Week of November 18, 2018

Many of you heard the second part of my two-part sermon on the book of Ruth, but for those who missed it I had hoped to make the sermon available on the podcast. Unfortunately the digital recorder we use to record the sermons is missing, so I was unable to record it last Sunday. So for those who missed it, I wanted to at least give you the chance to get a bit of a synopsis here.

As I mentioned in the first part of the sermon, the underlying story of Ruth is about Naomi and redeeming her life, a life that has gone badly off the rails. When she returns with Ruth to Bethlehem, they meet Boaz, a distant relative of her husband who is impressed with Ruth’s character and steadfastness. Naomi and Ruth begin to work to take care of themselves as a household, but eventually Naomi becomes concerned with Ruth’s long-term security and suggests that Ruth propose to Boaz that they marry. Ruth does, and Boaz is interested, but first he must allow a closer relation to Naomi’s husband to withdraw his own claim. Once that happens, the two marry and have a son, Obed, which thrills Naomi and she claims him as a member of her own family.

This represents a big change in Naomi’s perspective. At the beginning of the story Naomi sees no way to continue to have a family, except the unlikely scenario of her having a son, waiting for that son to come of age, and then marrying that young man to one of her daughters-in-law. But through God and the love that Ruth showed her, Naomi can now see the child of a foreign-born woman and a man who isn’t even the closest of the distant relatives of her late husband as family. For Naomi, terms like “family” were changed, just like God can help us redefine terms like “success,” “contentment,” and even family. When our lives seem hopeless and no worthwhile future is in sight, that’s the moment to turn to God and seek God’s plan, on God’s terms, and find the chance to discover something beyond our own imagination.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Rob+