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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, February 13, 2012

Christian Education for Sunday Feb. 19 - 2 Kings 2:1-12; Elijah Ascends to Heaven

February 19, 2012; Last Sunday after the Epiphany
2 Kings 2:1-12
Elijah Ascends to Heaven
Theme: This passage describes the transition of prophetic leadership in Israel from Elijah to Elisha. The transition includes Elijah’s “farewell tour” of Israel; the parting of the River Jordan for Elijah’s ceding of power to Elisha; and Elijah’s miraculous ascension to heaven.

Background: The book of 2 Kings is a continuation of the history of Israel’s kings. This is part of a section in the Old Testament that begins with Deuteronomy and concludes with Kings, often known as the Deuteronomistic History. This section of the royal history illuminates the transition of power and God’s presence with the new “chief prophet” in Israel.

Questions to Ponder
* Describe the setting for this passage; in the Old Testament and in our church year.

* What might the significance of the waypoints in Elijah and Elisha’s journey be?

* Would it be possible that the Gilgal at the beginning of the story is not the same Gilgal near the River Jordan? Why or why not?

* What, if anything, is the significance of the city Bethel? What is it’s part in Israel’s history?

* It appears that everyone knew that Elijah was preparing to leave/be taken up to heaven. Why might all the prophets, Elijah, and Elisha have known this fact?

* Why do you think Elisha kept responding to the prophetic guilds in the town by telling them to keep quiet, be silent, etc. when Elisha is told of Elijah’s departure?

* Why do you think the principals in the story maintained silence about Elijah’s departure yet kept moving towards the anticipated end?

* Why do you think Elijah went across the Jordan to transfer power to Elisha? Why do you think it was important to the story that there were no others present at the transference of power?

* Elijah and Elisha’s passage through the Jordan is reminiscent of Israel’s departure from Egypt at the Exodus. Why do you think there was this similarity?

* When the text states that Elijah was taken up in a “whirlwind” there are close connections to the descriptions of God’s presence with the Israelites throughout the preceding portion of the Hebrew Bible. What might the significance of this allusion be?

* The only other prophet who leaves without a trace is Moses. What might the significance of Elijah’s departure without a trace be?

* Some have argued over the years that there was some connection between Elijah and the Messiah (not specifically Jesus but the one who delivers Israel). Do you think this is a reasonable connection?

*What is Elisha asking for when he asks Elijah for “a double share of your spirit?” Is there anything ironic about Elisha’s request?

* What might the significance be of reading this lesson on the Last Sunday before Lent?

* What are the applications of this passage for us in our journey?

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