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, July 15, 2013

Christian Formation for Sunday July 21 - Amos 8:1-12; The Basket of Fruit

July 21, 2013 – 9 Pentecost
Amos 8:1-12
The Basket of Fruit
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 fourth of five visions that detail Israel’s downfall and exile. The first two visions were recanted by יהוה while the third and fourth are irrevocable condemnations of Israel and assure Israel’s downfall and exile. The fourth continues to outline the rationale for יהוה’s expulsion of Israel.
Questions to Ponder:
* Briefly describe the situation in Israel: the political, social, and religious dynamics of the nation.
* It may be helpful to glance at Numbers 29:6, Leviticus 19:35-36, and Deuteronomy 25:13-16 for context in today’s reading.
* What might be the implication of a basket of ripe summer fruit with regard to Amos’ prophesy against Israel and their expectant downfall?
* With what might the songs of the temple be associated? How would it be tragic if those songs turned to wailings?
* What is most troubling in the life of Israel regarding the trampling of the needy and the ruin of the poor of the land in verse 4?
* What is the significance of “the new moon” and the sabbath in verse 5? Why are those times and/or dates set aside to not conduct business?
* For what reason might shady business practices be the source of contempt from יהוה against Israel?
* What do you find ironic about the phrase “the pride of Jacob” in verse 7? To what or to whom does that phrase normally refer? What else might the author be referring to with that phrase in this instance?
* What might the significance be regarding the solar eclipse and the presence of sackcloth and baldness?
* What is interesting about the type of famine God pronounces on the Israelites? What might the significance be when God says the famine will be “from the hearing of the words of the Lord”?
* Some might claim that part of the issue in the contemporary Church is the lack of clear hearing of the words of the Lord. Do you think this is the case for our Church today? How might that not be the case?
* What practices do we have in our world today that is tantamount to the presence of the bad business practices spoken against in today’s text?
* 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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