Monthly Archives: November 2012

Building Houses

“Naomi [Ruth’s] mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shouldn’t I seek security for you, so that things might go well for you?” Ruth 3:1

These words spoken by a widow to a widow in a world where widows didn’t fair well, were only the beginning of a bold, brazen plan. Perhaps it was desperation or a matter of faith. We don’t know, but the outcome was worth it.

Naomi instructed Ruth to bathe, dress in her finest and put on her favorite perfume. Ruth did as instructed: she went to the threshing floor and waited for Boaz to fall asleep. She slipped in beside him and when he awoke she asked him to redeem her because he was a kinsman redeemer.

One wonders if Boaz was thinking about this anyway. If he was, he was slow and Naomi and Ruth didn’t have much time left. What they did was subversive, but they demanded of the Law the promise of a new chance at life.

Ruth would become one of the ancestors of Jesus. A man who reached out daily to widows and orphans and the poor and sinners. He redeemed not just those living on the edge of society: he redeemed the entire world. You and me and our neighbor.

I wonder at the courage it must have taken Ruth to approach Boaz knowing that he could ruin her reputation and her life. I wonder at the courage it took to reach out boldly for redemption.

What about me? Do I have the courage to move boldly into the unknown? Do I have what it takes to reach out boldly in the name of our Redeemer?

Ruth’s action could have cost her her life. Jesus’ action cost him his life. But both received new life and resurrection.

Maybe it’s not so difficult for us today in light of the odds that Ruth faced.

All glory and honor be to God. Amen.

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Fellow Saints & Sinners

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you…your God will be my God.” Ruth 1:16, 17b

Who are the people in your life who have made a difference?

I love the story of Ruth in the Bible. She’s courageous and caring. She moves to a strange land and culture with her mother-in-law and fellow widow, Naomi. She willingly takes on the culture and religion of this strange land.

They are poor, as widows often are. She understands about the Levi-rate Law that permits the poor to glean from the farmers’ fields. She goes to Boaz’s field, knowing that he is related to Naomi’s dead husband.

Ruth is an example of someone who manages to make her way through society. She knows the rules. Rather than be victimized by the rules she uses them to gain a new life for her and Naomi.

Naomi isn’t necessarily the likable person in this story. We don’t dislike her but we step back from her deep bitterness. Perhaps her pain is too much for us to bear. Bringing Ruth with her to Judea may have been a strain for her, but she does it without complaint.

She easily picks up on Ruth’s plan for gleaning in the fields of her kinsman Boaz. In fact she’s the one who provides the plan to get Boaz on their side to redeem them. In this simple but cunning plan Ruth approaches Boaz in the night; her actions are such that she is virtually asking him to marry her!

These characters are rich in personality. They have hurts like the rest of us. They have loved and lost. They’re afraid. We like them and we don’t like them.

And that’s why we honor fellow Christians who have passed on to be with God. Once a year we take time out to remember those who served us in our church or family. We remember them for their contributions and their love. We also remember the personality quirks and the way they stirred things up. We know them as quiet and gentle, complaining and perfectionists.

The important thing is: we remember them. We remember them because of the impact they had on our lives. Whether the example was positive or not so positive they made us better people than we would be without them.

Thankfully, we also have a redeemer. He was falsely accused and hung on a cross. But the way to him is wide open; not some circuitous path like Ruth and Naomi took.

The saints have been blessed by Christ. We bless them every time we remember them.

When we remember them, we are blessed by our memories of them. And sinners though we may be, we are also providing memories for others.
What will they remember about us when we are remembered on All Saints’ Day?
All glory and honor be to God.

 


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