Throughout 2018, we have had the opportunity in worship to spend some time in a few of the most familiar passages and stories of the Old Testament. So far this journey has taken us through the stories of Jonah and the Big Fish, David and Goliath, and the 23rd Psalm. As the year comes to an end, we will be making one more stop by spending the last two Sundays of November immersed in the story of Ruth.
If you are not familiar with this story of Ruth, her mother-in-law Naomi, and her husband Boaz, rest assured that just like the other Old Testament stories we have examined, this is a tale that resonates with contemporary implications for all of us. Among the issues that will be in front of us include the effects of loss and grief, family relationships, treatment of outsiders/immigrants, the call for us to walk with others through their difficulties, and most of all the providence of God in our times of emptiness. Ruth’s story is also a perfect one to read in the weeks leading up to Advent, for at the end of the book we are reminded that Ruth is a part of the family tree of King David (specifically she was his great-grandmother) and thus is a part of Jesus’ lineage as well. This connection will be made clear on the first Sunday of Advent (December 2nd) when we will read the words of the prophet Jeremiah who speaks of One who is coming as a “righteous branch from David’s (and Ruth’s) line.”
I hope you will plan to join us on these Sundays to hear and ponder this poignant story that is filled with sorrow, empathy, love, and in the end, joy.