May the Words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be always acceptable in your
sight, Oh Lord our strength and our redeemer. Amen.
Last week, we began the season of Advent.
And this week, our journey continues.
We’re doing something a bit different this season:
As we prepare and wait for the coming of Jesus on Christmas.
We talked last week about the tradition around a “Jesse tree:”
Where Christians remember the geneology of Jesus:
By re-reading and exploring biblical figures and stories leading up to Jesus’ birth.
We heard about Abraham and Sarah,
The way that they laughed about the seemingly impossible promises that God
made to them.
But God does not break promises:
And Abraham and Sarah were granted a son:
Even in their old age.
It seemed absolutely impossible to understand, comprehend, or imagine.
God made it happen.
I encouraged you to go home and find something that seems impossible to
And bring it back with you today to add to our Jesse tree.
Did anyone bring anything that they would like to share about briefly?
(Let people Share)
We’re looking at the story of Ruth and Naomi: found in the book of Ruth.
Let’s hear it now:
READ STORY (Ruth 1:1-18; Or the whole book of Ruth!)
The story of Ruth and Naomi begins with tragedy.
After leaving her homeland with her family, Naomi experiences a string of deaths:
First her husband,
Then her two adult sons.
Left without grandchildren and without male family members to care for her,
Naomi is in one of the most vulnerable and lowly places in her society.
Naomi’s daughters-in law don’t want to abandon her.
One dauther in law, Orpah:
Eventually agrees to return to the family of her birth.
Ruth, though, refuses to leave Naomi.
She protests with one of the most stirring speeches in all of scripture.
The speech is left out of our story-book version:
But here’s what Ruth says to Naomi:
“Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
Where you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God my God.
Where you die, I will die--
There will I buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well,
If even death parts me from you.”
Ruth’s choice to remain with her widowed mother-in-law is downright foolish by
her world’s standards.
Nothing ties her to Naomi,
And there is no hopeful future with her to be seen.
It makes you wonder why Ruth did not wish to return to her own amily.
It makes you wonder about the welcome Ruth must have received in her
husband’s family home.
It makes you wonder why Naomi loved and cared for Ruth as her own daughter.
Maybe it makes YOU think about the love of someone beyond your biological
And how that person made a difference in your life.
Ruth makes Naomi her chosen family,
A bond that many people form when their biological families can’t provide the
love, understanding or support they need.
Perhaps this family relationship is formed with a deep sense of justice, too.
Though it may be fair to leave Naomi on her own,
Ruth—an outsider to the people of Judah--
Upholds one o the markers of God’s justice.
She cares for the widow
(Even though she is one herself)
This generation in Jesus’ ancestry is formed by chosen love,
And a fiercely feminine loyalty.
Ruth and Naomi journeyed together.
They did that medaphorically by spending their “journey of life” together,
And they did it literally:
Traveling to Bethlehem together to start life anew.
I invite you to go home, and find something that you would take with you on a
Or something that guides you in your travels.
Maybe it’s a map,
A favorite road snack,
A piece of camping equipment.
OR maybe even a picture of someone in your life who helped to guide you
through your journey.
Bring it back next week.
And we’ll add it to our tree!
It can be a physical item,
That you either hang on,
Or set next to or beneath the tree.
It can also be a picture of the item.
I brought my item a week early.
I brought a flashlight.
Because we need light on our journeys:
Whether the light comes from a flashlight,
The headlights on our car:
Or the light of love from a person who has guided us.
Enjoy the weekly sermons at anytime.