Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Queerying Narrative Lectionary 114

ID: the Coronation of Queen Esther from the 1617 Scroll of Esther from Ferrara, Italy. On the right side there is a tan box that has the following text: "Narrative Lectionary/Year 1 - December 4 2022/Esther/Esther 4:1-17" with the diakonia.faith logo in the bottom right corner.
Pace Warfield-May queeries the Narrative Lectionary reading.

Esther 4:1-17
1When Mordecai learned all that had been done--King Xerxes and the noble person Hamman had decided to kill the Jewish people because Mordecai, who was Jewish himself, was not paying appropriate tribute to Hamman--Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, as you do, and went through the city, crying, wailing, and weeping bitterly. 2He went up to the entrance of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate half naked like he was, donned only in his sackcloth 3In every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree about sending the Jewish people to death came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and most of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.

4Esther's handmaidens and castrated servants came and told her what was going on with Mordecai half naked outside the gate. The queen was deeply distressed; she sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth and be able to enter the king's gate; but he would not accept them. 5Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s castrated servants who had been appointed to serve her, and Esther ordered them to go to Mordecai to learn what was happening and why. 6Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate, 7and Mordecai told them all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jewish people. 8Mordecai also gave them a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for the destruction of the Jewish people so that Hathach might show it to Esther, explain it to her, and charge her to go to the king to make supplication to him and hopefully get him to change his mind on behalf of her people.

9Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. 10Then Esther spoke to Hathach and told them to reply to Mordecai with the following: 11"Everyone knows, from the king's slaves to the nobility, that if anyone goes to the king inside the inner court without being summoned by him, there is but one law—all are to be put to death. Only if the king holds out the golden scepter to someone, may that person live. I myself have not been called to come into the king's chamber for a month." 12When they told Mordecai what Esther had said, 13Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Even in the king's palace and as his wife, don't think you will have a better chance of escaping his genocide than the rest of the Jewish people. 14For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will still rise up for the Jews from another path, but you and your extended family will still perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come into your place as queen in the palace for just such a time as this." 15Then Esther replied to Mordecai, 16"Go, gather all the Jewish people to be found in Susa and hold a fast on my behalf. Do not eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my servants will also fast as you do. After those three days have passed, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law; and if I am murdered, I am murdered. So be it." 17Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had requested of him.

Queeries for the text:
What is this text building on?
What is the accompanying reading?
Where is this text headed?
Who was Esther?
What are different models of leadership? What makes a good leader?
How can you be an ally to a marginalized and/or oppressed group with your power?
What is genocide?
What can you do in such a time as this?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Queerying Narative Lectionary 113

ID: a scene from the 2007 film "Sunshine" where a character stands in silhouette against the backdrop of the brightness of the sun. The following text is in a box to the right of the image: "Narrative Lectionary/Year 1 - November 27, 2022/Faith as a Way of Life/Habakkuk 1:1-7; 2:1-4; 3:[3b-6], 17-19" followed by the diakonia.faith logo
Pace Warfield-May queeries the Narrative Lectionary reading.

Habakkuk 1:1-7; 2:1-4; 3:[3b-6], 17-19
1:1The message that the prophet Habakkuk saw.

Habakkuk's request to God:
2Hey Becoming One, how long shall I beg for help,
and you won't listen to me?
Or like cry out to you "Look at this violence!"
and you will not bring salvation?
3Why do you make me see all these awful things, all this suffering
and make me look at trouble?
Destruction, devastation, and violence are all before me;
turmoil, violent divisions, keep arising.
4So the laws meant to protect people are ignored
and justice never prevails.
The wicked, the oppressors, the evil surround the righteous–
therefore judgment, what little there is, comes forth broken and incomplete.
God's response to the prophet:
5Look at all of the nations and see what is happening!
Be astonished! Be astounded!
For a work is being done right now in your very lifetime
that you would not believe is happening even if you were told.
6For I am rousing the Chaldeans from their slumber,
that fierce and anxious nation,
who march through the entirety of the known earth
to seize and colonize lands that are not their own.
7Indeed, they bring dread and fear wherever they go;
they put the law into their own hands and bring honor only to themselves.

