[Rest and Bread] Ruth [2009-05-06]
Because Laura Ruth is in Ontario, Keith asked me to help lead Rest and Bread. He had Molly help celebrate Communion ("do the pagan magic to make it Jesus," as I said). I feel like Molly's been to Rest and Bread before, but regardless, she wasn't aware of how we choreograph it, and we just rolled with it -- especially since there were only 2 other people besides the 3 of us. (I recalled Mark telling me after the "When All Are Welcome..." workshop, Joy was all, "But Elizabeth will be there" -- concerned about the possibility of the workshop not going as outlined in the agenda -- and he reassured her that I'd been at a CWM service where there were like 4 of us in a circle in the sanctuary and Tiffany was in a rocking chair.)
Keith mentioned that he and Gianna had used those opening lines of Ruth's hymn ("where you will lodge/rest, I will...") in their wedding.
He said that it has been said that the Book of Ruth is a story about loyalty (chesed
-- I was thrown by hearing that definition of "chesed" and indeed, looking it up online, "lovingkindness" seems to be the prevalent definition -- heh, in searching Velveteen Rabbi, I found an essay on the Book of Ruth
, for example -- though they're not unconnected).
He also talked about how sometimes we are called to strike out on our own.
Keith reminded us of the story of Jonah from last week and the message that God's love is not provincial or bounded by ethnic categories.
Keith outlined how the Book of Ruth continues, including Ruth marrying Boaz and bearing Obed, who fathers Jesse -- yeah, you see where this is going. He said that when we welcome the foreigner, we welcome the parent or grandparent of someone who will redeem our people.
Earlier that day, I'd seen this video
on Tyler's facebook. (Jeremy has also posted
In it [beginning at 7:57]
, Dr. Jim Bankston tells of Peter Story saying that the phrase "to invite Jesus into your heart" is foreign to him (he's from South Africa) but the more he thinks about it, the more he likes it. He imagines Jesus responding, "I'll be glad to come -- can I bring my friends?" and we know from the New Testament who Jesus friends are (though I would quibble that just because he sat at table with all these people doesn't necessarily make them his "friends" per se, but I feel the point that Jesus was always reaching out to everyone