Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Queerying Holy Trinity B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: metallic lips with matching metallic lipstick on some of the teeth.

Tanakh: Isaiah 6:1-8

In the year that King Uzziah died, I beheld my Queen seated on a high and lofty throne; and the skirts of Femmes robe filled the Temple. Seraphs provided Femme with service. Each of them had six wings: with two they covered her face, with two he covered their genitals, and with two she would fly. 

One would call to the other, “Holy, holy, holy! The Queen of Angel Armies! Femmes presence fills all the earth!” The doorposts would shake at the sound of the one who called, and the house kept filling with smoke. 

I cried, “Woe is me; I am lost! For I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my own eyes have beheld the Queen, God of Angel Armies.” 

Then one of the seraphs flew over to me with a live coal, which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. They touched it to my lips and declared, “Now that this has touched your lips, Your guilt shall depart and your sin be purged away.” 

Then I heard the voice of my Queen saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” 

I said, “Here am I; send me.”

Queeries for the text:
Who is my Queen?
What does it mean to be high and lofty?
What's filling the house with smoke?
How are our lips unclean?
What about our lips is unclean?
What sins must be purged?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
ID: Embodying the God who is Justice: Agitator, Educator, Organizer,  a black and white picture of a protest against the murder of George Floyd shows a crowd of people with two, both with dark skin and layers of clothing on, standing above the rest. The one on the left holds up a white sign with dark letters that reads "I CAN'T BREATHE" and has an arm around the one on the right, who is wearing a rain poncho and has an arm raised, fist in the air.
Gospel: John 3:1-17
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jewish people. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” 
3Jesus answered Nicodemus, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the reign of God without being born from above.” 
4Nicodemus said to Jesus, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the parent’s womb and be born?” 
5Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the reign of God without being born of water and breath. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the breath is breath. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ 8The breath breathes where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the breath.” 
9Nicodemus said to Jesus, “How can these things be?” 
10Jesus answered Nicodemus, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? 
11“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Human One. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Human One be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in that one may have eternal life. 
16“For God so loved the world that Femme gave Femmes only Child, so that everyone who believes in Them may not perish but may have everlasting life. 
17“Indeed, God did not send the Child into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Them.”
Queeries for the text:
Have we read this before?
Which signs does Jesus do?
What kind of biblical interpretation did Nicodemus do?
What is born of water?
What is breath, wind, and spirit?
Whose testimony is refused?
How might the world be saved?
What's the rest of the story
Why does today matter?
What are your queeries?

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Queerying Holy Trinity C as Protest

ID: an interpretation of Rublev's icon of the Trinity, Kelly Latimore's Trinity depicts three angelic figures holding hands and seated at a table set with grapes and wheat on a rainbow tablecloth.  The person on the left has a medium-dark tone skin, loose, dark curly or wavy hair in a braid down the back, and a reddish pink robe while their free hand is palm up with thumb and middle finger touching and index finger extended; the middle person has dark skin and dreadlocks that fall to the shoulder with deep maroon clothing and a light blue fabric covering it on the right; the person on the right has medium-light skin, straight, black hair pulled back in a bun, and light blue clothing and a green fabric covering it on the right while their free hand rests on their knee, open and facing palm up.

The following Call to Worship and Opening Prayer are inspired by the Romans 5 reading for Holy Trinity in Year C as part of a series on Protest as Worship for Trinity Las Americas United Methodist Church.

ID: three Black and disabled friends (a non-binary person with a cane and tangle stim toy, a non-binary person sitting in a power wheelchair, and an invisibly disabled woman) smiling and taking a cell phone selfie together. All are outdoors in front of a white wall.
Call to Worship

We gather in relationship
The dance of the Trinity dances among us.

We gather for relationship
The dance of the Trinity calls us to a global dance.

We gather through faithfulness, seeking righteousness and grace.
God’s love pours into us through the Holy Spirit.

Through the Trinity God binds us one to the other
Your suffering is my suffering; their suffering is my suffering.

God calls us into relationship with our neighbors--known and unknown.
Relationship invites us into solidarity.

Solidarity gives purpose to suffering so that suffering might produce endurance.
The “suffering with” of solidarity’s endurance produces character, and character hope.

The hope of solidarity is the hope of faithfulness to God in relationship
The hope of the Trinity liberates us for the dance of collective freedom, the dance of the Trinity.

ID: two people, one on the left with dark skin, dark curly hair, and a beard and one on the right with dark skin, close-cropped black hair, glasses, and a large hoop earring, share a kiss.

Opening Prayer
Triune God,
Your existence danced the world into existence. Together you Create, Liberate, and Empower. You invite us into the deep relationship that is the heart of who you are. You are the love that grounds us, that becomes us, and that inspires us. Bring us into relationship with you and with our neighbor. Transform our relationships with others to provoke solidarity, inspiring our collective struggle for justice. Root our worship in protest and our protest in worship as we root ourselves in you. We pray in the name of our God who is Justice, Organizer, and Protest.

