828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Christian Formation for Nov 11; Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17

Nov 11, 2012, 24 Pentecost
Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17
Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor
The Genealogy of David
Background: The book of Ruth falls in the division of the Hebrew Bible entitled the Writings. It is one of the five scrolls normally read during the spring festival of the Weeks (Shavuot). The book of Ruth is iconic because the heroine is a non-Israeli woman, and a Moabite (one of the more disliked nations by the nation of Israel). The book of Ruth helps add definition to the story of God’s loving-kindness (hesed) and the person who is the redeemer (go’el).
Theme: Naomi and Ruth have returned to Israel. Naomi is trying to assist Ruth in finding someone who will support her for the remainder of her life. Naomi and Ruth have begun doing “women’s work” and Ruth is working with her kinsmen’s women in the fields. This story appears to be more focused on redemption as opposed to loving-kindness.
Questions to Ponder
* Please read all of Ruth 3:1 – 4:22 for context.
* Briefly describe the setting of this book: most likely when was it written, what was the political setting in Israel, what was the religious setting for the Israelites, and who was in charge?
* What do you think the security Naomi was trying to locate for Ruth? Why would Naomi feel compelled to help Ruth find security, especially considering they are not direct relations?
* Why do you think Naomi would have Ruth hide her identity from Boaz? Would it be reasonable for Boaz to not know who Ruth was, especially in a small town like Bethlehem?
* Why might it be important for Ruth to hide her true relationship with Boaz at the threshing floor? Should she be considered deceitful by hiding her relationship with Boaz? Why or why not?
* Do you think Boaz was surprised by Ruth’s presence where he was lying down for the evening?
* Some might argue that Ruth was trying to seduce Boaz (remembering “the feet” might be a euphemism for the male genitals). Do you think Ruth was doing something “underhanded” to gain favor or to pressure Boaz into marrying her?
* In the middle of today’s story Boaz purchases Elimelech’s land although Boaz is not the one who was “supposed” to redeem the land. What would the importance of Boaz repurchasing the land that Naomi was selling?
* What might the significance be of ascribing Ruth’s fertility to an act of God? Might that have an impact on the remainder of Ruth’s story or the descendant’s story?
* Why do you think Naomi was told she was blessed by Ruth’s son since Naomi would have no blood claim to the child (Ruth was not her daughter and Boaz was not a direct relation of hers)?
* How might the story of Naomi, Boaz, and Ruth be one that helps describe God’s redeeming grace for the chosen people of Israel?
* How might we see this story as one of hope for us as a Parish?
* How might we be challenged to action from this passage?

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