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Visiting Bethlehem

Twenty- first Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 23)

Ruth 1:1–19a

Peace Lutheran Church in Plainfield, IL

 

Let us pray: Almighty God, You show mercy to Your people in all their troubles. Grant us always to recognize Your goodness, give thanks for Your compassion, and praise Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 

 

 

Is It Christmas yet?  Rumor has it that some stores already are getting their Christmas displays out, even before Reformation Day, or as some also call the day, Halloween.

 

Visiting Bethlehem: Christmas, God who takes on Flesh and blood is born in Bethlehem

 

OT Reading pre-dates the birth of Christ.  Actually Christ is a descendant of Ruth and Naomi.

 

Account, Family from Bethlehem (house of bread) because of the famine, which God uses to remind people that He is the only God.

 

 

They leave Bethlehem, important. Go to Moab. Moab not God’s Chosen people, not believers in the promises of God.  At many times bitter rivals resulting in many conflicts.

 

But in Moab they settle and start a new life.  Sons marry, but then the males die,  Leaving Naomi, Ruth, and Or-pah as widows.

 

The Title Visiting Bethlehem, Who is visiting Bethlehem, Christ is visiting Bethlehem.

 

Ruth 1:6 (ESV)  

Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food.

 

Naomi tries to send back her daughter-in-laws,  they would have to live like aliens, refugees,

 

 

Ruth 1:16–17 (ESV)

16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”

 

So Ruth God with, regardless of the consequences.

Now there is much more to Ruth, more about that in our Bible Study, or you can read it on later.

But we find out that one of Ruth future descents is King David and ultimately Jesus the Christ.  So like most Disney movies, Ruth ends much happier than when it began.

 

But for us what does this mean?  What is our take-a-ways from this?

 

 

Visiting Bethlehem: Where Does Christ promise to Be?

Word and Sacrament, like Ruth and Naomi, we return for deliverance.

They return where Christ promises to be.

 

We also return Where Christ promises to Be.  Here, where God’s Word is preached and His sacraments are administered.

 

Luther Large Catechism: Therefore, it is appropriately called food of the soul, for it nourishes and strengthens the new creature.[1]

 

 

We must never regard the sacrament as a harmful thing from which we should flee, but as a pure, wholesome, soothing medicine that aids you and gives life in both soul and body. For where the soul is healed, the body is helped as well. Why, then, do we act as if the sacrament were a poison that would kill us if we ate of it?[2]

 

As we gather at our Bethlehem so to speak, here at Peace Lutheran in Plainfield.  Christ delivers us.  He feeds us with His Word and sacraments which delivers us both physically and spiritually.

 

Just like in the Gospel reading where Jesus heals 10 leapers you see that physical deliverance and that spiritual deliverance.

 

So why are we not leaving in the Disney story book, and they lived happilya ever after.

Why,  will we get that answer from the prayer of the day.  Almighty God, You show mercy to Your people in all their troubles. Grant us always to recognize Your goodness, give thanks for Your compassion, and praise Your holy name;

 

God is showing mercy to his people, as in the 4th petition

 

The Fourth Petition

Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean?

God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread?

Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

 

Christ has blessed us, and still continues to bless us.  We pray Lord help us to realize this, that our lives depend upon Christ and He will care for us in His own way.

 

Our sinful nature is what closes our eyes to God’s blessings, and so we grumble, because we are not seeing God’s grace in action.

 

Christ visits us, He gives us our daily bread, He bless is with faithful pastors like Pastor Sollie.  He visits us with Good gifts.

 

77 more days until we celebrate Christ’s visiting us in Bethlehem. But we don’t have to wait, Christ comes here and now and visits us in Word and Sacrament.  So we can start the celebrations now. In His name Amen.

[1] Kolb, R., Wengert, T. J., & Arand, C. P. (2000). The Book of Concord: the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (p. 469). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

[2] Kolb, R., Wengert, T. J., & Arand, C. P. (2000). The Book of Concord: the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (p. 474). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Written by dballa

October 8, 2016 at 1:46 pm

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