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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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Christian education for Sunday January 15, 2012; 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany; Jonah 3:1-10; The Conversion of Nineveh

Jonah 3:1-10 Conversion of Nineveh

Theme: Nineveh is an enormous Gentile city that is renowned for its sinfulness; not unlike Sodom and Gomorrah. Jonah is continuing on his mission to declare God’s wrath and proclaim God’s condemnation to Nineveh. Jonah finally responds favorably to God’s second call directing him to go to Nineveh.

Background: Jonah exhibits xenophobic tendencies and has been hesitant to respond to God’s call. He has ignored God’s call and paid the price for his sin by spending 3 days in the belly of the leviathan. The book of Jonah was most likely written in the late 6th century BCE and employs satirical rhetoric to get its point across to readers. The dating of the text to post-exile times provides the opportunity to interpret the text in multiple ways.

Questions to Ponder
* Please read the additional text, verses 6-9.
* What is the situation surrounding this text? What events have taken place in Israel’s history? What has taken place in Jonah’s history?
* Why might God be angry with Nineveh, angry enough to destroy the city?
* Do you think God needed Jonah to proclaim his message to the Ninevites? Why or why not?
* Why might Jonah have responded favorably to God’s second command to go to Nineveh?
* Do you think Jonah’s response this second time is consistent with his response to God’s first call? Why or why not?
* Do you think Jonah truly had a change of heart or was he simply fearful of the potential ramification of his choice to ignore God once again?
* How probable do you think it was that Nineveh was described as “three days’ walk across” in verse 3?
* Why might Jonah have shortened God’s oracle to Nineveh (Jonah 1:2)?
* How does Nineveh’s response to Jonah impact us today?
* What is ironic about Nineveh’s response to Jonah’s oracle?
* Why would it be important for every person and animal to sit in sackcloth and ashes? Do you believe the animals were clothed in sackcloth and ashes?
* Why might the king in Nineveh have declared the whole city would fast?
* Do you think God changed God’s mind when the Ninevites repented and returned to God?
* What do you find troubling about God being able to change God’s mind while Jonah was not able to change his mind?
* What is the application of this message for us today?

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