Dear Lord, you continue to restore our soul. You never leave us empty nor alone but send angels to accompany us on the journey. Thank you for new beginnings and ways forward; a future unimagined but already prepared by your grace. Amen.

I am fascinated by the two women presented in this Sunday’s Old Testament lesson. Ruth and Naomi are a poor, transient, widowed, intergenerational, immigrant pair alone in the world. It is difficult to imagine the total complexity of their circumstances, although COVID-19 has certainly provided some perspective.

They are bound together by love and remained together through thick and thin, putting aside their differences and joining forces for their common good. They unselfishly chose to help one another rather than abandoning, becoming indifferent, jealous, or mean. Together, they create a paradigm of intentional support and dismiss all the cultural mores of their day. Because of that, they not only survive what might have otherwise been impossible alone, but their sorrow turns to joy.

I love the witness of these women and the lessons they teach about love of God and love of neighbor. We see in them both strength and vulnerability and what can happen when we lean into our shared needs and desires in the present rather than focusing on what was or used to be.

Of course, it should never be lost that the poor displaced Ruth was an “outsider”, a Moabite “pagan” from an “undesirable” tribe who went on to become the great grandmother of King David, the greatest king in all of Israel. And from her line, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was born. Just look at the awesomeness of God and what fidelity and faithful love looks like in the day-to-day realities of life!

Who are the Naomis and Ruths that have committed to walking through the darkness with you? Who are the ones who refuse to leave you in despair and keep choosing you over and over and over again?

Why not take some time this week to acknowledge and celebrate them? Give a call, write a note, send flowers, or do something special. At the very least, call their names out loud into the universe and give thanks, for their light is shining in on you, even in this very moment.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Cathy