A Savior to Serve (February 22 – March 22, 2015)

Introduction

(1)    The events of Jesus’ final week (Holy Week) recorded in Mark occur in and around Jerusalem and the Temple: Mount of Olives, Bethany, Garden of Gethsemane, etc. See the following resources for maps, illustrations, and photos. In the library.
a.    “Jerusalem,” Jesus and Paul: Places They Knew, F. F. Bruce (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1981), pp. 51-59.
b.    An excellent illustration of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus in The Historical Atlas of the Bible: A Visual Guide from Ancient Time to the New Testament, Dr. Ian Barnes (New Jersey: Cartographical Press, 2006), pp. 294-295.
c.    Nelson’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Bible, John Drane, editor (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001), pp. 204 (contemporary), 186.
d.    The World of the Bible, Roberta L. Harris (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995), pp. 133-134.
e.    “The Hour of Darkness,” Exploring the Story: A Reference Companion, Adam T. Barr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Press, 2011), pp. 142-143. You may already have a copy from The Story last year.
f.    Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus, Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009).

(2)    For a dramatic reading of the scripture passages in Mark during this unit, use one of the following audio recordings (See Keith for how to play these for your class.)
a.    The Bible Experience, read by top-name actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and award-winning producers.
b.    Faith Comes by Hearing: You’ve Got the Time (Dramatized New Testament we used a few years ago during Lent. Available in the library and the church office.)

(2)    Commentary resources you may borrow from Keith’s office:
a.    Hearing Mark: A Listener’s Guide, Elizabeth Struthers Malbon (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press, 2002). She has an interesting conversational style. The Formations Teaching Guide and Study guide refers to this commentary.
b.    Mark A Commentary: The New Testament Library, M. Eugene Boring (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006) The Formations Teaching Guide and Study guide refers to this commentary.
c.    Mark: Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture - New Testament II, Thomas Oden, editor (Downers Grove, Ill: Intervarsity Press, 1998). This interesting resource shares commentaries from a variety of writers throughout church history.
d.    Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels, Bruce J. Malina and Richard L. Rohrbaugh (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992). We can’t assume people in an ancient Middle Eastern culture think and act like we do. This commentary has many insights into the social dynamics of the culture.
e.    The Last Seven Days: The Story of Jesus and Holy Week, Regent’s Study Guides 7, G. Henton Davies and J. E. Morgan-Wynne (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 1999). This book can help you understand the events of Holy Week in chronological order.

(3)    For additional commentary, try these Bible Commentaries in the church library:
a.    Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
b.    Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)

(4)    Additional lessons helps and updates are available periodically on the Smyth & Helwys website: http://www.nextsunday.com/category/formations-2/

(5)    Note: On Sunday, March 8, Bo Prosser will be leading a Bible study in fellowship hall. All adult Sunday School classes are invited to join. Bo will be leading a Spiritual Formation for Leadership Retreat, March 6-7.


February 22 – A Commandment to Keep (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Mark 12:28-34)

(1)    I have posted pictures of Phylacteries and Mezuzah on this webpage and I have a mezuzah you could display. The command in the Deuteronomy passage, to place the words of the Shema on you hand, head, and doorpost, are taken quite literally, as well as figuratively, by many Jewish people, especially the command to write it on the doorframes. Phylacteries are small boxes containing these scriptures tied to the hand and forehead. A Mezuzah is a decorative tube affixed to the front doorframe, containing the Shema.

(2)    God Fills All Things: Athanasius in The Ancient Christian Commentary (p. 172) says this about our passage from Mark.

“Since God is one, it is ridiculous to suppose that there could be still another ‘Lord’ of heaven and earth in addition to the Lord who is one. There is simply no room for a second Lord of all if the one true God fills all things in the compass of heaven and earth.”

(3)     Priorities: Theses passages remind us of our priorities as a church. In a variety of ways we have been thinking about the priorities of our church: (1) The Listening to the Spirit Ministry Priorities for 2015. A summary was included as an insert in the February Key and is attached; (2) Soon, we will hear a report from our Renew the Promise Congregational Questionnaire; (3) On March 6-8 we will have a retreat, Spiritual Formation for Leaders Retreat, which will include some reflection on our church’s direction. Reflect on these and other emphases and discuss together how well our priorities and goals are lining up with these two great commandments named in Mark.


March 1 – A Warning to Heed (Daniel 11:21, 30-35; Mark 13:5-13)

(1)    When have there not been wars?: Augustine, in The Ancient Christian Commentary (pp. 181-182), says this about our passage from Mark.

