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, November 26, 2013

Christian Formation for Dec. 1 - Isaian 2:1-5; The Future House of God and Judgment against Arrogance

Dec 1, 2013 – 1 Advent
Isaiah 2:1-5
The Future House of God
Judgment Pronounced on Arrogance

Background: The first 39 chapters of Isaiah are considered a unit, typically referred to as First Isaiah. In this section Isaiah prophesies against the Israelites and lays out God’s complaint against God’s chosen people. The first five chapters primarily contain oracles or visions against the Israelites. In this, the prophet sets the stage for coming judgment against the people of Israel.

Theme: Chapter 2 begins with a promise oracle from God delivered through Isaiah. In this passage we can see the foundation of God’s continued relationship with Israel, even when they are no longer in Israel. In this passage, God assures the people that God will restore Jerusalem to its rightful position “in days to come.”

Questions to Ponder:
* Read Isaiah 2:1-5.
* Briefly describe the political, social, and religious situation in Israel for this passage. To whom do you think the prophet speaking in this passage?
* In the first verse the author declares the coming oracle is “the word Isaiah saw…” What do you think the writer was trying to infer from this apparently contradictory statement?
* In verse 2 we see the return of the “in days to come…” or “the days are surely coming…” oracle. For what reason do you believe the writer chose to not be more specific in the timing of the oracle? Why might God have provided the oracle in such an open ended manner?
* Some may claim that verse 3 implies that “the mountain of the Lord” is the only place to truly receive God’s instruction. Do you think that is the case – is God saying that Jerusalem is the only place to truly know about God?
* What problems may be caused by a belief that Mount Zion (or some other specific place) is the only place to truly learn God’s story?
* What do you think “God’s ways and God’s paths” are? How are we taught God’s ways and paths?
* By what standard do you think God will judge the people? How might one find the standard that God demands us to aim for?
* If Jerusalem and Israel are literally the standard for behavior and relationship with God how might we, 2,600 years later truly know the standard? If Israel and Jerusalem are not the standard then what is?
* Near the end of the oracle the prophet describes changing implements of war into farming implements. Where else is that imagery or its obverse found in Scripture?
* What might it mean to say that our war making capability will become a farming/growing capability? What might the farming implements be for in the Christian context?
* Knowing “the rest of the story” how do we translate or make this passage relevant for our life and ministry?
* Why might this passage be offered on the first Sunday of Advent; the season of preparation for Christ’s birth?
* How are you challenged by this passage today to do “things” for God?
* How do we share the message of hope in the season of preparation, Advent?

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