05 March 2014

Sincerely, Ruth

Ruth 1-2

My story is not yet over,
I am still here today
in other people who cross your way -
do you see me?

I am the widow who's lost everything.
I am the foreigner - different and strange.
I am the immigrant in a strange new world.
I am the refugee, left homeless suddenly.
I am the mourning one, uncomforted.
I am your neighbour,
waiting for your love,
wanting to be your friend.

Will you, like Boaz, welcome me,
invite me, accept me, help me?
Will you meet me with words of love,
of blessing,
and be a neighbour to me?

I want
your land to be my land -
will you help me?


 [May 2012]

Ruth was a Moabite, a foreigner. She had lost everything except for her mother-in-law. What I admire about her is how, despite having experienced so much trouble herself, she gave everything to help Naomi, her mother-in-law. But another thing her story impressed on me was how there's still many Ruths (not only women but also men) around us today. Foreigners, people who have had hard experiences, people who have lost everything, people who are trying to adapt to a new country.

So often, the reaction to foreigners is xenophobia. People are always complaining about immigrants and foreigners, here in Europe the far-right are harping on and on about "islamisation" and acting very coldly towards foreigners, especially Muslims, instead of showing them love and acceptance.

As a Christian I believe we are meant to meet foreigners - whatever their background, race, or religion - with love and acceptance. It's what Jesus would do. It's what Boaz did to Ruth - a woman from a country which had often been the enemy of his!

Look around you: are there any Ruths there? People who have been displaced, who are new in the area and still can't find the post office on their own, who have trouble with the language, who have a troublesome past behind them and need comfort, who are waiting for you to give them love and be their friend?

The story of Ruth is not just a story about a woman who lived long ago that we can read and think "nice story" and then put it down again. It should make us think today, it should make us realise what people around us, especially immigrants, foreigners, refugees, are going through and how we can help them.

Read Ruth 1-2
Take a look at how Boaz treats Ruth.
Where is there a Ruth today whom you can be a Boaz to?

I wrote this simultaneously in German and English, so as to use the German for a mini-sermon back in '12. Can't find the "decent" German one though, only the scrappy version, so... tut mir leid! :( Vielleicht taucht's noch auf...

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