Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pentecost 20 (Proper 23)

Today's readings were Ruth 1:1-19a (sermon text), 2 Timothy 2:1-13, and Luke 17:11-19.

What is a friend? Loving father, doting mother, obedient child, protective neighbor, best-constructer, faithful spouse, good Samaritan, thankful leper, inviter to church, someone willing to give his life for another. Ruth was a friend; her story begins in Bethlehem (!). God blessed Naomi and her husband Elimelech with good land and two sons. Then He took away - prosperity (necessitating a move to Moab), Elimelech's life, and (after marriage) the two sons.

However, the story isn't about all three widows. Naomi returned to Judah, and Orpah would have stayed with her but was dissuaded by her mother-in-law's advice. Ruth was an even truer daughter-in-law - "where you go, I will go..." What a friend! What love and concern! Her demonstration of friendship involved sacrifice, dislocation, resignation to widowhood at an early point in her life.

But Ruth kept Naomi rather than discarding her. Use her example. Don't throw away people, particularly friends by any definition! Seek them out. Thank them. Be a friend as faithful as man's best Friend, Jesus.

Soli Deo gloria.

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