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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, July 8, 2013

Christian Formation for July 14 - Amos 7:7-17; Locust, Fire and Plumb lines while Amaziah complains

July 14, 2013 – 8 Pentecost
Amos 7:7-17
Locusts, Fire, and a Plumb Line
Amaziah Complains to the King
Background: The central focus of Amos is the proclamation of יהוה’s judgment against Israel because of some Israelite’s treatment of the poor. Little is known about Amos outside the book itself and it appears that Amos was not a lifelong prophet but rather a shepherd and “dresser of sycamore trees”.
Theme: Today’s reading is the third of five visions that detail Israel’s downfall and exile. The previous two visions were recanted by יהוה but the third and fourth are irrevocable condemnations of Israel and assure Israel’s downfall and exile.
Questions to Ponder:
* Briefly describe the situation in Israel: the political, social, and religious dynamics of the nation.
* Who is Amos and why might his background be important to the message he delivers to Amaziah and Jeroboam?
* What do we know about Amaziah and how is he important in the story of Jeroboam?
* What is the function of a plumb line? Supposedly, this is the only instance where the phrase “plumb line” appears in the Old Testament. What function do you think the plumb line serves in the prophet’s proclamation against Israel?
* What do you think יהוה is proclaiming when “he” states that “I will never again pass by them” in verse 8b? What is interesting about יהוהs pronouncement against the “high places of Isaac”?
* Why do you think Amaziah was especially offended by Amos’ pronouncement against Jeroboam? By what authority do you think Amaziah attempted to prohibit Amos from prophesying in Bethel (and by extension in the northern tribes of Israel)?
* How do you think Amaziah’s argument against Amos substantiates יהוה’s impeachment of the northern tribes? Who does Amaziah think is in charge of Israel and to whom does it appear he attributes the building of the temple?
* What purpose do you think the author had in mind when they phrased Amos’ response as, “I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son…”? What do you think the distinction was in identifying Amos as a herdsman as opposed to a shepherd? Do you think this is significant to the story?
* Do you think Amaziah has the authority to prohibit Amos’ prophetic works in Israel and to compel him only prophesy in Judah? Why might Amaziah believe that Amos should prophesy in Judah?
* What do you think the implication of the plumb line was in the life of the northern tribes of Israel and the life of God’s chosen people?
* Who do you think served as the plumb line in the biblical account in Amos?
* Who serves as the plumb line in our lives today?
* What is the message of hope in today’s story: for the people who had destruction pronounced against them and for us today?
* What is the application that we find in this lesson for our life and ministry?

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