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, September 16, 2013

Christian Formation for September 22 - Jeremiah 8:18-9:1; The Prophet Mourns for the People

September 22, 2013 – 18 Pentecost
Jeremiah 8:18—9:1
The Prophet Mourns for the People
Background: The book of Jeremiah is fairly unique as it provides commentary and criticism of the Israelites during two periods of subjugation interspersed with a period of religious reform. Jeremiah is a descendent of the Levitical priestly line and was a descendant of Abiathar. Jeremiah was a supporter of adherence to the law and covenant relationship more than the practice of temple worship – leading to confrontation with those in charge of Israel’s religious landscape.

Theme: This narrative is a portion of Jeremiah’s description of God’s accusation against Israel. Jeremiah focuses on the attack from the north and the ultimate judgment being meted against the Israelites based on their apostasy. Jeremiah describes the completeness of God’s desolation of Israel and how the Israelites have lost sight of God and God’s providence.

Questions to Ponder:
* Read Jeremiah 8:18—9:1.
* Describe the passage to include the source of the words, the state of affairs of Israel, and the imagery of the vision.
* For what reason might the prophet be mournful in verse 18? On the one hand, Israel is reaping their just reward in the punishment meted by God but the punishment is levied against God’s chosen people.
* Who might the “poor people” Jeremiah names in verse 19 be? Why might the poor people ask the two questions in verse 19b?
* What do you think the distinction between “the Lord” and “her King” might be? How do you think Israel has lost sight of the Lord and their King?
* Who do you think pronounced the statement in the parentheses? What might the point of that question be?
* For what reason might the harvest be a symbol of Israel’s salvation? What might have given rise to the statement made in verse 20?
* Why might the prophet specifically hurt for the “poor people” in verse 21? Do you think Jeremiah is mourning the entire nation of Israel? Why or why not?
* Do you think verse 22 is merely a rhetorical question or is God (or the prophet) demanding an answer? What might the answer be to the questions about balm and physicians in Gilead?
* Who do you think asks the counter-question in verse 22b? Why do you think the health of Israel had not been restored?
* What symbolism do you think is conveyed in verse 9:1? To what or whom might the image of tears and springs of water refer to?
* Some might argue that a contributing factor to the pronouncement is the impact of a drought and famine. Might that be a plausible explanation? What difference might that make in our interpretation of this passage?
* What is the message of life with God in this passage?
* How do we bring this message from the hypothetical to the practical in the 21st century in Suffolk?
* How are we challenged to share this passage as good news?

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