Ruth 3.1–5; 4.13–17
…spiritual brokenness affects our lives and the lives of others. We have found, however, that God is eager to bless us even in our spiritual brokenness. (from Soul Repair)
“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”
That’s the opening line of a 1953 novel called The Go-Between. It’s a brilliant opening line for a novel and for a sermon. We must always remember when we read the scriptures that the past is a foreign country. They did things differently there. We’re going to see that as we look at our scripture passages today.
Firstly, widows: in an age with no social security, no pension, they could be in a precarious position.
The readings for this week and last draw our attention to the plight of widows in biblical times. We have Naomi and Ruth, husbandless and childless, forced to eke out a living gleaning grain from the fields that hadn’t been gathered by the men working there; and also forced to plot and plan to ensure that Boaz noticed Ruth. This is more than a romantic story; it is a matter of life and death for Ruth and Naomi.
And in today’s Gospel Reading, we have the widow who had fallen on hard times, whose offering is two small coins, each worth only about six minutes’ work. Her offering is practically worthless. But it was all she had.
And don’t forget that last week we heard Psalm 146, which proclaims that
The Lord keeps faith for ever,
giving food to the hungry,
justice to the poor,
freedom to captives…
comforting widows and orphans,
protecting the stranger…
The scriptures of the Old and New Testaments proclaim that God seeks justice for the widow, the orphan and all who are being failed by the society they live in. Continue reading