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, March 5, 2012

Christian Formation for Sunday March 11 - 3rd Sunday in Lent; Exodus 20:1-17; The Ten Commandments

March 11, 2012; 3rd Sunday of Lent
Exodus 20:1-17
The Ten Commandments

Theme: This passage in Exodus outlines the rules of conduct for the Israelites. These rules were given to Moses by God, recorded by God on the Tablets, and enshrined in the Ark of the Covenant. These rules may be considered the basic requirements of the covenant between Israel and Yahweh (יהוה) with all other covenants centered on the relationship established here.

Background: Israel has been delivered from enslavement in Egypt and has returned to the mountain to worship God. Moses has gone up onto the mountain to receive the covenant from God. This passage falls in the section of Exodus subtitled The Encampment at Sinai which focuses on reestablishing the relationship between God and God’s chosen people.

Questions to Ponder

* What is the social, political, and religious setting of this passage?

* What do you find striking or interesting about this group of 10 Commandments?

* With a couple exceptions, these rules or prohibitions do not specifically identify punishment for failing to keep the commandment. Why might that be the case?

* Interestingly, most of the commandments listed will be discussed in greater detail later in the Pentateuch, why might that be the case with these considering this is the primary covenant between God and humanity following enslavement in Egypt?

* Do you think there is a logical division in the commandments, i.e., do some refer to one aspect of our relationship within the community of believers and another refers to a different aspect of our relationship? If so, where is the division and what do the sections refer to?

* It could be said that the first four Commandments don’t specifically identify a punishment although one could be implied, yet the fifth Commandment (honor your father and mother) identifies a blessing for keeping that Commandment. Why would this Commandment and the blessing be framed in a different light than the others?

* Considering the layout of the Commandments, do you think it would be possible to violate one Commandment and still consider yourself maintaining the Covenant? Why or why not?

* What would the punishment be for each of the individual Commandments? Why might the punishments be different?

* The 10 Commandments can be considered a framework for how we remain in relationship within the community of believers; how might these Commandments shed light on the communal relationship in Old Testament times, in New Testament times, and today?

* Considering these Commandments may have been handed down multiple 1,000s of years ago, how can we apply them to our life as Christians today?

* Why do you think this passage is read on the 3 Sunday in Lent?

* What applications might this passage have for our life in church, in our communities, in our Diocese, and in our world?

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