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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, November 19, 2012

Christian Formation for November 25 - 2 Samuel 23:1-7; The Last Words of David

Nov 25, 2012, Last Pentecost
2 Samuel 23:1-7
The Last Words of David
Background: The books of Samuel detail the origins of kingship in Israel and recount the reigns of Saul and David. In Second Samuel we hear the story of God and Israel. This book recounts Israel’s nationhood in the promise land and its attempt to adapt religious and political institutions to changing circumstances.
Theme: This chapter tells the “last words of David” to Israel. In it we hear the poetic recounting of David’s prominence as a leader and mouthpiece (oracle) for God. The author recounts God’s promise to be faithful to David and his line, if they are faithful to God.
Questions to Ponder
* Please read all of 2 Samuel 23:1-7. Skim Chapter 22 for context and an example of David’s thanksgiving to God.
* Describe the setting of this passage: who is leading Israel, what the political structure is in the land, how the religious order is upheld and maintained.
* How might David be different than the remainder of the priests (judges or leaders) in Israel’s history?
* David declares the poem that follows as “an oracle of David.” How does this claim compare with the norm in ancient Israel? From whom did oracles typically proceed? What significance might David’s last words being identified as an oracle imply?
* In verse 2, it has been claimed the phrase was added after the fact. Why might an editor add that statement to the oracle?
* In the second part of verse 3 and verse 4, David recounts God’s assurance that one who rules over people justly will shine God’s light on the world. Given what we know about David’s previous failures and shortfalls, how might David make this claim?
* It appears David makes a rhetorical statement, poses a rhetorical question, about his house ruling justly for God. Given the sinfulness and self-centeredness of David’s sons, how might he make the claim of being a just ruler? For instance, Solomon was rather corrupt when looking back at his rule.
* What might David’s claim in verse 5 be re-asserting?
* How might David’s claim that God “will cause to prosper all my help and my desire” be detrimental to the practice of Judaism? How might this claim be detrimental to the practice of Christianity too?
* David has been honored as God’s chosen king and by the author’s account, has continued to be the chosen one even after David sinned and faltered, as well as his sons following him. How might David make that claim in this oracle? How can David’s claim be a source of good news for us?
* Given we know David was fallible and willfully sinful, what hope do we have considering our “standing” as one of God’s creatures but not specifically as God’s anointed one?
* How might this message be hope-filled for Israel; especially considering they were in the process of being overrun and ruled by continuingly corrupt leaders?
* How would Israel’s deportation shake the oracle presented by David?
* What is our good news in this passage?
* What does this passage challenge us to do in our society?

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