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Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Christian Education class October 9, 2011; 17 Pentecost - Exodus 32:1-14, The Golden Calf

Exodus 32:1-14The Golden Calf

Theme: The Book of Exodus continues the story of the growth of life of the patriarchs. This portion of Exodus is the recording of the Sinaitic Covenant. This passage takes place in the sojourn in the desert and has been identified as the wilderness sanctuary period.

Background: After God has given the commandments to Israel Moses goes onto the holy mountain to receive the written words that will be maintained for posterity. These commandments will ultimately be placed in the tabernacle and temple. In today’s reading we read the story of Israel’s rejection of Moses and Yahweh; their attack on Aaron as Moses’ representative; and Moses’ intercession for Israel’s salvation.

Questions to Ponder
* What has happened between the giving of the 10 Commandments and today’s reading? Do the stories that appear between chapter 20 and 32 seem out of place?
* Why is the creation of the “Golden Calf” so angering to God?
* Why might Israel have lost faith in Moses during his absence on the mountain?
* An alternate reading of the passage “…around Aaron…” in verse 1 may be “… against Aaron…” what difference would the choice of prepositions make in the meaning of the passage?
* How is Aaron’s portrayal different here as compared with other stories in Exodus? Why might Aaron be portrayed in this light against the previous sections of Exodus?
* Compare and contrast the selection of the pronoun “your” by Aaron in verse 4, God in verse 7, Moses in 11. How are they alike; how are they different; what is implied by the different attribution regarding the relationship of the people to God?
* How does Moses appeal to God to save Israel from their fate? Does it seem reasonable that Moses could strike a bargain like that with God; why or why not?
* Do you think God changes his mind? Is that consistent with your understanding of God; why or why not?
* Can you think of a better explanation about why God “changed his mind” and agreed to the proposal by Moses?
* Why might the record of Moses portray him in a favorable light even when he has been culpable for Israel’s actions in the past?
* What are the implications of this passage for us today?

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