“Remember this portion of the story of God, as it is written in the book that we love…”
I had the chance to witness Abigail Baki’s ministry last fall, as she recited the book of Ruth at First Lutheran’s “Refresh and Renew with Ruth” retreat. Our church’s Care and Health Coordinator, Jordan Stone, connected Abi to the retreat’s planning team, and her recitation of Scripture added so much to our weekend. When it was determined we would do a preaching series on Ruth this summer, I knew I wanted to bring Abi in as a special guest in worship so she could share this ministry of dramatic interpretation with all of you.
Abi learned the craft of dramatic Scripture interpretation and memorization through Northwestern College’s Dramatic Ministries Ensemble. You can get a sense of her ministry from this video, which showcases Abi reciting from 1 Samuel chapters 1 and 2.
Come this weekend to any of our services, and be blessed by God’s word as Abi gives a lively recitation of all four chapters of Ruth. This book is an incredible tale of devastating loss, loyalty, compassion, bravery, and hope. Abi’s interpretation, and a short sermon of mine to follow, will serve as a fitting bookend to the themes we’ve been discussing this entire month. If you can’t make it in person this weekend, you can later view our broadcast.
May God’s redeeming love be the source of your joy, this day and always!
Pastor Katherine Olson
Have you ever noticed the “virtue windows” in the sanctuary narthex, where the doors lead us out to Dakota Avenue? Their unique messages and designs have always caught my eye, including this window celebrating the virtue of prudence.
Prudence is one of those quiet, unassuming virtues that doesn’t get much attention in our modern culture, but I see this positive quality displayed in the lives of many of the folks I have come to care about at First Lutheran. When one exhibits prudence, one is behaving cautiously, wisely, and diligently—with a regard for the future.
These are the grounds on which Judas attacks Mary of Bethany in this Sunday’s Gospel reading. He observes her anointing Jesus’ feet with costly perfume, and he (like a 90’s era Dana Carvey imitating President George H.W. Bush) waggles his finger and accuses, “That’s not prudent!” He points out that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor—a bogus objection considering he was the one who regularly helped himself from the disciples’ common purse.
Jesus defended Mary’s extravagant, generous gift. In doing so, perhaps Jesus shows us there is a need to be prudent with the use of prudence. It is good and right to live one’s life wisely and diligently, with a regard for the future and a healthy dose of self-control. But there are times when God’s love may compel us to actions that are less than prudent—especially for the sake of blessing others.
The act of love given by Mary to Jesus—as she anointed his feet just before his burial—was beautiful and right, but it wasn’t prudent. So too, the love Jesus has for his own is not exactly prudent. The selfless, gracious mercy he gave to sinners would cost him his life.
With this prodigal love of God in mind, I’ll be preparing my sermon for Sunday. Join me in pondering, and I hope to see you in church this weekend.
P.S. Seminarian Adam Guthmiller will be delivering the sermon on Saturday, and I’ll be preaching on Sunday. Consider attending the Saturday service at 5 p.m., and come again to one of our services at 8, 9:30, or 11 on Sunday morning (and don’t forget we have the 11 o’clock KSFY broadcast and YouTube channel as well). Attending two services over the weekend, hmm. Wouldn’t be prudent….but could be good for the soul!