Sunday, January 6, 2019

Queerying Baptism of Jesus year C




Periodic queerier, River Needham, queeries the reading from the Tanakh.

Tanakh: Isaiah 43:1-7
But now thus said the Becoming One — who created you, O Jacob, who formed you, O Israel:
Fear not, for I will redeem you; I have singled you out by name, You are mine.
When you pass through water, I will be with you;
through streams, they shall not overwhelm you.
When you walk through fire, you shall not be scorched;
through flame, it shall not burn you.
For I, the Becoming One, am your God, The Holy One of Israel, your savior.
I give Egypt as a ransom for you, Ethiopia and Saba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious to me, and honored, and I love you.
I give humans in exchange for you,
and peoples in your stead.
Fear not, for I am with you:
I will bring your folk from the East,
will gather you out of the West;
I will say to the North, “Give back!”
and to the South, “Do not withhold!
Bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the end of the earth—
All who are linked to my name, whom I have created, formed, and made for my glory.

Queeries for the Text:
Who created Israel and Judah?
What are the fires and streams of today?
Where else does God offer ransoms?
Are some people worth less in God's eyes?
Where else does "I am with you" function as words of comfort? As challenge?
What is the significance of the four directions?
What does it mean to be created, formed and made for God's glory?

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Rev. Emily E. Ewing queeries the reading from the Gospel.

Gospel: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
15As the people were filled with expectation,
and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John,
whether he might be the Messiah,
16John answered all of them by saying,
“I baptize you with water;
but one who is more powerful than I is coming;
I am not worthy to untie the thong of their sandals.
This one will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
17With a winnowing fork in hand,
they will clear the threshing floor
and gather the wheat into the granary,
burning the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

21Now when all the people were baptized,
and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
the heaven was opened,
22and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my Child,
the Beloved;
with you I am well pleased.”

Queeries for the text:
What's missing? Why is it missing?  Who else is shut up in prison?
Why does the first half sound so familiar?
Does John know he's referring to Jesus?  How does John know how powerful Jesus is?
Who baptizes Jesus in this gospel?
What was Jesus' prayer after being baptized?
What did Jesus do to earn God's love and praise?
What is it like for a dove to descend?
What does God's voice sound like?
Did anything special happen during Jesus' baptism?
What do the heavens look like when they open?

What are your queeries?


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