Advent Love and Ruth

Ruth.by EmilyThis week is the 3rd week of advent.  Advent is a season in the church calendar when we observe a time of expectation on the arrival of Christ’s birth.  And as we’ve seen, this year at The Table we’re setting up a dialog, of sorts, b/t the attributes of faith in Jesus (hope, peace, joy, faith) and the women on Jesus’ genealogy.  In Matthew’s gospel, he lists 5 women in a genealogy dominated by men.  We’re asking ourselves as we wait for Jesus to come again, “How can these women teach us this Advent season?”  We began w/ a dialog b/t the advent attribute of hope and the life of Tamar.  Last week we dialoged w/ Rahab, and the advent attribute of faith.  And next week we’ll end w/ the dialog b/t Bathsheba and the attribute of peace.  But this week, we’ll dialog w/ Ruth and the attribute of love.

Story

I want to invite you to do something different. I invite you to read the entire book of Ruth, in the Old Testament.  It’s a beautiful story of love and faithfulness that speaks for itself.  But before you do this, I want us to consider who Ruth was.  Ruth was one of the foreign women in Jesus’ genealogy.  As you’ll read, Ruth was widowed w/o support, and immigrated w/ her mother in law into Israel.  And like single immigrant women today, Ruth was vulnerable as she came to this new land before her.  And as was mentioned in the last couple weeks, women at this time in this culture were dependent upon their husbands and sons for support and security.  Now imagine what it was like at this time if a woman was w/o these men, and imagine being a foreigner and an immigrant on top of that.  Ruth was as vulnerable as you could get.  Her only advocate was an older lady, who also was w/o support.

As you read, imagine yourself in Ruth’s position.  And as you read, take note of anything that jumps out at you or seem like a highlight, and ask yourself, “How is the love of God seen in Ruth?” [Read the Book of Ruth]

Point

For me, I think the point of this book has to be seen in the social position of Ruth, and here’s the point: In a world that is unsafe (2:22), God redeems and protects.  This is a beautiful love story, a story of a foreign, unsupported widow who finds redemption.  This is our story.  Ruth is included in Jesus’ genealogy, b/c she points us to Him.  We are unworthy to stand before God.  And yet as we were wandering for provision, Jesus came in the form of a baby.  He grew up and bore our sins on the cross, putting death, sin and injustice to death.  He rose to life and takes our hands, and lifts us up and seats us in His family.  The kingdom of heaven is like that.  The kingdom of heaven is like a foreign, unsupported widow finding protection and a home.  This is our story.  And like Boaz to Ruth, the love of Jesus covers us.

In Advent, as we prepare for the coming of Christ, picture yourself like Ruth.  You can probably identify w/ a certain portion of her story more than another.  But know this, the end of Ruth’s story is the same as yours.  b/c of the love of Jesus, you are covered, protected, and part of His loving family.

Amen.

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