Scripture Aesthetics: Ruth

If you’ve never experienced the short book of Ruth, it’s definitely worth a read. These four chapters folded into the Old Testament showcase the goodness of God in an earthy, glorious way that almost overwhelms the senses. Romance, intrigue, grief, faithfulness, and fearless determination wind themselves together, bound up tight with the scarlet thread of redemption pointing ever toward the Savior who would be born into this same family in this same town over a thousand years later. I’d like to use a bit of artistic license in fleshing out an aesthetic for the three main characters as a creative experiment.

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Word: 30 Ways to Begin, Part 1

The preparations are all finished. You’ve got a cozy little nook waiting for you, a chunk of time blocked out just for this, essential supplies at the ready, an alert mind, and a soft heart. Now what?

We took our time getting settled because I wanted the process of preliminaries to be as non-scary as possible. Now that we’ve arrived at the starting line, I’d like to offer a wide assortment of ideas to get your creative energy flowing.

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Mud Wrestling

(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on February 11, 2019. You can find it here.)

You know those gentle proddings from Jesus away from one thing and toward another, the kind that easily guide you along life’s journey? Apparently those don’t work on me. Apparently I need the spiritual equivalent of a two-by-four upside the head to get my attention.

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Word: Arranging Your Heart

The Wizard of Oz always fascinated me. Maybe it was the singing and the dancing or the pair of glittery heels with the power to change everything that impacted me so much. Or when reality shifted from greyscale to Technicolor and the world was new. I think, at the bottom, it was the characters. Remember the Tin Man? While the Scarecrow desired a brain and the Lion wanted courage, the Tin Man longed for a heart. How often have I found myself in those same metal shoes, not really feeling stupid and not really feeling afraid, but not really feeling much of anything because the heart is out of place?

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

(Psalm 139:13-16)

Texts like this one show me just how much of an unbeliever I am. Sure, I sing about Jesus at church. My husband is a pastor, for goodness’ sake. But when it comes to my perspective on me, I look much more like an atheist than a cross-clinger.

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Word: Readying Your Mind

Have you ever gone on a picnic, realizing too late you forgot the picnic basket (piled high with scrumptious bites and sips) on the table at home? I mean, that’s kind of a major part of the outing’s whole point, right? You could call that the picnic that wasn’t. In the same way, you can make all the preparations for studying Scripture and leave your brain behind. (Not speaking from experience or anything. Nope, nope, nope. Okay, fine. Maybe.)

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A Few of My Favorite Things

February is upon us, swirling the air almost pink, while freshly-baked treats beckon us to reconnect our scattered hearts. May you taste a hundred different kinds of love this month—the comforting kind, the surprising kind, the brave-making kind, the creative kind, the tearful kind, the forgiving kind, the steady kind. No matter where this season finds you, pull someone close and be Jesus to one another. We are a family marked deeply by love, and we leave trails of it wherever we go.

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Word: Collecting the Essentials

You’ve claimed your space. Established a time. Now the fun part: hunting for the ideal set of tools! My heart goes into low-level mourning every September when I re-realize I’ve grown out of new school supplies—a shiny backpack, lined paper, glittery folders, sharp-pointed pencils that leave No. 2 lead on my hands. Pastel paper clips and pretty rulers, sticky notes in an assortment of colors.

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