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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, January 9, 2012

Christian education for Sunday January 15, 2012; 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany; 1 Samuel 3:1-20; Samuel's Calling and Prophetic Activity

Jan 15, 2012; 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany
1 Samuel 3:1-20
Samuel’s Calling and Prophetic Activity
Theme: Samuel is identified as the new prophet in place of the failing Judge Eli. Samuel has been identified by the prophets as a chosen one of God; Eli has failed to faithfully dispatch the responsibilities of Priest – specifically by controlling his sons.

Background: The books of Samuel describe the origin of kingship in Israel. The first portion of Samuel provides the transition between the period of the judges and the monarchy. Samuel also helps define the role of the prophet as priest, seer, war leader, and judge.

Questions to Ponder
* Briefly, what is the situation in Israel at the time of Eli and Samuel? How is the social situation reflected in this passage?
* What are the roles of Eli and Samuel at the outset of this passage? How do those roles change by God’s interaction with Eli and Samuel?
* Why might there be the contrasting description of light and dark; and sight and vision in verses 2 and 3?
* How might the writer be reinforcing Eli’s fall from grace by his physical description? How might the writer be reinforcing Samuel’s growing selection as leader by his description?
* Why might “[God’s] word” be rare and “visions” be not widespread in those days?
* Why might Samuel be laying in the temple with the “light of God” burning?
* What do you find interesting about God’s interaction with Samuel in the three instances related in verses 4 through 10?
* Why might Samuel think that Eli was calling him as opposed to God?
* What might the significance of Samuel’s response “Here I am” to both Eli and God be? Who else responds in this manner to God’s call?
* Why might Eli tell Samuel to lie down if he is called again by the “unknown voice”?
* Why might God call Samuel a different number of times in each of the three call narratives?
* Why might God have stood with Samuel when he called Samuel the third time?
* What might the significance of the repeated calls be for the Israelites? For us today?
* Do you think it is likely that Eli could have carried out his threat to “call down a like punishment from God” on Samuel?
* Why might Samuel have told Eli all the details of God’s condemnation on him?
* What might it mean to say that “none of his [Samuel’s] words fell to the ground” as Samuel grew in God’s presence?
* How does this passage provide comfort for us today? How is this passage a message of hope for our society in a time where God seems to be missing or far away?
* What applications can we draw from this passage for us today?

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