Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Queerying Easter 7C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.
ID: the cover of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, a memoir by Harriet Jacobs of her life in and escaping from slavery.
Acts 16:16-34
16One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met an enslaved girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her enslavers a great deal of money by fortune-telling. 17While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” 18She kept doing this for many days.

But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 20When they had brought them before the officers, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jewish 21and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” 22The crowd joined in attacking them, and the officers had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. 24Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25About midnight Paul and Silas were holding vigil, praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

26Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.

27When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he assumed that the prisoners had escaped.

28But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”

29The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31They answered, “Believe on the Lover Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32They spoke the word of the Lover to him and to all who were in his house. 33At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. 34The jailer brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

Queeries for the text:
Where are they?
[When] do owners work?
Why was Paul annoyed at truth-telling?
What happened to the girl after this?
How does faith disturb empire?
Who else did Roman authorities flog?
What happens when jailed?
How do we keep vigil?
What happens when incarceration is unnecessary?
When despairing, what can we do besides un-aliving ourselves?
What do jailers need saving from?
Which word of the Lover did they speak?
How does faith humanize? How does faith dehumanize?


J. Pace Warfield-May queeries the reading from Revelation.
ID: a photo of Venus, the morning star, over a brightly lit city as dawn appears on the horizon. Photo by Jeremy Miller
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
“Holy shit, y’all: I am coming soon and my reward is with me, to give the reward away according to everyone’s work. 13I am the A and the Z, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

14Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.

16“It’s me, Jesus, who has sent my angel to testify to y’all these things in the churches. I am the source and the descendent of David, the radiant morning star.

17The Spirit and her fiancĂ© say, “Come,”
And let everyone who hears say, “Come,”
And let everyone who is parched come.
Let anyone who wishes to take the water of life have free and unlimited access.

20The one who testifies to these things say, “Surely I am coming soon.” Truly– Come, Lover Jesus. 21The grace of our Lover, Jesus the Anointed One, be with all those who have been set apart, the holy. Amen.

Queeries for the text:

What is missing from this text?
What is the importance of a morning star?
Why are those who wash their robes blessed?
What does it mean to testify?
Who is the Spirit’s fiancĂ©?

What are your queeries?

Monday, May 23, 2022

Queerying Ascension C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.
ID: a rainbow hot air balloon rises into the sky against a blue sky background.
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 Sent Ones whom They had chosen. 3After Jesus' suffering They presented Themself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to the Sent Ones during forty days and speaking about the reign of God. 4While staying with them, Jesus ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Caregiver.

“This,” Jesus 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 they had come together, they asked Jesus, “Lover, is this the time when you will restore the empire to Israel?”

7Jesus replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Caregiver has set by Xyr own 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 they were watching, They were lifted up, and a cloud took Them out of the Sent Ones' sight.

10While Jesus was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two beings in white robes stood by them. 11They said, “People of Galilee, why do you stay 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 first book?
What sort of proofs did Jesus present?
What is the promise of the Caregiver?
What happens when the oppressed become the empire?
How are we witnesses?
How did Jesus ascend?
Why do we stay looking?


J. Pace Warfield-May queeries the Psalm.
ID: the 1831 woodblock print of The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai. A large wave capsizes two fishing boats with Mount Fuji in the background.
Psalm 93
The Becoming One is Qween, Xe is wearing a majestic caftan;
the Becoming One is in drag; Xe is wearing a corset of strength.
Xe has established the world so that it cannot be moved.
Your stage is established from before the dawn of time;
you are from ancient times and beyond.

The floods have risen, O Becoming One,
the waters and floods have raised their voice;
the waters and floods raise a roar of waves.
More majestic and glittering than the thunders of these mighty waves,
more majestic and glittering than the waves of the sea,
the Becoming One is majestic and glittering on high!

Your witness is beyond reproach;
holiness overflows your house,
O Becoming One, from ancient times and beyond.

Queeries for the text:
How do you imagine the Becoming One as a drag queen?
What is a corset of strength?
What does the roar of waves sound like?
What does it mean to bear witness?

What are your queeries?


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Queerying Easter 6C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.
ID: the cover of The Color Purple by Alice Walker shows the silhouette of a Black woman surrounded by black and white plants with violet highlights and a violet background.
Acts 16:9-15
9During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them. 11We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days.

