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, October 22, 2013

Christian Formation for Oct. 27 - Joel 2:23-32; God's Response, Promise, and Spirit Poured Out

October 27, 2013 – 23 Pentecost
Joel 2:23-32
God’s Response and Promise
God’s Spirit Poured Out
Background: The Book of Joel is the second book in the Masoretic book of the Twelve Prophets. Joel (meaning the Lord [יהוה] is God in Hebrew) is a prophet, most likely in post-exilic Israel. The book spans not only the classic prophetic works but also speaks of the apocalypse through the use of liturgy. Joel introduces the theme of restoration following the attack of the “army (of locust)” by יהוה’s hand. Joel opens the door to the theme of the Lords’ day in later works.

Theme: This passage marks the transition from God’s demand for Israel’s Lament ceremony into God’s oracles of restoration for Israel. This passage is the first and second series of oracles of restoration pronounced by God through Joel for “all the people” to hear so they may believe in God’s promise.

Questions to Ponder:
* Read Joel 2:18-32.

* What is the setting and function of the book of Joel? When do you think the book was written? Given that composition date, who is in charge politically and spiritually in Israel?

* What does the imagery of the locust attacking or eating all the crops conjure for you? What might the imagery of the locust been a reminder of for the Israelites?

* How might this passage have shaped the development of the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost found in the New Testament?

* Do you think the message of salvation and reconciliation, offered in verses 28 and 29, is a message of universal salvation? How is this message of salvation understood in Christian terms?

* What might the differences in the visionary methods; prophesy, dreams, and visions; listed in verse 28?

* The declaration in verse 32, “Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved…” seems absolute (if you ask you will be saved). How does this perception agree or disagree with other Scripture and your experience?

* Why might the allusion to the Exodus appear in verses 30 and 31? Do you think Joel is portraying this vision as the “new Exodus” – God’s deliverance from the world on the Lord’s Day?

* Verse 32 seems to say that there will be other survivors in Jerusalem alongside those who have been called by God. What are your thoughts about this possibility? Might there be some who survive the “coming of the unholy army [the army of locust]” who aren’t numbered among the chosen ones of God?

* What might have been challenging to the Israelites in Joel’s day and for the early Christians?

* How might this passage shape the works and outlook of the believers?

* How might this passage be translated into God’s message of redemption in our present society and social structure?

* How are you challenged by God through this passage?

* What is the message of hope we (at St. John’s) share from this passage?

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