Scripture Reading: Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17
Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, ‘My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you. Now here is our kinsman Boaz, with whose young women you have been working. See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing-floor. Now wash and anoint yourself, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing-floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, observe the place where he lies; then, go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what to do.’ She said to her, ‘All that you tell me I will do.’ –Ruth 3:1-5
From what we can gain from the story of Ruth, Boaz was a good man. He not only allowed the poor to harvest what was left after the main gleaning, but order his servants to leave extra for them. He had already taken an interest in Ruth as the story goes. At this time the primary worth of a woman was in her ability to have children. Today in many parts of the world this remains true and even in the United States the work of women is valued less than men as women make substantially less for doing the same work as men*. I have some firsthand experience at that.
Ruth was actually blessed by having this good man accept her and marry her in spite of having to entice his attention. What is it about society, about our socialization, that effectively blinds us to the humanity of groups of people? We are all guilty of this you know. Whether we discriminate by gender or race or economic status or sexual orientation or the wearing of tattoos and nose rings. We are incapable of seeing the Christ in every person, the image of God, unless we fully commit to letting God open our vision to all the spectrums of God’s creation.
There are stories of Jesus where we learn of his movement from seeing the world as a good Jewish boy to claiming the other as his own, for example, eating with tax collectors and sinners (Luke 5:27-32), talking to and being served water by the Samaritan woman (John 4), and encountering the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:25-30). We, too, are called to claim the other as our neighbor and love them just as they are.
Prayer: Lord, give us twenty-twenty vision to see clearly your presence in the other. Amen.
*Women’s median annual earnings in 2013 were $39,157 compared with $50,033 for men. See http://www.iwpr.org/initiatives/pay-equity-and-discrimination
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.