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?