“As to wars, when has the earth not been scourged by them at different periods and places? To pass over remote history, when the barbarians were everywhere invading Roman provinces in the reign in of Gallienus, how many of our brothers who were then alive do we think could have believed that the end was near, since this happened long after the ascension of the Lord! Thus, we do not know what the nature of those signs will be when the end is really near at hand….”

(2)    Wars and Rumors of Wars: Were there “wars and rumors of war” in 1927 when Lexington Avenue Baptist Church was formed? The United States was not at war. In the timeline of history we were almost exactly half way between World War I and World War II. So, it was a relatively quiet period when it comes to wars. I don’t know if any of this is relevant, but it might be interesting as we think about “wars and rumors of wars” as a sign of the end times.

(3)    Mount of Olives: Resources in the library with maps, photos, and illustrations related to the Mount of Olives where Mark’s story is set:

a.    Bible Map Guide (Common English Bible, 2011), Map 20.
b.    Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus, Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009). Photo, p. 68-69.
c.    Aerial Atlas of the Holy Land, John Bowker, Photography by Sonia Halliday and Bryan Knox, Buffalo (New York: Firefly Books, 2008), pp. 150-159. A chapter on the Mount of Olives includes articles, pictures, and illustrations, pp. 150-159. Nice illustration with the Temple, p. 132.
d.    Jesus and Paul: Places They Knew, F. F. Bruce (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1981), Photo, pp. 54-55.

(4)    The Formations Teaching Guide recommends using the hymn, “O Land of Rest, for Thee I Sigh” (You may know it as “We’ll Work Till Jesus Comes.’). I have posted a couple of videos of this hymn on this webpage, one by Bill and Gloria Gaither and others and one by Martha Reed Garvin.


March 8 – A Mission to Embrace (Isaiah 61:1-3a; Mark 14:1-9)


(1)    Bo Prosser will be teaching in fellowship hall on March 8. All adult Sunday School classes are invited to join. On Friday and Saturday, Bo will be leading Spiritual Formation for Leadership Retreat for our church.

(2)    See the resources listed in the Introduction, and in the March 1 session, for maps, pictures and illustrations for Bethany, and the Mount of Olives.

(3)    Alabaster Vase of Perfume: You can find several pictures of perfume jars from New Testament times in, The New Testament World in Pictures, William H. Stephens (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1987), pp. 369-370, pictures 779.

(4)    Mary’s Example: Bede in The Ancient Christian Commentary (p. 199) says this about our passage from Mark.
“Here it is clearly shown that what Mary once did as a type, the entire church and every perfect soul should do always.”

(5)    Anointing for Ministry: We will have a Deacon Ordination service in March. Think about how this is an anointing for ministry.

(6)    Glocal Ministries for the Poor: Jesus said, “the poor you will always have with you.” See the list of our global and local ministry partners that we support, attached (LABC Glocal Ministries) and online. Which touch the poor? How? How can you get involved? Consider a class ministry project.
 

March 15 – A Meal to Share (Isaiah 25:6-10; Mark 14:13-16, 22-26)


(1)    24 Hours That Changed the World: Video Journey, by Adam Hamilton, contains an excellent session on “The Last Supper” in Mark, which includes commentary, helpful visuals, clear explanations, history, and scenes filmed in the Holy Land. I think you will find this very helpful for your understanding, whether or not you use it in class. See Keith if you are interested.

(2)    Watch a video dramatization of the Last Supper posted on this webpage. This is not Mark’s version specifically.

(3)    The Formations Teaching Guide (p. 57) mentions the Hallel Psalm 136, sung at Passover. Two music videos, based on this Psalm, are posted on this webpage.

(4)    For a discussion of the chronology of events see, “The Last Twenty-Four Hours according to Mark,” in The Last Seven Days: The Story of Jesus and Holy Week, Regent’s Study Guides 7, G. Henton Davies and J. E. Morgan-Wynne (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 1999) pp. 51-56. Available from Keith.

(5)    Contemporary Jewish Observance of Passover: I have some items and table settings that are used in modern Jewish observance of Passover, including the Seder plate for symbolic foods. I will be happy to share these with you.

(6)    The Jewish Passover observance was adapted and reinterpreted to become the Christian Lord’s Supper. Our next Lord’s Supper observance will be on Maundy Thursday, April 2, during Holy Week.

