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, August 12, 2013

Christian Formation for AUgust 18 - The Song of the Unfruitful Vineyard

August 18, 2013 – 13 Pentecost
Isaiah 5:1-7
The Song of the Unfruitful Vineyard
Background: The book of Isaiah is one of the prominent texts for both Jew and Christian. Isaiah is a prophet from Judah speaking to the entire nation of Israel. This passage is the opening section of a portion of the book commonly referred to as First Isaiah, which includes the first 39 chapters of Isaiah. The prophet served during the reign of four Judean kings.
Theme: The prophet relates God’s anger and displeasure with the chosen people of Judah. The prophet relates the relationship between God and Judah symbolically as landowner and vineyard. While highly poetic and metaphorical at the outset the prophesy ends with a very direct and harsh judgment of the life and practice of God’s chosen people.
Questions to Ponder:
* Briefly describe the situation in Israel: the political, social, and religious dynamics of the nation.
* Who do you think is speaking at the outset of verse 1? How might the focus of the passage change as the speaker changes?
* In verse 1, who do you think “my beloved” is?
* For what reason would the landowner build a watch tower in the middle of their vineyard? What might the watchmen/women be watching for?
* Why do you think there is a negative comparison between grapes and wild grapes? What would the issue be with wild grapes in this situation? What distinguishes wild grapes from cultivated grapes?
* Assuming God is the one speaking, why might God destroy and completely obliterate the grapes in the vineyard (presumably Judah/Israel)?
* In verse 3, it appears God is asking Judah to judge between God and the work of God’s hand (the development of the vineyard). Do you think God wants Judah to judge in that manner? What might God be asking Judah to do as they judge (essentially themselves)?
* In verses 5 and 6, God continues with a pronouncement of utter destruction of Judah for their inability to produce good fruit. Do you think it was God’s intent to utterly destroy Judah forever or simply for a time? Why or why not?
* Verse 7 is direct and it appears more direct than “normal” in the prophets. How does this directness reflect God’s relationship with Judah and Israel? Do you think God’s directness is warranted?
* What do you think God is comparing with the contrasting pairs of responses in verse 7b?
* What do you think the point of the prophet’s pronouncement is for the nation of Israel?
* How is the pronouncement good news in that time?
* How is the pronouncement good news in our time?
* What applications can we draw from this passage?

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