When I was young, my dad used to tell us stories. I had two favorites that I would always ask for. One was the story of Daniel and the other was the story of Ruth. We learned of a family who were forced to immigrate to another country because of the famine in Bethlehem, but were chased by devastation. I loved to hear about Ruth. He would tell of the drama and pain of losing her husband, his brothers and father. How she loved this new family and her new mother, and didn’t not want to leave her when things got hard for these immigrants. How she chose to follow Naomi into a new land and live with a new people and a new religion. We heard of her struggles to feed herself and Naomi and how she had to work and struggle to get by. And we learned about how life moved on, how a new love could be found and a new family created. Dad taught us about how God would change the life of this immigrant and make her the great grandmother of King David.
The story of Ruth still tugs at my heart strings. This is the story of three people, Naomi, Ruth and Boaz, who through tough circumstance find each other and figure out how to walk together on a path that leads to healing and wholeness. While Naomi wants to give up, through the hard work and persistence of Ruth, she is brought back to life and faith. Will we be like Naomi and dare to name the broken places in our lives and the world?
Boaz sees the hard work Ruth has put into feeding and taking care of Naomi who has given up. Boaz sees this love and help to ease Ruth’s burden by making finding food easier and his generosity leads to the creation of a new family and home. We we like Boaz, say let me help even if the cost is great and may change our lives.
Ruth is a woman who takes the law and challenges people to live beyond common practice, to live as God intended not as it is written. Ruth is a woman who pushes us to believe that the world can be different and then sets out to see that it happens. Ruth is a woman who comes to believe in God and then challenges others to be better in their faith. Will we like Ruth hear the brokenness in the world and commit to be there with others through the pain?
Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die, I will die—there will I be buried.” Ruth 1:16-17