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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Christian Formation Lesson for Feb. 17 - Deuteronomy 26:1-11; First Fruits and Tithes

Christian Formation Lesson
February 17, 2013 – 1Lent
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
First Fruits and Tithes
Background: The portion of Deuteronomy from Chapter 12 to 26 can be viewed as the recounting of the Law that was given during the Exodus. Today’s passage is the conclusion of the revisited law and the actions required of the people that are supposed to help them remember and be faithful to the law. This passage is one of the “book end” worship events that are tied to the re-presentation of the law.
Theme: All things come from God and because of God’s faithful remembrance of humanity, we are asked to give from our bounty to continue God’s work. The guidelines for “payments” to God were established in the Law at Sinai but might require a reinterpretation to make them relevant for the present time. Today’s reading provides the act of worship that should remind Israel of its heritage.
Questions to Ponder:
* Please read Deuteronomy 26:1-11.
* Briefly describe the setting for this passage: social, religious, political, and geographic.
* What do the following terms mean to you: first fruits, tithes, “a Wandering Aramean”?
* What is your understanding of the connection of “first fruits” to “the tithe”?
* What are the three pilgrimage festivals, of which one is the Festival of First Fruits?
* At what time do you think the festival of the First Fruits occurs?
* What is the principal to the Israelites regarding the festival of the First Fruits?
* What do you consider as the tone for this passage?
* Describe the passage in your own words.
* How might this passage tie together deliverance, the Promise Land, the sanctuary, gifts to the priests, and concern for the marginalized in Israel?
* What might the significance be that two offerings are made in this passage, first by the priest and second by the people?
* What might the function of the first fruits be, especially in light of the tithe?
* When the farmer/Israelite goes to the priest in verse 3 the lay person states “I [the lay person] declare to the Lord your God…” Do you think the priest’s God was different than the lay person’s God? Why might the lay person phrase their statement like they do?
* What affirmation do you think is being made by the people when they come to give their first fruits and, later, their tithes?
* What is the message Moses is conveying to the Israelites during their pilgrimage in the desert?
* What might the first fruits that Christians offer to God be, especially when you consider our society is not an agrarian society?
* What is the message of hope for the Israelites provided by this passage?
* What is the message of hope for us today?
* What are the practical applications of this passage for us at St. John’s?

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