Habakkuk responded:
2:1I will stand at my watch-post,
and keep watch on the ramparts;
I will keep watch to see what Shee will say to me,
and what She will answer concerning my complaint.
2Then the Becoming One answered me and said:
Write this vision down,
meme-ify it and post it to the socials
so that anyone even scrolling through their feeds will be able to read it.
3For there is still a vision for the time to come that I have appointed
it speaks of the end of all things and it does not lie.
Even if it seems like the appointed time is forever away, wait for it anyway;
it will surely come, I promise. It will not be delayed.
4Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right within them,
but the righteous live by their faith.

[3:3bGod's glory covered the cosmos,
and the ground beneath us was full of Her praise.
4The brightness was so bright, it was like the surface of the sun;
rays of sunlight came forth from the Becoming One's hand,
where Her power lay hidden behind the light.
5Before the Becoming One went out a plague,
and in Her footsteps was left a pandemic.
6She stopped and Her stopping shook the entire earth;
with one look all the peoples of all the nations trembled in fear.
The tallest mountains were shattered;
along the ancient pathways,
the everlasting hills sank to the ground.]

17Though the fig tree is not in bloom,
and there are no fruit on the vines;
though the olive trees aren't bringing forth olives
and the fields aren't giving forth food;
though the flock appears lost and cut off from the herd
and there are no animals in the stalls,
18I will still rejoice in the Becoming one;
I will find joy in the God/ess of my salvation.
19God/ess, the Becoming One, is my strength;
She makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
and allows me to tread upon the cliffs with no fear of falling.

To the leader: with stringed instruments.

Queeries for the text: What is this building on?
What is missing from this passage?
What is the companion text?
Where is this headed?
What does it mean to put the law into your own hands?
How does one watch and wait for the divine?
Why does a pandemic follow in the footsteps of the divine?
How bright is the light of the sun?

What are your queeries?

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Queerying Narrative Lectionary 111

ID: Evgeniy Vuchetich's "Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares" sculpture at the United Nations headquarters in New York. To the right of the image is a green box with the following text: "Narrative Lectionary/Year 1-November 20 2022/Swords into Plowshares/Isaiah 36:1-3, 13-20; 37:1-7, Isaiah 2:1-4" followed by the diakonia.faith logo.
Pace Warfield-May queeries the Narrative Lectionary readings.

Isaiah 36:1-3, 13-20; 37:1-7; then Isaiah 2:1-4
36:1In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign, King Sennacherib of Assyria rose up against all the defended cities of Judah and captured them all. 2The king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh from Lachish with a massive army to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. He stood waiting by an entry to the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. 3And Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder, all came out to him.


13Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, ‘Hear the words of the great king of Assyria! 14Thus says the king: “Do not let your lowly King Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Becoming One by saying, The Becoming One will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 15Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: “Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will be free to eat the fruits of your labor and till your own land and drink your own water, 17until I colonize your land and take you instead to a land like your own land, but my land, but do not worry, it will still be abundant in fruit and fields and water. 18Do not let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, the Becoming One will save us. Have any of the gods of the other nations I've colonized saved their land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 19Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 20Who among all the gods of these countries have saved their countries and kept them out of my hand, that the Becoming One you worship should save Jerusalem out of my hand?”’


37:1When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Becoming One, (which was a thing people apparently did in this time period to show humility before the Becoming One, like, this wasn't just Hezekiah having strange vibes). And he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, all of them covered with their matching sackcloth aesthetic, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3They said to him, ‘Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children are about to be born, and yet there is no strength leftover to raise them. 4It may be that the Becoming One the Divine heard the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Becoming One the Divine has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’
5When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6Isaiah said to them, ‘Say to your master, “Thus says the Becoming One: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7I myself will put a defeating spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and while there, I will cause him to be taken out by the sword in his own land.”’


2:1The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

2In the days to come
the mountain of the Becoming One's house
shall be made to be the highest of all the mountains
and shall be raised above the hills,
and all the nations shall be like a river running toward it.

3Many people will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Becoming One,
to the house of the God of Jacob, Rebecca, Leah, Bilhah, and Zilpah,
that Xe may teach us Xyr ways
and that we may journey along Xyr paths."
For the law shall flow out from Zion,
and the word of the Becoming One shall pour out from Jerusalem.

