Jewish and Christian Reflections on the Book of Ruth
Sunday, August 8
2 – 4 pm
Shrine Visitors Center
Presenters: Maharat Rori Picker Neiss and Mark Etling, PhD
Time and again in the Hebrew Scriptures the passing of God’s covenant promises from one generation to the next appears to be in jeopardy, or to be carried on outside the accepted norms of the Chosen People. Abraham and Sarah were well beyond childbearing age when Isaac was conceived. Through trickery Isaac passed the birthright to his younger son Jacob rather than Esau, his firstborn. Rachel, the second wife of Jacob who was thought to be barren, gave birth to Joseph, who would bring about the migration of the Chosen People to Egypt.
A similar crisis is the setting for the Book of Ruth. Naomi must deal with the deaths of her husband Elimelech and her two sons. She wonders who will carry forward God’s covenant promises, since neither of her daughters-in-law is an Israelite. One of them, Ruth, meets a man from Bethlehem named Boaz, who happens to be a relative of Elimelech. After a circuitous courtship, Ruth and Boaz marry and have a son whom they name Obed. Again God’s will is somehow accomplished – Obed will become the grandfather of the great king David. It does appear that “God writes straight with crooked lines.”
Join us for an interfaith discussion of this intriguing Old Testament story, led by Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, and Mark Etling, Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation at St. Nicholas Parish in O’Fallon, Illinois.
For more information: 618.394.6281