Yep – you heard me: the old old story. This Advent, we’re going back…way back. Old Testament back! Before there was Mary and Joseph and this little kid called Jesus, there was another couple, another baby, and another story that is certainly one of my favorite books in the bible.
Take a moment as we start this season of advent, and open your bible to the book of Ruth. Remember, there is an index in your bible, just look it up in the old testament – it won’t hurt you to do it. Plus, it’s the shortest book in the bible, so for those who are ever concerned and enslaved to all things chronological, you can read it in a jiffy.
Ruth and Boaz are also a holy family for reasons that you will soon see. And their son Obed is very important. Maybe you’ll remember a verse from Isaiah that gets quoted a lot in worship – “And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a Branch out of his roots.” (Is 11:11)? Well Obed is the father of Jesse. And Jesse is the father of King David. See where this is going? Because David is the great grandfather of…Joseph. And who comes next on December 25th (not his true birthday but that’s a story for another time)? You guessed it. Ruth and Boaz are seen as the fore runners of Mary and Joseph and in fact, there’s a lot of similarities in the story of what happens to them. Oh the tangled genealogical web we weave!
This Advent, we’re going to travel with Ruth through her four chapters that describe one of the most remarkable women of the bible that we hear so little about beside her famous line: “Wherever you will go, I will go.” Each week, we’ll tread our way to the manger following each chapter of hope, peace, joy and love.
I’m going to recommend that you read the chapters, as we’ll be presenting scripture in a different light. I’ve written each chapter in Spoken Word as a way of telling Ruth’s story anew. The scene opens up this week with Ruth’s mother in law, Naomi…who also goes by the name Mara by then end of the chapter. Why? Read it and find out. Or come on Sunday!
The title of the first sermon in the series is: You are not yourself. But God, IS.
See you soon,