Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ruth 1:1-18

Pentecost +22 - Year B

Ruth 1:1-18

When looking at the rest of the Hebrew scriptures we find Moabites at odds with Israelites. When looking at this particular tale, there is no tension.

In the midst of bumper-sticker and 10-second sound-bite politics, the harangues of pundits of every stripe provide classic examples of stereotyping, straw arguments, and excluded middles (and so much more - pick a logical fallacy and you’ll find it in their enthusiasm to be right), the blessing we yet hear and know as still possible is that, on the personal level, two disparate people can still find one another as beloveds.

When the discouragement of “news” and rumors/realities of war get you down, remember Mahlon and Orpah, Chilion and Ruth, Ruth and Naomi, and Ruth and Boaz. Love in the midst of other differences makes all the difference. In this story that shows how poorly conceived are tribal differences we find hope that as the laws against miscegenation fell, one-by-one and all together, so shall the laws regarding same-gender marriage.

We can even cast our hope wider so it is not just individuals, but whole nations, that can pledge hesed (loyalty) to one another by way of a larger picture where everyone benefits more through peace than our status quo. A recent paper looks at the UN in this light. The last paragraph reads: “In short, what is required is a complete revolution in our values and ways of living. It is not at all surprising to me that the UN and its initiatives spark controversy and fear among many in our society. The thought of a world in which all people live happily and contentedly is, on the surface, a very nice idea, but in practice a hugely difficult thing to achieve for those of us who are accustomed to live with privilege. And yet, if we are willing to revise our vision, we will see giving up that privilege, if it leads to a more peaceful world, might just be worth it. On this UN Sunday, I would encourage us to follow the model of Eleanor Roosevelt, roll up our sleeves and support the radical work of the UN.”

Instead of putting the roles of Ruth and Naomi off on Eleanor, how might little ol’ you pay attention to both the personal and public parts of your life? In part it is a choice of loyalties. May you grow into a larger loyalty to expansive and expanding love, no matter what privilege the rest of your cohorts cling to.

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