Who else are our ancestors
Who handed Jesus over?  Who bears responsibility?  What was Peter up to at the time?
How does naming give strength?
How do we act in ignorance?  Who acts in ignorance? 
Of what do they need to repentWho does NOT need to repent?


Guest queerier, Pace Warfield-May, queeries the Gospel reading.

ID: Artwork depicts Jesus with long hair and a beard, wearing white with a yellow halo. Jesus’ skin is rendered to look like a zombie: green with bloody wounds, yellow, deep-set eyes, and a mouth in a snarl showing exposed, decaying teeth. The image is accompanied by the text, in a red, horror movie font “ZOMBIE JESUS LOVES YOU.” The bottom right corner has the name of the artist, MrPeterRossiter.

Gospel: Luke 24:36b-48, Luke 24:13-49 for context

13Now on that same day two members of Jesus’ chosen family were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were kiki-ing, Jesus Themself approached and went with them, 16but the eyes of the two chosen family members were prevented from recognizing Them. 17And They said to them, "What words are you kiki-ing with each other about while you saunter along?" The two stopped in their tracks, looking like they were in mourning. 18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered Them, "You alone must be the only tourist in Jerusalem who does not know what happened?"

19Jesus asked the chosen family members, "What things?" 

The two replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how the rulers and chief religious leaders of our own people handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to liberate Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the grave early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him."

25Then Jesus said to the two of them, "For fuck’s sake! How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to trust all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Anointed One should suffer these things and then enter into Their glory?" 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, They interpreted to them the things about Themself in all the scriptures. 28As they came near the village to which they were going, They walked ahead as if They were going on. 29But they compelled Jesus, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So They went in to stay with them. 30When They were at the table with the two, They took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Them; and They vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, "Were not our hearts lit on fire within us while They were talking to us on the road, while They were opening the scriptures to us?"

33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, "The Leader has risen indeed, and They have appeared to Simon!" 35Then the two told what had happened on the road, and how Jesus had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. 36While they were kiki-ing about this,
Jesus Themself stood among them and said to them, "Peace and wholeness be with you."

37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38Jesus said to Their chosen family, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." 40and when They had said this, They showed them Their hands and Their feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, They said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" 42The chosen family gave Them a piece of broiled fish, 43and They took it and ate in their presence. 44Then They said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you--that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled."

45Then Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and They said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Anointed One is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in Their name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And see, I am sending upon you what my Caretaker promised; so stay here in the city until you have been bedazzled in the power from on high.”

Queeries for the text:
Is Jesus a zombie, ghost, vampire, or other supernatural being?
Why were the disciples afraid and in doubt?
How does one disbelieve and wonder in joy?
What does bedazzlement from on high look like?
How would you react to seeing someone you thought had died?
How does the Road to Emmaus impact the story?
How do you witness justice, repentance, and forgiveness of sins?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Queerying Easter 2B

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.
First Reading: Acts 4:32-35
32Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Leader Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
Queeries for the text:
How is a whole group of one heart and soul? Were they really?
What happens without private ownership?
What do we hold in common?  What don't we?
What else happens with great power and great grace?
What do Jesus' words mean without needy?
What happens when lands and houses are sold?

Guest queerier, Pace Warfield-May, queeries the Gospel reading. 

ID: a reference to Caravaggio's painting "The Incredulity of St. Thomas." Image shows four Black men. One, Jesus, is pulling down his tunic to reveal his wounded side and hand. Another, Thomas, is in the foreground examining the wound and sticking his pointer finger into it. Two other disciples watch behind Thomas, looking over his shoulder.
Gospel: John 20:19-31
19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where Jesus’ chosen family had met were locked for fear of the authorities, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace and wholeness be with you." 20After They said this, They showed them Their hands and Their side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Leader. 21Jesus said to them again, "Peace and wholeness be with you. As the Caretaker has sent me, so I am sending you." 22When They had said this, They breathed on the chosen family and said to them, "Receive the Holy Breath. 23If you let go of the sins of any, they are let go; if you hold on to the sins of any, they are held on to."

24But Thomas (who was nicknamed the Twin), one of the twelve, was notpwith them when Jesus came. 25So the other chosen family members told him, "We have seen the Leader." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."

26A week later Jesus’ chosen family was gathered again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace and wholeness be with you." 27Then They said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my wounded side. Do not doubt but believe." 28Thomas answered Them, "My Leader and my God!" 29Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."

30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of Their chosen family, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Child of God, and that through believing you may have life in Their name.

Queries for the Text:
What is the role of skepticism? What is the value in questioning?
Doubting Thomas or conditional Thomas?
Why did Jesus say “Peace and wholeness be with you?”
How do we address antisemitism in passages like this?
How is disability present in this story?

What are your queeries?