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.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Christian Formation for Sunday March 17 - Isaiah 43:14-21; Restoration and Protection Promised

March 17, 2013 – 5 Lent
Isaiah 43:14-21
Restoration and Protection Promised
Background: This portion of the prophet Isaiah falls within what is commonly known as Second Isaiah. This portion is most likely composed immediately before the fall of Babylon to Cyrus of Persia. Isaiah serves as a reminder that God will remember God’s people and will deliver them from their oppressors in God’s time.
Theme: An overarching theme in Second Isaiah is the significance of historical events in God’s plan – one that extends from creation to redemption. There are markers of that theme in the reading for today. The prophet points out how God has been in control of Israel’s situation from before the Exodus from Egypt through their current exile in Babylon.
Questions to Ponder:
* Please read Isaiah 43:14-21, adding verses 14 and 15 to the Lectionary assignment.
* Briefly describe the setting of this passage.
* What do you think the principal issue the prophet (or the writer) was addressing in this passage?
* In verse 15 the writer “piles on” numerous adjectives/honorifics for God. Why do you think that is the case?
* Also in verse 15, the writer lists God as King (note the starting capital letter); what might the significance of that designation be?
* In verses 18 through 19a, what might the old and new things be that Isaiah is comparing? What do you think the comparison of the old and the new is supposed to do in the life of the Israelites?
* In verses 19b through 21, how might this portion of the passage recall the 40 year journey in the Wilderness? Why might the recollection of the Wilderness journey be important in the present day (of the writer)?
* What should the recollection of the Wilderness journey and God’s presence spark in the Israelites, both while in Babylon and later, once they return to Israel?
* What might the significance of naming God (literally “the Holy One” in the text) as Redeemer when the prophet is speaking to Israel about the future actions being prophesied?
* What are some of the reminders for the Israelites about their standing as God’s chosen people in today’s text?
* How might the message in today’s portion of the book Isaiah a promise of hope and restoration to Israel in exile?
* How might the message be one of good news to first century Christians? Is the message of good news different for twenty-first century Christians?
* What applications and challenges does this passage provide for us today, at St. John’s, in the Christian Church, and in an increasingly pluralistic (multi-faith) world?

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