ID: three dark brown people float above and in rainbow lines of color like an ocean with a light blue line coming out and down from them, evoking the shape of a bird.


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Queerying Pentecost as Protest

ID: against the black of night, the yellow and orange flames of a fire are visible moving and breathing with the wind.

The following Call to Worship and Opening prayer are rooted in the Ezekiel 37:1-14 as a Pentecost text.

Call to Worship
The graveyard is full. The dead, dying, and killed with blood on the ground.
The price that has been paid is already too high.

The breath of God calls the prophets to prophesy,
even when all seems lost, when everything around is death.

The prophets prophesy. The people shout in so many languages
Black Lives Matter!
Free Palestine!
Trans people are divine!
Accessibility is a human right!
Ninguna persona migrante es ilegal!
Queer Justice, not Gay Rights!
Nothing about us without us!

The Spirit breaks in, knitting bone to bone, sinew on bone, and the very breath of life back into what was given up for dead.
People rise, not for the end that they can see, but for the present they can resist.

Life breathes in. Life breathes out.
The Holy Spirit is alive in resistance. In worship. In protest. In the world.

Opening Prayer
Creative Spirit,
You breathe life into your people in unexpected ways. When we’ve given up all for lost. When we’ve resigned ourselves that the government will never change, leaders will never listen, justice will never come, you break into our lives like the rush of a violent wind at Pentecost. Upsetting our assumptions, you upend the apathy and despair that we fall into. You celebrate the diversity of your people in tongues of flame and many languages. You breathe new life into bones that are weary, dead from violence, oppression, and neglect. You bring us back to life and send us into the world with new power, creativity, and connection. Inspire our worship. Inspire our protest. Be our breath.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Queerying Pentecost B

River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.

ID: a cartoon of a person pulling a gurney out from the back of an ambulance in the background and a person with long hair and a beige outfit wearing a red cross armband performing CPR on another person with short hair, wearing a pastel purple top and jeans.

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

Then She said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Becoming One! Thus said the Becoming God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live again. I will lay sinews upon you, and cover you with flesh, and form skin over you. I will put breath into you, and you shall live again. You shall know that I am the Becoming One!” 

I prophesied as I had been commanded. While I was prophesying, suddenly there was a sound of rattling, and the bones came together, bone to matching bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had grown, and skin had formed over them; but there was no breath in them. 

Then She said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, O mortal! Say to the breath: Thus said the Becoming God: Come, O breath, from the four winds, and breathe into these slain, that they may live again.” 

I prophesied as She commanded me. The breath entered them, and they came to life and stood up on their feet, a vast multitude. 

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

Queeries for the text:
When does life begin? 
Who has access to life?
Who gets breath when they can't breathe
Do the bones get to respond to the prophecy? 
What happens when bones get dry?
How can doom become hope?  


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.
ID: against a red background, white words read CHANGE COLOR IN A CAMPFIRE with white campfires on either side.  Six squares with tan backgrounds have various campfires coordinated by color with words above them: a green campfire with words above that read Add Borax for GREEN Flames; a purple campfire with words above that read Water Softener Salt for PURPLE Flames; an orange campfire with words above that read Table Salt for Deeper ORANGE Flames; a white campfire with words above that read Epsom Salt for WHITE Flames; a black campfire with additional yellow flames and orange words above that read Add Flour for More Flareups; a brown campfire with red sparks coming off and red words above that read Add Sugar for Sparks.
First Reading: Acts 2:1-21
When the day of Pentecost had come, Jesus' Chosen Family were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as She gave them ability. 5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

7Amazed and astonished, the crowd asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jewish born and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”

12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

13But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “People of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your children of all genders shall prophesy, and your youth shall see visions, and your elders shall dream dreams. 18Even upon my slaves, of all genders, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Becoming One’s great and glorious day. 21Then everyone who calls on the name of the Becoming One shall be saved.’” 
Queeries for the text:
Who were all gathered in one place?
When else do violent winds show up?
What all kinds of fire?
How many languages?
How many nations? Who's missing?
What's happening to Native languages?
Who do we sneer at today?
What has flesh?

