Year B, Ordinary 31 (Proper 26, Pentecost+24), 2018 – With You All the Way
Greetings!! Right on the heels of Job, we have two weeks in the book of Ruth. Whereas Job spent about 40 chapters looking for God, the Almighty doesn’t make a personal appearance in this story at all, except for a brief mention in verse six. This book is about two women, one of whom is determined to live on behalf of the other and through her own perseverance and love, brings about a restored life for them both. Ruth’s vow not to leave Naomi is moving and a fantastic example of devotion and loving a neighbor as oneself. In Mark, a scribe happens on a debate Jesus is having with the Sadducees and is impressed enough to ask him a question that has been much on his mind. Which is the greatest law? Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6 and Leviticus 19 and the scribe is even more impressed. Wouldn’t it be interesting if this person turned out to be the anonymous (or at least, unknown) author of Hebrews who makes a strong case for Jesus being the High Priest and perfect, eternal sacrifice? We have no way of knowing this, but if it were, we see that Jesus’ conversation with him really stuck with him. As Ruth stuck to Naomi, and as Jesus’ role as priest, sacrifice, and teacher show us, God has given us the capacity to be with one another all the way.
This week’s texts are:
Ruth 1:1-18 [04:12]
The book of Ruth always gets the WORD nerd in me going because there are so many names in this story. Not only the people, but the places. Since Ruth is mentioned by name in Jesus’ genealogy, her name is important so we suggest looking up the names of the characters in this story and maybe the names of the characters in your congregation! For an EYE smart special effect, see if you can borrow some crematory urns as tangible stand ins for the three deceased men. Namoi drops some solid logic on her daughters-in-law in order to convince them to go back home to Moab, so use this as an illustration for MATH smart. You could also crunch the number of years it would take for any new son of Naomi to be old enough to marry. The end of chapter one is sliced off but it’s where Naomi gets home and tells her old neighbors to call her “Mara” because of the bitter circumstances of her life. We have all felt that grief and despair, so describe it in BODY smart. We have some laments for MUSIC smart and some questions to ponder in SELF smart.
- Smarts – Word [05:40], Eye [06:44], Math [07:26], Body [08:42], Music [09:24], Self [10:57]
- Ruth 1 worksheet
- Links in Ruth
Hebrews 9:11-15 [12:54]
Blood is mentioned four times in three verses in this passage, so we think a special effect for EYE smart could be quite memorable. If you don’t want to go there, we have some suggestions for science experiments, instead. Logic is front and center again in MATH smart and we have a list of hymns on the worksheet for MUSIC smart. We have a link to why the ashes of a red heifer were used for purification in worship in antiquity for NATURE smart.
- Smarts – Eye [14:00], Math [17:26], Music [18:40], Nature [19:23]
- Hebrews 9 worksheet
- Links in Hebrews
- EYE smart –
- MATH smart –
- The lesser to greater argument, a form of a fortiori, is used here.
- MUSIC smart –
- Here’s a list of hymns about blood at Hymnary.org
- NATURE smart –
- A little background on the ashes of a red heifer for purification.
Mark 12:28-34 [20:09]
The scribes’ job was to keep records and teach them to the people. We have a way to illustrate just what a large job this would have been and how Jesus reduced this scribe’s workload in MATH smart! As each part of the body is read in this passage, encourage your congregation to touch that part for a BODY smart special effect. We also have a line dance that could work here or in MUSIC smart. David wrote a paraphrase to the tune of “Heart and Soul”! (And now I have that ear worm again.) And for PEOPLE smart, we have an illustration of how some people in Ohio learned to love their neighbors. Jill Duffield has an interesting interpretation on the interaction between the scribe and Jesus, too!
- Smarts – Math [22:16], Body [25:36], Music [25:51], People [28:58]
- Mark 12 worksheet
- Links in Mark
- MUSIC smart –
- PEOPLE smart –