Pentecost +23 - Year B
Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17
Speaking of widows who put in all they have, Ruth follows here in Tamar’s (both of them) footsteps and those of so many penniless women who choose sex as an option to their current desperate state of affairs or have it thrust upon them. Yes, much is left to innuendo here, but the general direction of the language is toward one or more sexual encounters. There are all too many current references to this reality. Here is recent article about child prostitution in Atlanta/America. Here is a recent novel, The Help
Sex still sells and might be the usual hook, but for today listen to how The Message closes the passage - “The neighborhood women started calling him ‘Naomi’s baby boy!’ But his real name was Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.”
This gives us opportunity to remember our own heritage when we have been identified in one way but understood ourselves to be another. Do you remember your previous nicknames? Do you remember having been put in one box or another, categorized, stereotyped? Isn’t it good to know your “real name.” Who are you today to yourself?
This also give opportunity to anticipate a larger future. Consider the mentoring role you are and could be playing. Who are you setting the stage for? Can you rejoice in who is going to stand on your shoulders? If you are still in a congregation, what congregation are you invested in, preparing for, and also ready to step out of the way of that it might blossom and grow?
Out of this new constellation of your past, present, and future, may you stand with and for marginalized women (and men) of your time.