Pastor’s Email Devotion
The Week of Pentecost 21
October 18, 2015
Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest. (Luke 9:48, NRSV)
It is that space that you struggle to fill. The shades of color at the boundaries are hard to peg with surety, and the contours of the edges are elusive. You reach that place where you are filling in other spots with greater ease, but that one hole in the puzzle glares at you. Just when you are sure that you have somehow lost the piece that belongs in that spot, you realize that there are now few enough pieces left to the puzzle, so that it your missing piece is suddenly easily identified. You press it into its spot.
I’m not exactly sure why I thought of puzzles this morning during the sermon, but as Pr. Daniel Rift spoke to the role of Ruth in today’s lesson, I found myself thinking about the odd pieces you come across in life … and Ruth, as one of those odd pieces. A foreigner to the Jewish culture … a person displaced from her home … a woman who loyalty to Naomi was admittedly unconventional … yes, Ruth was an odd piece of sorts. As Pr. Rift’s sermonic refrain pictured it: “Not my people. Not my family. Not my problem. Not my concern.” And yet … and yet … consider our biblical witness without this delightful story of Ruth. Yes, she is a necessary piece of our biblical puzzle.
So I got to thinking about the “odd pieces” of our world. You know who I mean … those people who don’t quite “fit.” Those folks who always catch the eye of people around them when they enter the room or open their mouths. And I also got to thinking about those times when I am the “odd piece.” Those times when my actions earn me the hairy eyeball from people around me. Those times when it is clear to me that I do not fit into the setting in which I find myself. And then, thanks to God’s gracious Word given to us, I also got to thinking about all those holes in the world that God fills with the “least” of us. That assurance that no matter how strangely configured we may be in general or at any given moment, God has a place and a calling for us. And that no matter how daunting a particular “hole” in the fabric of life may be, God always has a “piece” that will fill out that hole and complete the fabric of life and faith. So why not offer God thanks in your prayers this week, for Ruth, and the gift of faithful trust God placed within her. May God also lead you to find your place in life, and to allow that life to speak with power and grace to the world into which God calls us.
Gracious God, you are the champion of those who are ignored by the world, and those who wander at times between homes and callings. Bless me in my “Ruth-like” moments in life, to be open to the places and situations where you see me fitting in and serving. And give me the courage and faith to listen to your guidance in the face of those who may doubt me. For I ask this in the name of your Son, who has modeled this life as one of the “least” of the world. Amen.