Hello, my name is Naomi

September 23, 2020,
Good afternoon,

” Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years,  both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.”Ruth 1:3-5There is a lot of grief to be worked on for Ruth and Naomi here in the book of Ruth. It is stated here in three short verses of the first chapter. For this book, there are other reasons for the writing of this story . It is about being the redeemer, and about welcoming the “other” into the society. Remember Boaz ? Ruth has the wrong history. She was from the Moabite people. Israel has fought against them. The two sons of Jewish Elimelek and Naomi married outside the faith. They might have been thrown out of the Jewish faith for marrying in this way. So, Naomi returned to Israel, with this part of her history, and Ruth decided she must go along with her mother-in-law. Naomi would have very few rights as a former citizen of Bethlehem. 

Naomi makes the decision to return to her home community. Would she have to ask for forgiveness because of perceived sinful activity for allowing her sons to marry Moabite women. We would say no, but we are not part of that culture. They might even have the right to stone her. Ruth would be regarded as a stranger, a migrant. She might be considered less than a woman. They are guesses on my part . It is over 2500 years since the story was first told, and then written down. It is about the stranger and redemption, and so how does this translate into our worlds ? At best, it will be a good guess, and at worst it will be a wild guess ?

( Not a true story ) A woman who grew up Amish, just west of Newton, married a Presbyterian many years ago. She had two children, twins, a boy and a girl. Her husband dies of cancer after 10 years of marriage. The former Amish woman decides to not go to church because it is too hard. Her two children are killed in a  car accident in Alberta.  After many years of working at her grief alone, she returns to the Newton area, and wanders into the Poole Church.  How do we welcome her, a stranger to us, but someone known in the community ? What do we say ? Who invites her for lunch. She asks the pastor , ” Is this church a welcoming place for someone like me ?” What would you/I say ?
”  So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.”     Ruth 1:22

Each of us has a story to tell about our journey of life and faith. Salaam !

Tread on bold new paths!
Fireflies flash the direction
Hope springs eternal !          Monica Pieper Landoni 2020