828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
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, January 30, 2012

Christian Education for February 5, 2012 - Isaiah 40:21-31

February 5, 2012; 5th Sunday after the Epiphany
Isaiah 40:21-31
God's People are Comforted

Theme: In this section of Second Isaiah God proclaims comfort for Israel in exile. In the opening verses Isaiah 40, the prophet relates God’s saving word. In these verses the prophet relates God’s promise of strength for his exhausted nation; strength for those who are willing to let God’s plan unfold.

Background: Israel has been in exile in Babylon for years and has paid the price for their sinfulness. The message of Second Isaiah takes the tradition of Israel and interprets that tradition to the exiles then urges them to act. The prophet uses exodus-like imagery to reinforce God’s preeminent place in creation.

Questions to Ponder
* Please review Isaiah 40:1-20 for context and background.

* What is the setting for this passage? What has happened in Israel’s recent past and what promises have been made to Israel regarding their future?

* In verse 25 the writer relates the question, “To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal?” Who do you think is asking the question? Why might this question be asked in this context?

* Why might God question Israel, “to whom will you compare me?” Do you think God believes the Israelites have forgotten his action in their lives?

* Who or what are “these” that are referred to in verse 26 (…who created these?)? What might God’s question be referring to?

* It can be argued that God was had been reminded by the Israelites that idol did not really exist thus the gods made by humans are not real. Why would God “need” to point this fact out to the Israelites?

* What gods may have been created in Israel’s time? Do you think we have the same issues in our time? What gods are created in our days (if we create gods)?

* What might have caused the Israelites to say that “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God?”

* For what reason might God have replied “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.”?

* What does it mean to you when God says “his understanding is unsearchable.”?

* How might a person’s strength be renewed by waiting for the Lord?

* What do you consider comforting about God’s assurance that his way is unsearchable and that those who wait for the Lord will be renewed?

* What does this passage mean to us today at St. John’s? What does it mean to us members of the Episcopal Church? What does it mean to us as Christians?

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