The Guggenheim Museum in New York City gives a unique experience of art. The main exhibit area is circular. One walks up the spiral ramp to look at the different paintings. As one walks through the exhibit, you are able to see the art from various angles—up close, across the room, from below, from above, straight on.
Going through the Bible chronologically to me feels like going through the Biblical Guggenheim. We get to see the big picture and how many of the stories fit into that bigger picture.
The story of Ruth, which we will look at on November 3, is one of those stories where we can get different perspectives from looking from afar to seeing it up close. In the Jewish tradition, the story of Ruth is read during the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot. This is the combined celebration of the giving of Torah at Mt. Sinai and the grain harvest. It is the reading of Ruth’s famous words “Your people will be my people, your God will be my God.” Her words to Naomi reflect the Israelites accepting of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. Without Ruth, the story of Israel would not be complete. She is the great grandmother of David.
Ruth also highlights the Torah’s emphasis on the call for justice—caring for those in need. Boaz is required by Torah to leave part of his harvest for those who are in need. November is our culture’s celebration of the harvest and offering of thanksgiving. The story of Ruth is a reminder and an invitation for us to join God’s story of redemption in our giving of our time, our talents, and our gifts to God’s work. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, how can we leave some of what we have been blessed with for others to experience?
On November 10, we will be blessing the food we collect for the Thanksgiving baskets during service. On November 17 and 24 we will be committing ourselves to give to God’s work here at Centenary for our stewardship.
Ruth’s story invites us to be part of God’s work in providing for those in need and to share the gifts we have been given.
As we study Scripture chronologically, may we be experience God’s grace from different perspectives. May we extend that grace to others so they can experience God’s grace in new ways.