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Posts Tagged ‘Offering’

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Reflection Questions

  1. The writer of Ecclesiasticus is a writer by the name Ben Sirach. He was the ʻheadmasterʼ of an Academy in Jerusalem that mentored Jewish students in the art of living well. His writings are a collection of the best of Jewish thought and philosophy. It contrasts with Greek culture and thought which accepted a huge gap between the rich and poor, those who were ʻfreeʼ and those who we ʻslavesʼ. Why do you think ʻthe prayer of the lowly pierces the cloudsʼ?
  2. Paul is writing from Prison in Rome. In his pre-trial hearing Paul shares that there was no-one who came to support him in court. Imagine his loneliness and sense of betrayal! And yet he does not choose to blame or get angry. Scholars suggest christians in Rome were afraid of persecution if they came to support Paul. Have you had an experience of hurt from those you thought would support and protect you? Can you say like Paul ʻmay it not be held against them!ʼ Paulʼs attention continued to focus on his life imitating the life of Jesus, ʻbeing poured out like a libation (offering)ʼ. In your struggles, is your attention on your ʻenemyʼ or ʻJesusʼ?
  3. Jesus teaches about prayer and righteousness in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. What do the words of the Pharisee’s prayer reveal about his attitude toward God and sinners?
  4. A Pharisee was a strict observer of the law. Going beyond what was required they fasted 2 days per week (Jews were only required to fast on 1 day a year) and tithed on everything they received (even the goods that had already been ‘tithed’). They were extremely observant. They enjoyed their ʻholyʼ and ʻrighteousʼ reputation. Deuteronomy 26 taught them to bring a 10th of ones produce to the temple, thanking God and asking for God’s blessing, and giving to the levite, the foreigner, the orphan and the widow. Has this been fulfilled? Has the Pharisee done anything wrong? Is the Pharisee ‘righteous’?
  5. A Tax Collector (often Jewish) worked with the Roman authorities to collect road charges, goods tax, sales tax. They made significant profits above their contracted price. They were despised by Jews. For a tax collector to make amends, they were to pay-back overcharged taxes with an additional 1/5th to be added. They could never know everyone they had wronged and therefore could never repair their ‘wrongʼ The tax collectors often felt their religious situation was hopeless. They could never be forgiven! Name some of the feelings experienced by the ʻtax collectorʼ. What is it about the tax collector that you can relate to?
  6. The Pharisee encountered only himself in prayer. He was extremely satisfied with himself. Is this prayer? The Tax collector humbly looked to God for mercy. Why is it that God listens to the Tax Collector?
  7. What is one action that you will do to be ʻlivingthewordʼ this week?