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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.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Christian education for Sunday November 13, 2011; 22 Pentecost; Judges 4:1-7; Deborah and Barak

Nov 13, 2011 22 Pentecost
Judges 4:1-7; Deborah and Barak

Background: The book of Judges is the second book of a division of the bible often referred to as the Former Prophets. This book is not concerned with recounting history, per se; rather it is more focused on religious interpretation of history. Much of the religious conflict in Judges stems from the social conflict between the Canaanites and the tribes of Israel; partly due to past actions or inactions of the Israelites in conquering Canaan.

Theme: In this section we read about another portion of the cycle of disobedience of Israel’s leaders. We read about God’s interaction with a [temporarily] repentant Israel; the faithful actions of a prophetess; and the faithful response of a military leader to the prophetic voice of an uncommon spokesperson for God.

Questions to Ponder:
* Please skim the first 3 chapters of the book of Judges.
* Briefly summarize what has taken place in the book of Judges.
* What, if anything strikes you as out of the ordinary in this passage?
* The term was judging in reference to Deborah’s role could signify her position as a military leader not simply a person who settles disputes. How might her identification as a military leader change the message of this passage? Would the assertion of her being a military leader be supported by the passage as presented?
* What significance might there be in the tribes Deborah tells Barak to gather the army from? Is their location significant with respect to the geography of Israel and the army of Sisera?
* How might this passage support Israel’s tradition of a sacral war (the conviction that the Lord fought against its enemies as the Divine Warrior)? Why would God’s participation in this battle be important in Israel’s history?
* What is inspiring about the story of Deborah and Barak? How might their story help the long-term health of the nation of Israel?
* (Reading ahead.) What is surprising about the one who fulfills the prediction of Deborah? Why might the consummation of Deborah’s prediction be fulfilled by Jael?
* The same story appears poetically in chapter 5. Why might there be differences between the two versions? Might there be significance in the difference in the details of the poetic and prose accounts of the defeat of Sisera? Should the different accounts be gathered to make one “consistent” account?
* What implications and applications of this reading can be applied today? What message do we take away from this account for our relationship with others?

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