4The Divine shall judge between the nations,
and provide guidance between people for all disputes;
all people will beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation will no longer fight against nation,
and nations will learn war no more.

Queeries for the text:
What is this building on? What is missing from this passage? Why was it left out and why the strange ordering?
What is the companion text?
Where is this headed?
What does it mean for children to be born with no strength left to raise them?
How is water important for the future of Zion?
What would a future without war look like?

What are your queeries?

Queerying Reign of Christ the Queen C

Brooke McLain and Annie Porter musically queery the RCL readings.

How do you experience distance and closeness in your relationship with God?

How does God shelter us?

How does God strengthen you in difficult times?

Who are the faithful antiheroes in your life? 


River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.
ID: a map of the percentage of Indigenous people in each state or province in what is now known as the united states and canada.
Tanakh: Jeremiah 23:1-6
Ah, shepherds who let the flock of My pasture stray and scatter—declares the Becoming One. Assuredly, said the Becoming One, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who should tend My people: It is you who let My flock scatter and go astray. You gave no thought to them, but I am going to give thought to you, for your wicked acts—declares the Becoming One. And I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock from all the lands to which I have banished them, and I will bring them back to their pasture, where they shall be fertile and increase. And I will appoint over them shepherds who will tend them; they shall no longer fear or be dismayed, and none of them shall be missing—declares the Becoming One. See, a time is coming—says the Becoming One—when I will raise up a true branch of David’s line. Xe shall reign as sovereign and shall prosper, and xe shall do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah shall be delivered and Israel shall dwell secure. And this is the name by which xe shall be called: “The Becoming One is our Vindicator.”

Queeries for the text:
Where have people strayed and scattered?
What is the solution?
Who are the shepherds?
What is the true branch of David's line?
Who needs vindication?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
ID: transgender actress and model Viviany Beleboni depicts the crucified Christ as protest during a pride event in São Paulo 7 June 2015.
Gospel: Luke 23:33-43
33When Jesus, the Roman soldiers, and the crowd came to the place that is called The Skull, the Roman soldiers crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.

34Then Jesus said, “Caregiver, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And the Roman soldiers cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders of the people scoffed at Jesus, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, the chosen one!”

36The soldiers also mocked Jesus, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38There was also an inscription over Jesus, “This is the King of the Jews.”

39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding Jesus and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40But the other rebuked the first, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this one has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Queeries for the text:
Where are the criminals?
How do we cast lots?
Who else is told to save themselves?
What do we inscribe over others?
What do we deserve?
Who has done nothing wrong?
Who is remembered? Who needs to be?
Who is re-membered? Who needs to be?

What are your queeries?

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Queerying 23rd after Pentecost C

Suzannah Porter and Brooke McLain musically queery the RCL readings.

How does God guide you through life transitions? 

How has God shown up to refresh you on your path? 

When has idleness made life difficult? 

How have some relationships been destroyed to make way for new blessings? 


River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.
ID: a laughing emoji with tears of joy.
Tanakh: Isaiah 65:17-25
For behold! I am creating a new heaven and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered, they shall never come to mind. Be glad, then, and rejoice forever in what I am creating. For I shall create Jerusalem as a joy, and her people as a delight; And I will rejoice in Jerusalem and delight in her people. Never again shall be heard there the sounds of weeping and wailing. No more shall there be an infant or graybeard who does not live out their days. She who dies at a hundred years shall be reckoned a youth, and she who fails to reach a hundred shall be reckoned accursed. They shall build houses and dwell in them, they shall plant vineyards and enjoy their fruit. They shall not build for others to dwell in, or plant for others to enjoy. For the days of My people shall be as long as the days of a tree, My chosen ones shall outlive the work of their hands. They shall not toil to no purpose; they shall not bear children for terror, but they shall be a people blessed by the Becoming One, and their offspring shall remain with them. Before they pray, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will respond. The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and the serpent’s food shall be earth. In all My sacred mount nothing evil or vile shall be done.
—said the Becoming One.

