Tis the season, and so I find my thought turning to scriptures and relationships. I mean, this is the moment when many folks celebrate the birth of Jesus, right? I got to thinking, Jesus was a descendent of David—that was what got Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem. And David was the son of Jesse, the grandson of Obed and the great grandson of Ruth.
Now my brain does two things with that.
First, Ruth is one of my favorite People of the Book – Ruth of Ruth and Naomi. And that is what this blog is really about.
But second, there is Ruth my sister, and it occurs to me that I have finally recognized Ruthie’s claim to Christmas. You see, when we were really, really little kids, Ruthie would get miffed, because everyone said “Mary Christmas” (who knew for spelling), and not “Ruthie Christmas”. But think about it, if it weren’t for Ruth and David and the line of their offspring, there would be NO Christmas! So, “Ruthie Christmas” one and all!!
But back to the other Ruth, of Ruth and Naomi. You might remember that Ruth was from Moab, but she married into a Hebrew family. After a very little while, all of the men in that family died, leaving Ruth, her sister in law Orpah, and their mother in law Naomi widows. Orpah decided to go back to her people. But Ruth said she would stay with Naomi.
Now, Ruth didn’t just say, “Hey Naomi, look, I know you are getting on in year, so I will hang around and help you out.” Oh, no, nothing like that at all. What Ruth said was something more like, “Oh, Naomi, do not ask me to leave you or to not follow you. Dearest Naomi, where ever you go I will go. Where ever you live, there I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God. Where ever you die, I will die, and there also I will be buried. May the lord smite me and more also if anything but death ever parts me from you.”
Now, I’m here to tell you, that is one holy and powerful assertion of love! Indeed, it is a vow of love that has been borrowed and used in many heterosexual wedding ceremonies. So, let us remember that it was first and foremost an assertion of love between two women – two women of the bible who then went on to live a long term committed loving relationship together, a relationship that was acknowledged and blessed by their community. Two women who have a book of Holy Scripture dedicated to them.
And let us also remember that genealogically, Ruth, one of those two women, is the Great Grandmother of King David, the ancestor of Jesus the Christ whose birth we celebrate shortly! Now this, I think is something to remember, and something for all women who love women to celebrate!!