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Traveling among the saints

by davesandel on August 21st, 2021

Saturday, August 21, 2021                             (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saint Pius X, Pope

Traveling among the saints

Naomi had a prominent kinsman named Boaz. Ruth entered his field to glean grain, and Boaz welcomed her. “Why should I, a foreigner, be favored with your notice?”

Ruth traveled from Moab. While some might look down on her, Boaz admired her strength and her loyalty to his relative Naomi. Her travels impressed him. She was beautiful in spirit, and he noticed her.

She noticed him too, and in a section of the story not included in the lectionary reading, Naomi insisted that she approach Boaz. She told Ruth to “wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. When he lies down at night, go and uncover his feet and lie down yourself. He will tell you what to do.”

All goes as planned, because Boaz is an honorable man who deeply loves Ruth. Another kinsman who has first “rights” is not interested in this foreign woman, and Boaz marries her. They have a baby boy.

They called him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Ruth became a member of the lineage of messiah, of Jesus, of the coming Christ.

And Obed became grandpa to young grandson David, the young shepherd, anointed by Samuel to become Israel’s first king. David must have loved his Grandpa Obed when he bounced him on his knee and kissed his brow. Perhaps he taught David to eat watermelon, perhaps they looked for lost sheep together. Obed’s mom Ruth taught him to play, to learn and to love. Obed shared these skills with David as a young boy, and David grew up strong and killed Goliath with just one of five smooth stones.

See how the Lord blesses those who fear him. Blessed are you who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him?

Margaret’s friend Pam has returned to Austin for 10 days, and today we talked a bit about hitchhiking in Scotland. Late at night a guy in a two-seater sports car picked up Pam and her female friend. The girls sat on each other’s lap until the guy reached his home, where he lived with his girlfriend. The two put up Pam and her friend for the night, and when they awoke the next morning their hosts had left them breakfast and gone to work. See how the Lord blesses those who fear him?

Jesus spoke of the scribes and Pharisees: “Do and observe all things that they tell you, but DO NOT follow their example. They preach but do not practice. They tie up heavy weights on your shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.”

Jesus surprises the Pharisees again. His listeners must have looked at the Pharisees during this speech, who must have been looking anywhere except at Jesus. Jesus was not respecting their privilege or position.

As for you, do not be called “Rabbi.” You have but one teacher, you have but one Father in heaven, you have but one master, the Christ.

Travelers are vulnerable to weather, robbers, flat tires … and sometimes hospitality from those around them is what keeps them alive. I am driving through Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri today, headed tomorrow for Springfield, Lincoln, and Urbana, Illinois. Our family will welcome me at the end, but for those other 900 miles I’ll depend on those I’ve never met for help if I have a problem. Like Pam and her friend, I may need a blessing from a stranger.

God’s gift to all of us is just that blessing. Jesus says, “Make yourself small, and I will make you big.” David the little one, led by Obed and his dad Jesse, became the king.

The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

(Ruth 2, Psalm 128, Matthew 23)

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