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Growing up, I tried to be a good Christian so that I could squeak by in life unscathed by pain and sorrow. The formula went something like this: Be good, follow the rules, go to church, say your prayers, and God will reward you with a happy life. I pictured...
Loving God, help me to let go and trust in your love. Amen.
Ruth and Psalm 146 share a thematic connection. Ruth is a foreigner who decides to follow the God of the Israelites, and the psalmist praises God for being the trustworthy God who cares about the poor, the oppressed, and the foreigner. In Ruth, Boaz will demonstrate this kind of care for her. The New Testament readings focus on sacrifice. Hebrews teaches us that Christ was both the greatest high priest and the eternal sacrifice. A scribe in Mark receives praise from Jesus, for he understands that the sacrificial system was less weighty than the act of loving one’s neighbor. Ruth and this scribe are examples of those, named and anonymous, who have come before us in the faith. We celebrate them on All Saints Day.
• Read Ruth 1:1-18. When have you left the familiar behind to set out into the unknown? Where did you experience God’s presence and help?
• Read Psalm 146. When you have found yourself in despair about the world, where have you witnessed God’s work that brings you hope?
• Read Hebrews 9:11-14. How willing are you to release your bag of sins and shortcomings to Jesus?
• Read Mark 12:28-34. In what ways do you understand yourself as a spiritual being having a human experience? What does that mean to you?
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The worship, preaching, and teaching for The Upper Room’s RESILIENCE conference was among the best I have ever experienced. The event was extremely well organized and went so smoothly. The Upper Room continues to make so much impact on people around the world.”