God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Redemption in the Book of Ruth

"Blessed Redeemer! Precious Redeemer!
Seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree;
Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading,
Blind and unheeding—dying for me!"
Avis Marguerite Burgeson Christiansen

I greet Thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
My only trust and Savior of my heart,
Who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray Thee from our hearts all cares to take.
John Calvin

Guide me, O thou great redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty,
Hold me with thy powerful hand;
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.
Peter Willkims

My Redeemer Lives
You Lift my burdens
I'll rise with You
I'm dancing on this mountain top to see your kingdom come
My Redeemer Lives
Reuben Morgan

Redeemer. A word that has come to be important in our hymns. Redeemer. What does it mean?

There was a movie that was on TV when I was little about Ruth. It was one of my favorite movies of the time. I loved that there was this bible story that was actually starred a girl and it was a love story. Who knew the bible could have a love story. When asked what story I want told before bed I would often ask my dad to tell me the story of Ruth. It was a story that struck a chord in me. This next six weeks I will be preaching on the book of Ruth. This will be my first time studying this book as a pastor and figuring out how it applies to my life and the life of the people I minister to.
One of the themes of this book is about Redemption. A word I have to admit I am not hat comfortable with. I haven’t spent much time thinking about it. I have that initial gut reaction that ties redemption to salvation and salvation takes me back to painful high school times of being treated poorly because I didn’t by a theology of salvation and didn’t believe I was going to hell because I had a different understanding of God. I didn’t have this belief in Jesus coming to redeem the sins of the world. I knew that was a way to speak about Jesus acts and presence but it wasn’t a meaningful interpretation of Jesus’ life and ministry for me.
So here is a book about redemption. What does it mean to be redeemed?
I decided to look up the word in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, way more information than I wanted, but it says that redemption means that something alienated or made captive is recovered. The version of redemption found in Ruth is go-al which is a kinsman purchasing or procuring the freedom of kinsman who has fallen into slavery. So Ruth is a book about a kinsman saving Ruth and Naomi. I guess the question for us is who is the kinsman redeemer? Is it Boaz, the one who bring food, marriage and children? Is it Ruth who brings Naomi from emptiness to fullness? Or is the redeemer God, the God who believes that we are kinsman, that God is our next of kin and delivers us from trouble? I think a case can be made for all of these answers. That God works through this family to bring them through famine to food, from barrenness to children, from widowhood to marriage, from exile to home. Each of these actor, Ruth, Boaz, and God play a role in bringing redemption in this book.

God, my redeemer, help me to hear your voice as I study Ruth, may teh book show me your redemptive acts.  Amen

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