Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Vacation @ Camp Calumet: Ruth Bible Study

While I've been hanging out at Camp Calumet Lutheran since the December 27th as a volunteer retreat chaplain, most of time has been spent sitting by the fire, enjoy a couple hikes and just generally relaxing with my new fiancee Molly.  Overall, it's been an amazingly fun and rejuvenating time and I'm very much looking forward to the next two days I have here.  The loose theme we've had for the week is "Don't Forget," and we've been talking about the many ways God is present in everyday life.  Yesterday for morning devotions we used Psalm 148 to begin thinking about how God is reflected in creation and how creation sings It's praises.  In the afternoon we gathered around the fireplace to discuss how God is present in the lives of not just kings, prophets and pastors, but everyone.

We centered this hour of "God talk" on the story of two everyday folks, Ruth and Naomi, and how God was present in their sometimes very difficult lives.  It's a shame really that the book of Ruth gets relegated to just women's Bible studies, because there is so much there that we all can learn from.  After reading through the whole story, we had a very free flowing conversation about how it feels like God abandons us at times, much like how Ruth and Naomi felt.  Most of our discussion however centered on the Hebrew concept of khesed/ חֶסֶד, or (roughly translated as) loving kindness and loyalty.  Ruth, Naomi and Boaz all display acts of khesed throughout the story, and its often through those everyday "khesed moments" where folks are acting in right relationship that we experience God in our lives.  More often than not we don't even notice those khesed moments where someone might open a door for us or share a kind word.  During this Christmas season though, as we celebrate the coming of Christ into our lives, we can also take some extra time to pay attention and celebrate those khesed moments while experiencing the in-breaking of God's kingdom into our lives.

Later today we'll be talking about a Lutheran concept of evangelism and how God acts through us when we share the gospel with others... stay tuned for an update on what promises to be another great conversation at Camp Calumet!

God's peace,

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