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.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Christian Formation outline for Sep. 8 - Jeremiah 18:1-11; The Potter and the Clay

September 8, 2013 – 16 Pentecost
Jeremiah 18:1-11
The Potter and the Clay
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 over the practice of temple worship – leading to confrontation with those in charge of Israel’s religious landscape.
Theme: This narrative is in the middle of a section of Jeremiah that lays out God’s complaint against Israel. Jeremiah shares a familiar image, that of a potter, in the context of Israel’s life as faithful servants of God. This narrative highlights God’s creative nature, either for good or for ill, often depending on the recipient’s actions in relationship with God. Often troubling in this passage is the intimation that God changes God’s mind in response to the people’s action bringing God’s constancy into question at first blush.
Questions to Ponder:
* Read Jeremiah 18:1-11. In addition, read Jeremiah 29:10-14 for context.
* Briefly describe the situation in Israel: the political, social, and religious dynamics of the nation.
* For what reason might the image of a potter be chosen for this specific illustration? What do you think the role of the potter was in Jewish society in the period before Christ?
* How might a potter create pottery? How might the differences in the manner of creating pottery, especially in Old Testament times, be a good analogy for God’s creative action?
* What might cause a potter to destroy their creation? How might that cause be an example of Israel’s life in relationship with God?
* How is God’s commentary in verses 7-10 descriptive of Israel’s life in community with God?
* Do you think God truly changes his mind as described in verses 8 and 10? Why or why not?
* An alternative translation of the phrase “changed his mind”, when referring to God dealing with Israel, is “relented”. How might the different translation change the impact of the statement?
* How could you explain the fact Jeremiah says that God “changed his mind” because, to be God means God doesn’t change?
* How might you explain God “shaping evil” and “devising a plan” against Israel?
* How might this passage fit into the bigger picture of Jeremiah? How might this passage fit into the stories of the prophets in the Old Testament? How might this passage fit into the growth of the Nation of Israel?
* What is the good news detailed in this passage to the Israelites who were oppressed and ultimately will go into exile in Babylon?
* How does this passage fit into your understanding of God and God’s love for humanity?
* How are we invited to share this passage with our parish and culture?

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