Stories that Nurtured Jesus – Ruth 4

Stories that Nurtured Jesus – Ruth 4

Sermon on Ruth 4 and Luke 6:27—31 for August 26, 2018, Pentecost +14B  Audio Version Here 

[I’m assuming that you have just read the texts linked above – otherwise this may be hard to follow.]

All of us who use computers know about hyperlinks — they are the words which, when you click on them, link you to another location.  Often a table of contents will be hyperlinked so if you, for example, click on the title of chapter 5 it will take you to chapter 5.   Well, some have called the Bible the most hyperlinked text in the world.  Not in a literal sense, but in the sense that the stories are so interconnected to each other that reading one automatically brings up many others, and that this is intentional and part of the meaning.

We are going to see this happening today, as we bring to a conclusion our series on the book of Ruth that I have called, “Stories that nurtured Jesus.”  Jesus never referred directly to the book of Ruth, at least in the written records we have of his teaching, but Jesus’ central theme, that the Kingdom of God was actually at hand, to be lived and  experienced as a present reality, in spite of all indications to the contrary, is what the book of Ruth is all about.  There is no doubt in my mind that the characters in this story formed part of the mental furniture of Jesus’ mind.

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Stories that Nurtured Jesus: Ruth 3

Stories that Nurtured Jesus: Ruth 3

Luke 6:37-38Ruth 3      Audio Version Here

I’m assuming you just read Ruth 3 (if  not, this may not make much sense).

I was listening to a podcast which asked the question: what is meant by masculinity?  The answer given was that it is a series of stories we hear that tell us what little boys should do or not do, and what they should like and not like.  Big boys don’t cry.  Boys play with trucks, not dolls.  Boys like sports, not dressing up.  Boys like blue, not pink.  And femininity is similarly a set of stories that tell us what little girls are to do and not do, what to like and not like. 

The stories we receive shape our worlds.  They tend to present a binary picture of the world of black and white, all or nothing, without ambiguity. 

We cannot help hearing stories that shape us as children.  But as adults, we learn to question the adequacy of some of those stories, or even the truthfulness of them.  We learn that there are alternative narratives that deserve a hearing.  We learn that binary categories of all or nothing, do not adequately account for the world as it really is. In fact, these stories end up marginalizing people who do not fit into the strict binary categories.  The stories become oppressive.

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Ruth 2 – The Stories that Nurtured Jesus

Sermon onRuth 2 and Matthew 22:36-39 for August 5, 2018, Pentecost +11B

Ruth 2 (Please read this first)

Matthew 22:36-39

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”   He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  38 This is the greatest and first commandment.   And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 2.18.55 PMIn the days of danger and chaos, when “there was no king in Israel and every one “did what was right in his own eyes” there was a famine in the land.  So a family of Israelites, from Bethlehem (which means “house of bread”) went to live in Moab, to find bread. 

The father, Elimelech had two sons who married Moabite women.  The father and the two sons all died, and the mother, Naomi, whose name means “pleasant”, heard that there was food back home, so she returned to Bethlehem at the time of the barley harvest. 

One of her daughters in law, Orpah, turned her back on Naomi, but the other, Ruth, whose name means “friend, or companion,” stayed with her, leaving behind her home, her relatives, and the gods of the Moabites to become an immigrant to Israel. 

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