13On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Becoming One opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.

15When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Becoming One, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

Queeries for the text:
During which night?
What would Paul have done if the vision was of a woman?
What role do dreams play in faith and action?
What was this journey like?
Why focus on the women?
Why purple cloth? What is special about purple?
How does Lydia have a household?


J. Pace Warfield-May queeries the reading from Revelation.
ID: a high resolution and high contrast photograph of the sun's corona and solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and other solar phenomena
Revelation 21: 10, 22-22:5
10And the angel carried me away on a wind to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of the sky from God.

22I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the supreme Becoming One and the Lamb. 23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its sunlight, and its night time candle is the Lamb. 24The nations will walk by the city’s sunlight, and the rulers of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25Its gates will never be shut during the day or night. 26People will bring into the city the glory and the honor of the nations. 27But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices lies or sets up false idols, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life. 22:1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3Nothing cursed or imperfect will be found there any more. But the judgment bench of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and Xe’s servants will worship Xem; 4they will see Xyr face, and Xyr name will be written on their foreheads. 5And night will no longer be perceived as bad or scary; they need no light of candles or sun, for the Becoming God will be their sun, and they will dwell there forever and ever.

Queeries for the text:
What is missing from the text?
How do you imagine God’s glory as the sunlight would look and feel?
What is the book of life?
What is the tree of life?
How do we challenge light and dark binaries in scripture? Why is it important?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Queerying Easter 5C

ID: Beatus de Facundus' 1047 Icon of New Jerusalem and the River of Life. A white figure, robed in black, holds an open book above a sperm-shaped river that flows downward. Eight people of a variety of genders and ethnicities sit on each side of the central figure. From the sides of the river, plants grow. In the bottom right corner, an angel shows John of Patmos the vision.
J. Pace Warfield-May queeries the reading from Revelation.

Revelation 21:1-6
Then I saw a new sky and a new ground; for the first sky and the first ground had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of the sky from the Becoming One, decorated as a banquet hall for a wedding. 3And I heard a loud voice from the judges’ bench saying, "See, the home of the Becoming One has been placed among mortals. Xe will dwell with them as their God; they will be Xyr peoples, and God Xymself will be with them; 4Xe will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for they have passed away." 5And the One who was seated on the judges’ bench said, "See, I am making all things new. Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." 6Then Xe said to me, "It is done! I am the A and the Z, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the parched I will give away clean, neverending water from the spring of the water of life.

Queeries for the text:
What do you envision the new sky and the new ground to be like?
Why did the old ground pass away and the sea become no more?
How do we comfort and build community through times of grief?
Why is clean water so important?


Find previous queeries for the Acts text here.


What are your queeries?

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Queerying Easter 4C

Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Acts reading.

ID: Rose Schneiderman, the first woman elected to national office in a labor union, speaks out at a rally, which she did many times after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911.
Acts 9:36-43
36Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good action and generous giving. 37At that time she became ill and died. When the community had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs.

38Since Lydda was near Joppa, the Sent Ones, who heard that Peter was there, sent two who were men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” 39So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them.

40Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. 42This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lover.

43Meanwhile Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Queeries for the text:
Where is Joppa?
Why does Tabitha's Greek name matter?
What are good works and generous giving?
Of what did Tabitha die? Was she pregnant?
What was Peter doing in Lydda?
Who makes the clothing now?
Which "certain Simon"? How long does Peter stay?


J. Pace Warfield-May queeries the Revelation reading.
ID: Vantablack applied to tinfoil in a square container. The Vantablack makes it appears as if there is no shape or contour to the tinfoil where the Vantablack is applied
Revelation 7:9-17
9After these things, I looked, and holy shit there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in Vantablack, with palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying, "Salvation and an end to suffering belongs to the Becoming One who is seated on the judgment bench, and to the Lamb!”

11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the ancestors and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped the Becoming One, 12singing, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our Becoming One forever and ever! Amen.”

