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, February 27, 2012

Christian Education for Sunday March 4, 2012: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

March 4, 2012; 2nd Sunday of Lent
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
The Sign of the Covenant

Theme: Today we read an account of the second major covenant between God and humanity. In this covenant God promises to establish Abram’s line forever and in the process renames him to Abraham. God commands Abraham to establish a sign to signify the covenant and remind him and all his descendents of their special favor with God.

Background: This passage falls near the beginning of a section of Genesis subtitled the Abraham Cycle. This cycle is marked by divine covenant, family conflict, and promises of God’s providence – often in the face of overwhelming odds. Prior to this chapter God’s covenant with Abram was recounted in chapter 15 along with the birth of Ishmael while this version is followed by the birth of Isaac.

Questions to Ponder

* Please read Genesis 15:1-21 to compare to this passage.

* Briefly describe the setting of this passage: the time and place in Israel’s history; the principle characters in the story; and the status of God’s creation.

* What are some of the commonalities between chapter 15 and chapter 17? Why might there be two accounts of the same occurrence in Abram’s life?

* Why would Abram and Sarai’s ages be significant enough to have them specifically mentioned in the text?

* What is different between this covenant and the covenant made between God and Noah (chapter 8)? Why might there be the difference between the covenants?

* Why might God describe ‘himself’ as “I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]” to Abram? How is this like the opening of the previous recounting of the Abraham covenant?

* Why would God change Abram and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah? What is the significance of a name in the time of the Patriarchs?

* What are the principles in the covenant: God’s promised action for Abram and Abram’s required action to secure God’s promise?

* In this passage we see another command from God that the Patriarch will “be fruitful and many nations will be made from you.” How is this statement reminiscent of the previous occurrences (Creation and Noah)?

* It can be argued that the unique portions of a covenant are important to its meaning. What are the unique items in this covenant?

* What is the sign that God demands of Abram to signify Abram’s acceptance of the covenant?

* Why might the Lectionary writers pick this passage for the Second Sunday in Lent?

* What are the applications of this passage to us? In our Lenten journey? In our life in our community? As faithful witnesses of Christ?

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