When the Going Gets Tough …
(Posted February 2, 2024)
“But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you, to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God.” -- Ruth 1:16
One of the most moving experiences in reading the Bible regularly is encountering the so-called “minor” characters in Scripture. These are the people who so often exhibit an extraordinary selflessness, who see themselves in service to others. Little is known of these people, except that their role is significant to the message of the Gospel. If these minor players happen to be women, there are many times that they are not even given a name in the text to remember them by.
Taking Care of Others
Such is the case in this week’s Gospel, when Simon Peter’s mother-in-law was extremely ill with a raging fever. When Jesus came in town to Simon’s home, the very first thing Jesus does is go to her side, and completely cures her of the fever. And what does this nameless Mother-in-Law do? She gets up and prepares dinner for Jesus and the family. Now, I’m not suggesting that every woman ought to jump up from her sickbed and turn into Martha Stewart on the spot. But it is significant to note that she willingly wanted to take care of her family, and this amazing visitor who had pulled her back from the brink of death.
We’re All One People
Likewise in the Hebrew Bible we meet Naomi, who as a widow in a land plagued by famine, has no one to protect her from starvation. While she urges her daughters-in-law to return to their family in another land, Daughter-in-Law Ruth refuses to abandon this older woman. It is clear that, truly, these Bible characters live the principle that all of us are one people, one family.
This Sunday, before celebrating the Lord’s Supper, we will explore the principle of supporting one another especially when the going gets tough, through compassion and knowing that we are all “kindred spirits.”