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

ID: a scene from the 2017 film Wonder Woman. The titular character is standing on steps with her mother behind her. In the foreground, a male soldier is wrapped by a glowing gold rope which a character to his left is holding. The rope is known as the Lasso of Truth.
Gospel: John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
Jesus said to the Chosen Family:
15:26"When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Caretaker, the Breath of truth who comes from the Caretaker, She will testify on my behalf. 27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

16:4b"I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5But now I am going to She who sent me; yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Her to you. 8And when She comes, She will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10about righteousness, because I am going to the Caretaker and you will see me no longer; 11about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

12"I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13When the Breath of truth comes, She will guide you into all the truth; for She will not speak on Her own, but will speak whatever She hears, and She will declare to you the things that are to come. 14She will glorify me, because She will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Caretaker has is mine. For this reason I said that She will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

Queeries for the text:
On whose behalf will the Advocate testify?
What is missing from this passage? 
What is the ruler of the world? 
What is the Breath of truth taking and declaring to us? 
What does the Breath of truth look like?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Queerying Ascension B

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.
ID: a sunset fills the background while the sillouette of an open hand throws a silloutted paper airplane towards a crescent moon.

First Reading: Acts 1:1-11
In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when They were taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom They had chosen. 3After Their suffering Jesus presented Themself alive to the apostles by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the reign of God. 4While staying with them, Jesus ordered the apostles not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Caretaker. “This,” They said, “is what you have heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

6So when the apostles had come together, they asked Jesus, “Leader, is this the time when you will restore the dominion to Israel?” 7They replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Caretaker has set by divine authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9When Jesus had said this, as the apostles were watching, They were lifted up, and a cloud took Them out of their sight. 10While Jesus was going and the apostles were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two beings in white robes stood by them. 11They said, “People of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Them go into heaven.”

Queeries for the text:
What would the book of God’s work in the world look like if you wrote it?
Who’s writing books about God’s work in the world today?
What many convincing proofs would you need? What would you provide?
Why would the disciples need to stay in Jerusalem?
What are the times or periods of God?
What is it like when the Holy Spirit comes upon you?
What do witnesses do?
When else has the divine appeared at the feet of those who gaze upward?


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

Gospel: Luke 24:44-53
44Then Jesus said to Their chosen family, "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.” 50Then Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up Their hands, They blessed them. 51While Jesus was blessing the chosen family, They withdrew from them and was carried up into heavens. 52And they worshiped Jesus, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

Queeries for the text:
Where have we heard this text before?
Who else entered heaven without dying?
What is significant about Bethany?
Where is heaven?
What happens to a body when it ascends through the stratosphere?

What are your queeries?

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Queerying Easter 6B

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.
ID: against a green background three small owls on a branch, two ont he right face toward the right, the one on the left appears to be falling off and trying to stay on
First Reading: Acts 10:44-48
44While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46for they heard them speaking as foreigners and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48So Peter ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.
Queeries for the text:
What was Peter "still speaking" about?  To whom?
How much of a klutz is the Holy Spirit?
How do foreigners speak?
Upon whom are you astounded that the Holy Spirit has been poured out?
Who tries to withhold water?
How is reception of the Holy Spirit different for each person?

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

ID: a meme by "generalgreviousdatingsim" which has four pictures: top left is a yellow duck stuffed animal with circular glasses and a grey bow-hat wearing overalls and a mail bag, top right is Gonzo from the Muppets wearing a yellow button down shirt and checkered pants, bottom left is a frog stuffed animal wearing a brown coat and brown striped pants, bottom right is the character Kirby in a large black circular hat and large black combat boots. The bottom of the image reads "gay people meeting up for brunch look like this."

Gospel: John 15:9-17
[Jesus said]
9"As the Caretaker has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide and dwell in my love, just as I have kept my Caretaker's commandments and abide and dwell in Zer love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

12This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you subs any longer, because the sub does not know what the dom is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Caretaker. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Caretaker will give you whatever you ask Zer in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Queeries for the text:
What does queer friendship look like?
How does slave/master language cause harm?
What do power dynamics have to do with friendship?
What commands do friends give each other?
What does complete joy look like?

What are your queeries?

Monday, May 3, 2021

Queerying Mother's Day

ID: a black and white image shows Julia Ward How with a head covering and ruffled clothing of the 1870s to the left of elegant script of the first half of her 1870s Mother's Day Proclamation.

The following Call to Worship and Opening Prayer are adapted from Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870.  Mother's Day originated in response to the Civil War as a call to work towards peace.

Call to Worship

Arise, then… women of this day!
Arise, all who have hearts, whether our baptism be that of water or of tears!

Say firmly: We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.
Our loved ones shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

Our children shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our children to be trained to injure theirs.

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: Disarm, Disarm!

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence vindicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
let us all now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of council.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let us all then solemnly take council with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace.

Opening Prayer

Creator God, Mother and Parent beyond imagining,
You create each person bearing in their own kind the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God. You value humans for our inherit worth, not capitalism and the exploitation and war it provokes. In the name of motherhood and of humanity, we earnestly ask that you guide us all, without limit of nationality, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of justice that leads to peace.