(7)    Illustrations and descriptions of Jerusalem and the Temple:
c.    “Jerusalem,” Jesus and Paul: Places They Knew, F. F. Bruce (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1981), pp. 51-59.
d.    An excellent illustration of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus in The Historical Atlas of the Bible: A Visual Guide from Ancient Time to the New Testament, Dr. Ian Barnes (New Jersey: Cartographical Press, 2006), pp. 294-295.
e.    Nelson’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Bible, John Drane, editor (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001), pp. 204 (contemporary), 186.
f.    The World of the Bible, Roberta L. Harris (London: Thames and Hudson, 1995), pp. 133-134.


March 22 – A Prayer to Pray (Psalm 141; Mark 14:32-42)

(1)    24 Hours That Changed the World: Video Journey, by Adam Hamilton, contains an excellent session on “The Garden of Gethsemane” in Mark, which includes commentary, helpful visuals, clear explanations, history, and scenes filmed in the Holy Land. I think you will find this very helpful for your understanding whether or not you use it in class. See Keith if you are interested.

(2)    The Formations Teaching Guide (p. 60) suggests using “Gethsemane/I Only Want to Say,” from Jesus Christ Superstar. The music video is posted on the webpage (www.lexingtonavenue.org/sunday-school-supplements/).

(3)    The Formations Teaching Guide (p. 60) refers to the hymn “Go to Dark Gethsemane.” Three different music video versions of this hymn are posted on this webpage.

(4)    Of course the Disciples fell asleep. Bedtime is normally at sunset, but the meal for the Passover supper is just after sunset. So, while Jesus and the disciples are in the Garden of Gethsemane, it is way past their bedtime, dark, and they’ve just had a big meal with four cups of wine. To help clarify the timeline of events during Jesus last days and hours, see The Last Seven Days: The Story of Jesus and Holy Week, Regent’s Study Guides 7, G. Henton Davies and J. E. Morgan-Wynne (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 1999) available from Keith.

(5)    The Garden of Gethsemane. Maps mentioned in the introduction and the March 1 session can help locate and visualize Gethsemane. See also:
a.    “Jesus Prays in Gethsemane,” A Visual Guide to Gospel Events (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2010) pp. 154-155.
b.    Aerial Atlas of the Holy Land, John Bowker, Photography by Sonia Halliday and Bryan Knox, Buffalo (New York: Firefly Books, 2008), pp. 132, 153, 159.
g.    “The Garden of Gethsemane,” Jerusalem at the Time of Jesus, Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2009), p. 67.

(6)    Did you know we have a Prayer Room? Make sure your class is aware. It is located down the hall from the offices in the Sanctuary building to the left of the water fountains. In it you will find comfortable seating, books on prayer and devotion including several classics of Christian devotion, and a small prayer statue in memory of Jane Pixley. Many will remember Jane Pixley as one of the most prayerful people in our church. It might be worth taking a class field trip there for a closing time of prayer.

(7)    LABC Prayer Garden? I wonder if we could make or plant a Prayer Garden? Would it be helpful? Would it be used? Where would we put it? What would it be like? Are there any individuals or classes that would like to make that happen?

(8)    The Abbey of Gethsemani, a silent monastery, near Bardstown is a great place to pray. Out in the woods you can find some statues of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and the disciples sleeping. There are many good places in and around the monastery to pray. And they have good monk made cheese in the gift shop.

(9)    Looking Out for Each Other. The Formations Teaching Guide (p. 61) talks about how Jesus was looking out for his disciples who were about to face some difficult circumstances. We have an official group for “Looking Out for Each Other” in our church. We call them deacons. Each month, when they meet, they look at a list of members who have experienced lost, those who have been sick, new members, and homebound members. Tommy has recently developed a list from the Friendship Pads to track people who have missed several Sundays in a row, so deacons, staff and others can check on them to make sure everything is okay. I am sure they would welcome your class members’ help in any of these endeavors in “Looking Out for Each Other.” See Tommy or Keith if you would like to be involved in any of these care ministries. Consider inviting a deacon to discuss how they are caring for our members. Encourage your members to say, “Thank you” to our deacons for helping us look out for each other.

(10)    The Lord’s Prayer: The Formations Teaching Guide (p. 61) notes the parallels between the Lord’s Prayer and Jesus’ prayer in the garden. Suggest that your class members keep these similarities in mind as we pray the Lord’s Prayer in worship Sunday and to reflect on Jesus’ prayer in the garden during the discipline of silence.

 
Teaching in General

I have an article by one of my Christian Education professors from seminary on "Using Questions and Answers in Adult Bible Study" that I think you will find helpful. Available in my office if you did not receive it.