“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.