‘The Power of Story’: a sermon on Ruth 1

Some day I will post something other than a sermon here. Really I will. I have a whole host of drafts and otherwise unfinished ideas. You’ll see them…as soon as I access my inner Rocky Supinger.

This past Sunday we kicked off a new sermon series on the book of Ruth — by necessity, much shorter than the previous Acts of the Apostles series as Ruth consists of a mere four chapters. I have three weeks to play with, so we’ll read almost the whole book during this series.

I haven’t often listed sources consulted as I prepare sermons. They are usually just nuggets I read, see, or hear throughout the week from books, blogs, videos, radio, TV, and podcasts. But this week I relied more heavily on two books:

Katharine Doob Sakenfeld’s Ruth, part of the series Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching.

A useful book from my seminary days…who knew?!?

And What is the Bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell.

Boy, that title, right? Whatever you may think of Bell, there is no denying he has a high view of what scripture can do.

My intended thesis: “Optimism is rebellion.” Ruth is a rebel. We need to be rebels too.

Oh, as I say in the sermon, that brilliant, beautiful “Optimism is rebellion” line comes from Laurence Holmes’ excellent podcast, “The House of L.”

Moab plays quite the significant role in this story, so I used this map to help visualize where the story’s action (or, you know, lack thereof) takes place:

Moab map (Ruth series)

The sermon is a little long for our standards — but still shorter than many of the “teaching’ models I see employed by churches in our area. So I won’t apologize for that. I spent a decent amount of time trying to set the macro view. It is up to you, dear listener, to decide if I succeed in that effort. What do you think?

“There is plenty in our city, in our country, in our world to be pessimistic about. But rebellions are built on hope. No matter what horrible thing our president does or says next, we can be rebels of hope and optimism by standing along side those on the margins of society. The vulnerable ones among us. We need to be this kind of rebel.”









3 thoughts on “‘The Power of Story’: a sermon on Ruth 1

  1. Pingback: Ruth the Rom Com? a sermon on Ruth 2 – All That I Can't Leave Unsaid

  2. Pingback: Ruth: The New Order, a sermon on Ruth 3&4 – All That I Can't Leave Unsaid

  3. Pingback: Story, not a sermon – All That I Can't Leave Unsaid

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