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.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Christian Formation for Nov. 17 - Isaiah 65:17-25; The Glorious New Creation

Nov 17, 2013 – 26 Pentecost
Isaiah 65:17-25
The Glorious New Creation
Background: This portion of the Book of Isaiah is in what is referred to by scholars as Third Isaiah (chapters 56-66). This portion of the text was anonymously composed, most likely by one of the Prophet’s disciples circa 538-515 BCE. The latter portion of these chapters describes the rebuilding of the nation of Israel.

Theme: This passage expands on the belief presented in chapters 60-62 that where יהוה resides, there can only be victory and life. This passage attempts to elicit memories of the creation story in Genesis and will be echoed in the New Testament apocalyptic letters, most notably in the Revelation to John. The principles recounted are restoration, renewal, and re-creation of God’s kingdom.

Questions to Ponder:
* Read Isaiah 65:17-25.
* Briefly describe the political, social, and religious situation in Israel for this passage. To whom do you think the prophet speaking in this passage?
* Why might the prophet recount the vision a new heaven and a new earth in verse 17? Why might the people need to be assured of a new creation?
* Why might the Israelites want a new creation as a sign of God’s presence with them?
* Since Creation and the rise of the Davidic king, what has happened that might need to be changed? Why might the former things not want to be remembered by Israel?
* Reflect on the implication of a “short life” being a curse while a “long life” is a blessing. In this case, what do you think was considered a “long life”?
* Do you think a “short life” is a curse? If so, what do you think the threshold is for a person to live a “short life”?
* Given Israel’s history of subjugation to the Assyrians and Babylonians (most recently), why might it be a comfort to have a “new order” or “the restoration of creation”?
* What do you think the significance of a normal/successful childbirth might be?
* What imagery does the writer evoke in verse 25 when they essentially say that mortal enemies will live together and that “lions will eat straw”?
* What do you think the message the writer was offering to the people in their time?
* How is this story a message of hope for the Israelites? How is it a story of hope for the Babylonians?
* What is the message we take from this to share as hope for our present and our future?
* What are you challenged to do by this passage?

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