“So [Naomi] set out from the place where she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law, and they went on their way to go back to the land of Judah.” – Ruth 1:7 (NRSV)

And together they walk.

Noami already walked this road. Years ago, during the famine in Bethlehem, she and her husband and two young sons emigrated from Bethlehem to Moab. They were refugees.

I wonder if Naomi carries a treasure with her on the road?

Perhaps a Bethlehem heirloom,
worn smooth from years of tender handling and poignant remembering.

Maybe she has her husbands favourite t-shirt rolled up like a pillow
and smelling like himself,
or so she imagines as she lays down at night.
Not long after settling in Moab, Naomi’s husband died leaving her with two young sons.

Maybe she carries a homemade ball. It was their bit of play in a hard life where a widow with two small boys, and no family, had to fend for themselves.

The boys grow and marry Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth.
And then, more tragedy. Both boys die young. Sickness perhaps.

The three widows set out on the road to Bethlehem.

And together they walk.

Now you should know that Bethlehem and Moab were rival towns and didn’t get along.
And the people of Moab didn’t like the people of Bethlehem and the people of Bethlehem didn’t like the people of Moab. They were enemies.

Perhaps Naomi remembers the inhospitality of her arrival in Moab,
a stranger and a refugee.

So she sets her daughters-in-law free to return to their roots in Moab.
Go back, she says, and generously blesses them.

Orpah returns. No judgement unless you’ve walked her road.

Ruth stays on the road with Naomi, swearing a covenant of belonging.

Where you go, I will go;
Where you lodge, I will lodge.
Your people will be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I’ll die there too
And I will be buried there beside you.
I swear – may YHWH be my witness and my judge –
That not even death will keep us apart. (Ruth 1:16-17)

Fierce words of love. Loyal and fierce, that’s Ruth,
the woman who turned out to be one of Jesus’ great, great grandmothers.

And together we walk.

What life treasures do you carry with you?
Recall, with gratitude, someone fierce and loyal who walks with you.

“Blogging one verse from every book of the bible in 2018.”

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