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.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christian Formation for Sunday Dec. 9 - Malachi 3:1-4; The Coming Messenger

Dec 9, 2012, Advent 2
Malachi 3:1-4
The Coming Messenger
Background: The book of Malachi is found in the Book of the Twelve, a compilation of the 12 Minor Prophets in the Old Testament. Malachi is unique because it is not named for a specific prophet but is called “my messenger” (Hebrew: mal’ aki [מַלְאָכִי]). Along with the anonymous author the book is not specifically dated. However, the book appears to be a single unit with the exception of the opening verse and the closing verses.
Theme: This passage announces a coming messenger(s) who will prepare for God’s return. The messenger will bring a message demanding sanctification and return to right behaviors by Israel, socially, religiously, and communally. The messenger reminds the Israelites to remember their covenant relationship with God.
Questions to Ponder
* Please skim all of Malachi to develop a sense of context, setting, and overall message of the book.
* Briefly describe the social, political, and religious setting of the text. Who might be “in charge” of running Israel’s government and their religious practices?
* When do you think this book was written, less the date and more the historical timing (pre- or post-exile, pre- or post-temple, etc.)?
* What do you think the tone of the book is? What might Malachi’s intent be in conveying the message of God to his society?
* In the opening verse (3:1), who do you think is speaking? Is it God speaking through the messenger or prophet? Or might it be the messenger’s words?
* How many messengers do you think are spoken about in this passage?
* Who might the messenger(s) be? If there are two spoken of, do you think a single person could fulfill both roles?
* When the messenger says the people will be unable to stand when the messenger of the covenant comes (3:2) to what might they be referring?
* If there are two messengers described in the text, what are the functions of the different messengers? One could argue there is the messenger described starting in verse 1 and the messenger of the covenant described starting in verse 2.
* What might the purpose of the refiner’s fire and fullers’ soap be? Why might that be important in Israel’s current setting (in the book)?
* How do you imagine the Levites’ role has changed from the outset to the proscription of the messenger? Why do you think their role has changed?
* What do you think the overall message of the book is? What do you think the messenger is telling the Israelites about their practice and adherence to the covenant?
* How does this passage shape our understanding of God’s relationship with Israel? How is this passage a story of good news for the Israelites?
* How does this passage inform our current life as worshiping Christians?
* What applications can we draw from this passage?

No comments:

Post a Comment