Evening Prayer: June 22nd

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Psalm: 119:121-144
Gospel: Luke 22:14-23
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a Treatise on Friendship by St. Aelred

Here is a true and perfect friendship, solid and eternal: a friendship that envy does not corrupt, suspicion does not diminish or ambition wipe out. It does not cease even under such a trial; even under such a battering it does not collapse. Assailed with abuse, it stands firm; beaten with insults, it does not bend. Go thou, and do likewise.

While I could talk about the institution of the Lord’s Supper tonight, I’ve already done that in Holy Week…and given my Roman Catholic background it stands to reason that I will return to it eventually lol ;).

Take a look at the quote from St. Aelred…..it certainly gives me some food for thought. Who has been a Jonathan in your life? Who has stuck by you in times of trouble, rebellion, and fear??? I leave you with those simple questions…..and thank God for those who are my best friends 🙂 <3.

Evening Prayer: Feb. 26th (Combo post)

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Psalms: 137, 144, 104
Old Testament: Ruth 4:1-17
New Testament: 2 Cor 4:13-5:10
Gospel: Matt 6:1-6
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a commentary on Ecclesiastes of St. Gregory of Agrigenteum

[Blessed be the LORD]….for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, [who has now borne a son] (Ruth 4:15)

Children–particularly male children– were extremely important in the ancient world. They were the ones who would inherit wealth and act as the main earner of income as adults.

Saying that Ruth is worth more than seven sons…what an incredible statement to make. Not only does it highlight the loyalty between the two women, but it flies in the face of virtually every social convention of that period.

I think it serves as an example for us too. In our relationships–both familial and friendly–we are called to be supportive and uplifting. Notice that supportive and uplifting does not mean warm and fuzzy; at least not all the time :).

Naomi advises Ruth to do some pretty challenging and self-debasing actions in order to secure her daughter-in-laws well-being and livelihood. It’s not easy to swallow that kind of advice, but Ruth places her trust both in God and Naomi that things will work out.

We need those kinds of people in our lives too. People who keep it real, and value us more than seven sons. I hope and pray that such individuals make themselves known and felt in your life.+

Morning Prayer: Feb. 22nd

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Psalms: 121, 122, 123
Old Testament: Ruth 1:15-22
New Testament: 2 Corinthians 1:12-22

Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die—
there will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me,
and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!’ (Ruth 1:16b-17)

In this astonishing speech, Ruth reaffirms her commitment and love for Naomi…but there is something else going on here…something much more subtle, and probably more recognizable by the contemporary Jewish audience who first read this story.

The Book of Ruth is unique in the Biblical canon in that it focuses on the outsider. Together with the Book of Jonah, it is not simply a tale of intrigue and ethics, but of conversion.

Ruth’s declaration that Naomi’s people shall be hers, and that she will henceforth worship YHWH is a move away from her polytheistic Moabite religion.

In the ancient world, to change religion was not only to change one’s mind about the nature of metaphysics, but it it ran the risk of leaving your family, society, and culture of origin.

This is not the first time we have seen such action. In Genesis 15, a young Abram was asked by the LORD to get up and leave Ur….to forsake his ties to the world he had known and to embark on a new journey…with little more than a promise to go off of.

Ruth is doing the same thing here….and she follows up her declaration with an oath. The whole “may thus and thus be done to me” is an echo of the language surrounding a covenant sacrifice.

In a covenant sacrifice…the two parties of a contract would cut up various animals on an altar and then walk between the dead carcasses. The message: “May I be like these dead animals if I break the promises I have made with you today.”

I wonder what would happen if we took even half of our words and commitment to others with this kind of seriousness. My guess is people would be much more hesitant to make promises they can’t keep…and we might have a little more honesty in the world.+

Morning Prayer: Feb. 21st

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Psalm: 106:1-18
Old Testament: Ruth 1:1-14
New Testament: 2 Cor 1:1-11

Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. (Ruth 1:11)

Today we start the story of Ruth; a Gentile Moabite woman who eventually becomes the great-grandmother of King David. The story itself explores the question of fidelity and proper moral behaviour.

This morning, we are introduced to Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi who are travelling together back to Judah in the hopes of escaping a famine.

Prior to starting this trek, all three women had been part of a happy family. Now they find themselves destitute, grief stricken and starving.

This is a story about women who support each other and do everything possible to ensure the safety and well being of the other. As the next few days progress, let us read and learn+

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