Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

Jan van Scorel, Ruth and Naomi in the fields o...

Jan van Scorel, Ruth and Naomi in the fields of Boaz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Walking with Ruth 081412

The story of Ruth the Moabite in the Hebrew scriptures is a lesson in loyalty, commitment, hospitality and welcoming.  Ruth, a young widow, left parents and extended family behind in order to migrate to her mother-in-law’s country not sure what kind of welcome she would receive as a foreigner.  Although life was not easy, she was welcomed and found assistance in her new life.  Her loyalty and devotion gave her a place in the lineage of King David.  Ruth’s words are often used in wedding ceremonies: “Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16f)

Ruth’s character was noticed and found favor in her new homeland.

No matter where our journey takes us, our character as Christians should be exemplary.  The closing words of 2 Peter say it well.  “Therefore beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or wrinkle.”

 Welcome and hospitality of the stranger and foreigner are not easy practices in a culture where we are taught to fear those who are different.  I pray that the established residents of my city will find ways to build bridges of hospitality, trust and respect with the immigrant and the refugee people who arrive seeking a new life.  May that hospitality be an echo of God’s embrace of all humankind.

 Guest blogger Lee Lever is pastor of the Austin (Texas) Mennonite Church. 

 

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Psalm 81

Ruth 2:1-23

2 Peter 3:14-18

The story of Ruth the Moabite in the Hebrew scriptures is a lesson in loyalty, commitment, hospitality and welcoming.  Ruth, a young widow, left parents and extended family behind in order to migrate to her mother-in-law’s country not sure what kind of welcome she would receive as a foreigner.  Although life was not easy, she was welcomed and found assistance in her new life.  Her loyalty and devotion gave her a place in the lineage of King David.  Ruth’s words are often used in wedding ceremonies: “Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16f)

Ruth’s character was noticed and found favor in her new homeland.

No matter where our journey takes us, our character as Christians should be exemplary.  The closing words of 2 Peter say it well.  “Therefore beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or wrinkle.”

 Welcome and hospitality of the stranger and foreigner are not easy practices in a culture where we are taught to fear those who are different.  I pray that the established residents of my city will find ways to build bridges of hospitality, trust and respect with the immigrant and the refugee people who arrive seeking a new life.  May that hospitality be an echo of God’s embrace of all humankind.

 Guest blogger Lee Lever is pastor of the Austin (Texas) Mennonite Church. 

Psalm 81

1Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.

2Raise a song, sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp.

3Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our festal day.

4For it is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.

5He made it a decree in Joseph, when he went out over the land of Egypt. I hear a voice I had not known:

6“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket.

7In distress you called, and I rescued you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah

8Hear, O my people, while I admonish you; O Israel, if you would but listen to me!

9There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.

10I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

11“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.

12So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.

13O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!

14Then I would quickly subdue their enemies, and turn my hand against their foes.

15Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him, and their doom would last forever.

16I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Ruth 2:1-23

2Now Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. 2And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain, behind someone in whose sight I may find favor.” She said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 3So she went. She came and gleaned in the field behind the reapers. As it happened, she came to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.

4Just then Boaz came from Bethlehem. He said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you.” They answered, “The Lord bless you.” 5Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, “To whom does this young woman belong?” 6The servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the Moabite who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7She said, ‘Please, let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the reapers.’ So she came, and she has been on her feet from early this morning until now, without resting even for a moment.” 8Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9Keep your eyes on the field that is being reaped, and follow behind them. I have ordered the young men not to bother you. If you get thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.” 10Then she fell prostrate, with her face to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?” 11But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12May the Lord reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge!” 13Then she said, “May I continue to find favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, even though I am not one of your servants.” 14At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here, and eat some of this bread, and dip your morsel in the sour wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he heaped up for her some parched grain. She ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15When she got up to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, “Let her glean even among the standing sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16You must also pull out some handfuls for her from the bundles, and leave them for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”

17So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18She picked it up and came into the town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gleaned. Then she took out and gave her what was left over after she herself had been satisfied. 19Her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, “The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a relative of ours, one of our nearest kin.” 21Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay close by my servants, until they have finished all my harvest.’” 22Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is better, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, otherwise you might be bothered in another field.” 23So she stayed close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests; and she lived with her mother-in-law.

2 Peter 3:14-18

14Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. 17You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. 18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

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