13Then one of the ancestors addressed me, saying, "Who are these, robed in Vantablack, and where have they come from?” 14I said to the ancestor, "Comrade, you are the one that knows." Then the ancestor said to me, "These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them Vantablack in the blood of the Lamb. 15For this reason they are before the throne of the Becoming One, and worship day and night within the temple, and the One who is seated on the judgment bench will keep them safe and protected. 16They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not burn them, nor any scorching heat; 17for the Lamb at the center of the judgment bench will be their shepherd, and They will guide them to springs of the water of life, and the Becoming One will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Queeries for the text:
What are these things John is referencing?
What would it be like to fear no more the heat of the sun?
What does the judgement bench have to do with salvation and an end to suffering?
What would it be like to have robes in Vantablack?


What are your queeries?


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

A Litany for Reproductive Justice

ID: a graphic designed by Pace Warfield-May shows a purple band with white flowers adjacent to a taupe rectangle with the following text: "A Litany for Reproductive Justice/written by Suzannah Porter and Rev. Emily E. Ewing." A purple flower is under the text and the logo is in the bottom right corner.
With devastation all around and in our hearts, we come to you, Holy Protector.

Be with all who are caught up in despair today for when the draft statement becomes the opinion of the United States Supreme Court:
those experiencing emergency or risky pregnancies, who will not be able to terminate a pregnancy in order to save their own life.
those who miscarry and will face criminal investigations in the midst of their pain and loss.
those who are pregnant and feel financially chained to an abusive partner.
those who do not want to be pregnant for any reason and now wonder if it will be possible to end an unwanted pregnancy.
Comforting God, be with us in our despair

Be with all who fear what is to come.
for the terrifying realities and increased danger for those who become pregnant.
for those who recognize this as one step of many in the erosion of rights for all people.
Be a courageous and caring presence especially for people with uteri, for women of all kinds, for trans and nonbinary people, for disabled people, for queer people, for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and especially for those with intersecting identities of oppression.  Give us faith to triumph over our fear.
Courageous God, be with us in our fear

Our hearts grieve for the ways we have failed.  We repent for our inaction to protect the right to an abortion.  We repent for the ways we have remained silent and let fear outweigh our faith and commitment to reproductive justice.  We repent for the times when we did not speak and could have.  We repent for the education we did not share.  We repent that we let it come to this.  For those of us who are faith leaders, clergy, and politicians, we repent for the times when our pulpits were silent, when we feared for our jobs more than a future without safe abortion, when we didn't believe the warning signs, when we refused to risk our comfort for the sake of reproductive justice.  We repent for the ways we ignored the 1 in 4 people with uteri in our pews who have had abortions, adding to the stigma.
God of mercy, forgive us our sins.

Protect the most vulnerable.  Keep those who seek and who provide abortions safe.  Pour your power into holistic reproductive health care, for all seeking to become pregnant, to end pregnancies, and everything between and beyond.  Protect those who have faced forced sterilization, that their wombs and bodies may be kept safe.  Protect those without the funds or access to seek abortion, especially in states where it is already nearly impossible to access reproductive health care.
God our refuge, protect us from all harm.

Strengthen the support for abortion networks and those who are working to protect rights to reproductive justice.  Expand the work that is already being done to ensure access to safe, free abortions.  For the fights on the horizon, we pray for your strength and protection: for bodily integrity and autonomy of all kinds, including access to birth control, access to gender affirming health care, protection for transgender and queer children from legislated harm, the protection that marriages of many kinds provide.  Give us patience and care in the creation of a more expansive movement, that we would each be gentle with each other as we navigate our trauma collisions, to seek first to understand with love.
God our champion, lead us to justice.

We give you thanks for all those who have been in this fight for decades and for those who today are filled with ferocity, fury, and fear.
for the work and protection that has been done so far.
for all who don’t know where to begin, and yet are burning with a fire for justice in the wake of this news.
Breathe your resting peace into those who have been fighting, that they carve out space to be gentle with themselves in the time to come.  Give us wisdom to follow those who are already doing this work.  Put your words in our mouths and on our hearts as we speak with state and national officials.  Prepare us for the long road ahead.
Maker of justice, breathe your liberating Spirit through us.

Creative Spirit of consent and courage, we entrust all this and all that you know that we need into your loving presence.  We pray all this in your many names. Amen.

If you would like to use this litany, please credit Suzannah Porter and Rev. Emily E. Ewing, The litany in graphic form, designed by Pace Warfield-May can be found here on the Facebook page.