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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, December 17, 2012

Christian Formation for Sunday Dec 23; Micah 5:2-5a; The Ruler from Bethlehem

Dec 23, 2012, 4 Advent
Micah 5:2-5a
The Ruler from Bethlehem
Background: The prophet Micah is the sixth of the 12 Minor Prophets. It is believed he was a contemporary of Isaiah of Jerusalem (the person the book of Isaiah is attributed to). Micah was from a small village near Jerusalem and was most likely prophesying near the fall of the northern tribes to Assyria. Yet with what is known about Micah there are few records that identify who Micah was.
Theme: Micah is another of the prophets who provide oracles of both judgment and hope; the early portion of the book is dedicated to oracles of judgment while chapters 4 and 5 are oracles of hope. Micah brings a different perspective to the prophet due in large part to his upbringing in a rural setting. Many of his oracles are shaped by his upbringing and his life among the common people in Judah.
Questions to Ponder
* Skim the entire book of Micah for context and tone.
* Where are Ephrathah, Judah, and Bethlehem?
* What is the setting of the book of Micah: what is the social, religious, and political state in Israel?
* How might Micah’s rural heritage provide a different lens through which Israel is judged? How might his heritage be contrasting or concurrent with the “typical” prophet in Israel’s history?
* Why might it be important for Israel to have a prophet from outside the norm of other prophetic voices in Israel?
* Who might the prophet be speaking of when they say “…one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old…”?
* What was the significance of the village of Bethlehem in the Old Testament? How did Bethlehem come to prominence in New Testament times?
* In verse 5a, the prophet tells of “the ruler who will be great to the ends of the earth and shall be the one of peace.” Christians attribute this saying to Jesus and his ministry. How does the image presented here compare with the image of Jesus from the New Testament?
* Of whom do you think the prophet is speaking?
* Given the ongoing crisis in Israel at the time of this text, how would this oracle be one of hope for the Jews?
* How might this passage affect our Advent journey of preparation for Christ’s birth at Christmas?
* What message does this passage have for society in the 21st century?
* What is the application of this passage for us in our lives in the 21st century United States?

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