Friday, May 16, 2008

Pages from Ruth's Scrapbook, Part 2

Ruth is an unusual book in the Jewish Scriptures.

First, it details a series of events in the life of a WOMAN of faith. A quick survey of the OT shows only two books with women as title or main character. A slightly closer reading reveals the role of women is almost entirely seen as supportive, not determinative. There is a phrase from an ancient morning prayer that says, "Thank you, LORD, that I was not born a Gentile, a dog or a woman."

Second, it details a series of events in the life of a NON-HEBREW woman who comes to embrace God and his covenant people. To be born a outside the covenant people was to be "without God and hope in this world." God had chosen a family/nation to be his special people, to reveal himself and to bring his son, our savior, into the world. Literally, to be a non-Hebrew was "too bad, so sad."

Third, it is about ordinary people. No father Abraham or King David. Everyone involved fits inside the normal section of the bell curve. Not rich, or overly intellegent or prominant or talented. Their connection to God's Grand His Story is only seen in the closing verses.

Lastly, it is very short (just 4 chapters and just a few months time.)

Since it was Mother's Day/Pentecost, these reflections were framed by the analogy of a scrapbook. Each chapter gives a snapshot of the key events surrounding this particular Feast of Weeks/ Pentecost.

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