Bitterness and Courage In God’s Silence

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Learning for Life: 9:30 am 
Worship Service: 11:00 am

Bulletin: September 30, 2018

NewsletterOctober 2018

Scriptures: Psalm 43Ruth 1Matthew 7:7-12


Rev. Joel Russell-MacLean

Ruth simply is a great, well written story. What Jane Austen is to us, Ruth is in her time.

Ruth starts out with the Hebrew equivalent of “Once upon a time…” and ends with everyone living “happily ever after”. But the story itself has nothing to do with fairy tales. Instead of fantastic events to grab the listeners, it is a very ordinary story of love and loss, of hard work and rest, set at harvest time.

Ruth is a woman’s story, told from her perspective. While it is honest about women’s vulnerability in a patriarchal society, the women are not helpless. It is the women’s choices and actions that advance the story. The men in the story only act in response to the lead of the women. I can’t help but think of Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox singing, “Sisters are doing it for themselves!”

Women and men play roles in this story but where is God in all of this? Isn’t this the Bible?

The story begins and ends with God providing for people but in between, God is surprisingly quiet and seemingly absent. Instead, God’s presence and goodness appears through the integrity and virtue of the characters. Human goodness has its limits: in the end, only God can bring about the truly redemptive ending. While we trust and wait for that ending, human virtue is the visible sign of the invisible God’s action.

In your life or in the life or someone you know, does it appear that God is silent or absent? What have others done for you that were signs of God’s goodness? Is there something you could do for someone as a sign of God’s presence?

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