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, January 2, 2013

Christian Formation for Sunday Jan. 6, 2013 - Isaiah 60:1-7; The Ingathering of the Dispersed

January 6, 2013 - Epiphany
Isaiah 60:1-7
The Ingathering of the Dispersed
Background: This selection comes from a portion of the book of Isaiah commonly referred to as Third Isaiah which spans from chapter 56 to 66. Third Isaiah was most likely delivered in Jerusalem to a mixed community of residents and those who had returned from exile in Babylon; most likely in the period 538-515 BCE. Today’s reading may be best summed up as a proclamation of deliverance and the glorification of Zion.
Theme: Isaiah appears to be describing the return of Israel and the repopulation of Israel by the rightful inhabitants. Within this passage, Isaiah identifies many of the nations that surround Israel and how they will interact with Israel given the Israelite’s status as God’s chosen people.
Questions to Ponder
* Please read the additional verse, Isaiah 60:1-7.
* Briefly identify the setting for this passage: what is the social, political, and religious landscape in Israel that shapes this passage.
* Where else is the “darkness and light” motif prominent in the Old Testament? Where else does the “darkness and light” motif carry forward into the New Testament?
* Of whom do you think Isaiah was speaking when he said “your light has come”? To whom do you think Isaiah was speaking?
* In Isaiah’s time, what do you think the “glory of the Lord” that had risen was? Christians might rightly claim that the glory of the Lord spoken about is Christ, yet more than 500 years would pass before Christ’s appearance; do you think Isaiah was speaking of Christ or of some other person who would be the messiah (the one who delivers) for the Israelites?
* Do you think Isaiah was declaring that the light had come strictly for the Israelites?
* Where else, besides “over the people” might God’s light be shining in Isaiah’s time?
* Although God had told Israel to remain pure and to not let others who weren’t like them into their country in the Torah, this passage seems to say that people and nations will come to Israel and that those coming to Israel should be welcomed openly. Do you think God is telling Israel to accept all outsiders into their faith? How might Israel’s acceptance of others as converts be problematic for Israel, especially given their history?
* Why might Isaiah say that sons would come after the people, specifically: “your sons shall come from far away and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms”?
* How might the movement of Israel’s children from elsewhere back to Israel be important to the Israelites of Isaiah’s time?
* What might the significance of the nations listed in verses 6 and 7 be? Who are those nations listed in those two verses?
* What might the message of good news be for the Israelites?
* What is the message of good news for us today?
* How might we apply the tenets of this passage in our life and ministry?

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