Queeries for the text:
What new things are being created?
Where do we hear weeping and wailing?
What brings us joy?
How might the wolf and lamb graze together?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
ID: a photo from Baidax shows a dusk view of the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral on 15 April 2019.
Gospel: Luke 21:5-19
5When some of Jesus' chosen family were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, Jesus said, 6“As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

7They asked Jesus, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”

8And Jesus said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am the one!’ and, ‘The divine timey wimey is near!’ Do not go after them.
9“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.”

10Then Jesus said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and dominion against dominion; 11there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.
12“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to religious communities and incarcerate you, and you will be brought before dictators and rulers because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and siblings, by biofam and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your breath of life.

Queeries for the text:
What else is adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God?
When are stones not left upon another?
How are we led astray?
Where are the wars and insurrections?
Where are earthquakes, famines, and plagues?
Who has been handed over to religious communities and incarcerated?
How will you testify?
What words and wisdom does Jesus give?
Who is betrayed by their biofam?

What are your queeries?


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Queerying All Saints C

Suzannah Porter and Brooke McLain musically queery the RCL readings.

Who is waiting to dance with you?

How does God transform hearts?

How do you experience God in difficult times?

Where is the tension between legacies you carry and Christ's promises? 

How are we susceptible to the normalization of oppression?


River Needham, MA ThM queeries the Tanakh reading.
ID: a human brain resting in a made bed.
Tanakh: Daniel 7:1-3,--(4-14)--15-18
In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and a vision of his mind in bed; afterward he wrote down the dream. Beginning the account, Daniel related the following:
“In my vision at night, I saw the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea. Four mighty beasts different from each other emerged from the sea.
The first was like a lion but had eagles’ wings. As I looked on, its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted off the ground and set on its feet like a human and given the mind of a human. Then I saw a second, different beast, which was like a bear but raised on one side, and with three fangs in its mouth among its teeth; it was told, ‘Arise, eat much meat!’ After that, as I looked on, there was another one, like a leopard, and it had on its back four wings like those of a bird; the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it.

After that, as I looked on in the night vision, there was a fourth beast—fearsome, dreadful, and very powerful, with great iron teeth—that devoured and crushed, and stamped the remains with its feet. It was different from all the other beasts which had gone before it; and it had ten horns. While I was gazing upon these horns, a new little horn sprouted up among them; three of the older horns were uprooted to make room for it. There were eyes in this horn like those of a human, and a mouth that spoke arrogantly.

As I looked on, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took Xyr seat. Xyr garment was like glittering snow, and the hair of Xyr head was like lamb’s wool. Xyr throne was tongues of flame; its wheels were blazing fire. A river of fire streamed forth before Xym; thousands upon thousands served Xym; myriads upon myriads attended Xym; the court sat and the books were opened.

I looked on. Then, because of the arrogant words that the horn spoke, the beast was killed as I looked on; its body was destroyed and it was consigned to the flames. The dominion of the other beasts was taken away, but an extension of life was given to them for a time and season.

As I looked on, in the night vision, one like a human being came with the clouds of heaven; she reached the Ancient of Days and was presented to Xyr. Dominion, glory, and kingship were given to her; all peoples and nations of every language must serve her. Her dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and her kingship, one that shall not be destroyed.
As for me, Daniel, my spirit was disturbed within me and the vision of my mind alarmed me. I approached one of the attendants and asked her the true meaning of all this. She gave me this interpretation of the matter:
‘These great beasts, four in number mean four empires will arise out of the earth; then holy ones of the Most High will receive the empire, and will possess the empire forever—forever and ever.’

Queeries for the text:
What brought about this vision?
Who are the four empires?
What beasts are arrogant and need to be killed?
How does snow glitter?
Who was the Ancient of Days?
How was Daniel's mind alarmed?


Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the Gospel reading.
Gospel: Luke 6:20-31
20Then Jesus looked up at his chosen family and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the reign of God.
21“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
22“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Human One. 23Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

24“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
25“Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry.
“Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.
26“Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.

27“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Queeries for the text:
Where are there false binaries?
How is being harmed a blessing?!
Who excludes, reviles, and defames others in Jesus' name?
Who is rich, full, and laughing?
Who is spoken well of?
How do we bless and pray for those who harm?
What happens when you strike the other cheek?
What happens when you're naked?
What if others want you to do differently?

What are your queeries?