The Voice of Ruth
Read Ruth 1:16-18
It began in tragedy, with wailing and the gnashing of teeth, but it did not end there, as God brought forth joy from sorrow, hope from despair. However, the God of Israel blessed me, and a descendent of the child from my womb would fulfil his promise.
My name is Ruth and I greet you from the city of Moab.
I was young when I met my first husband. He was handsome and kind, and it was not long before I fell head over heels in love with him. He had come with his brother and his parents to build a new life in our city. They did this, and we were happy.
It didn’t stay that way though. Disease came to our land and gripped it, squeezing the very lifeblood from it, killing many. My husband, his brother and father all died, leaving my mother-in-law Naomi with nothing, barely surviving in a land that wasn’t hers.
In desperation she decided to return home, to go back to Bethlehem, and my sister-in-law and I chose to go with her. What would that mean?
The answer was clear; we would have to leave all we had ever known for the unknown; trading all we had ever believed for a new belief and a’ new God.
A little way into our journey, Naomi urged us to go back to. our families; to start again, to move on, to weigh up what we were really leaving behind. .
My sister-in-law turned back, but I could not.
“Let me come with you,” I insisted. “Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.”
We travelled back to Judea, but when we arrived we had nothing. People huddled together in groups, pointing at us and making cutting remarks. No one helped. No one offered the hand of friendship. They didn’t even give us some food.
Naomi had a distant relative named Boaz though. He was kind and let me gather corn from the sides of his field that the workers had left behind. One day I caught his eye. He smiled at me and we talked. As the days and the weeks wore on, we grew closer. I was encouraged to flirt and... next thing I knew, we were married!
Now I had a new husband, and my new God blessed our union with a son. When he had grown, he become the father of Jesse, who become the father of King David, who founded the family into which the Messiah would be born...
God of Naomi and Ruth, help me to reach out to those around me who have found themselves in difficult places. Help me to walk alongside the lonely, to feed the hungry, to shelter the homeless and to love the unloved. Show me how we might bring hope and love to others this Christmas.
Show me how I can forge hope from sorrow in people’s lives