November 5, 2019
November 5, 2019
Today’s reading from Ruth centers on the act of “finding home,” especially crucial for Ruth who was a Moabite, not a Hebrew. For some of us, our home found us—caring family, food on the table, comfortable house, nice hometown, and close friends. But we don’t have to drive far to find someone with a hand-lettered, cardboard sign that reads “HOMELESS.” And we probably know people who live in nice houses but still do not feel “at home.”
The Acts reading from Stephen’s sermon reminds us that God’s people were once slaves in Egypt, where they were not “at home”; and in their suffering, they waited for God to send a deliverer. Their condition of homelessness was marked by hunger, debt, and oppression.
“Home” in the Bible has many meanings. In Ruth 3:1, the word “home” (NIV) can also be translated “security” (NRSV). Two kinds of homelessness—needing an affordable, secure place to live, and the “homelessness” of feeling alienated from those around us—are formidable challenges that are not easily overcome by individuals acting alone. Ruth was helped by Naomi’s wise counsel and Boaz’s intervention, and by God’s blessing of her faithfulness.
“Home” also means “belonging,” finding a safe place to form our identity. On the deepest level, we understand that none of us are at home unless we are at home with God. God’s great love for us makes this possible. God’s longing to be at home with us is a refrain throughout the Bible, from God’s choosing a tent as a “dwelling place” to go with the people wherever they wandered to the closing chapters in Revelation that promise “the home of God is with mortals.”
QUESTIONS FOR THE FIELD
- What are the causes of homelessness? What mission ventures by our church work to help the homeless? What more can we do to help people find a home and also to “be at home”?
- In what ways is the church a home?
FAMILY FIELD TALK
- Ask everyone to draw a picture of “home.” Share the pictures and talk about what makes each person feel at home.
- What objects are important in making a home? Around your picture of home, draw or paste pictures of objects that are necessary for living at home. Are some of these objects also found in church?
Dear God, your Son Jesus was born in a shed, fled from his homeland as a child, was chased from his hometown when he preached and had no place to lay his head. And yet you sent him to show us the way to your home with many rooms. You have spread a table before us and invited us to share bread with all Jesus’ friends. Abide with us; dwell with us, that we may be at home with all your creation. Amen.