Monday, November 2, 2015

As the Commandment Says

based on Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17

Often something positive eventually comes from a disaster. This does not mean that the disaster was God’s way of achieving the positive. The birth of David results from Ruth’s union with Boaz (encouraged by Naomi), but the biblical events preceding that: Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot’s incest with his daughters, the famine and death of Naomi’s family… these are not God’s preferred method bringing grace into the world.

The first widow I ever understood to be a widow was 25 years old. She was in a college class with me. Her husband died of a heart attack while playing basketball. He was 29. Suddenly, the notion of widowhood became clear to me. It was not that a woman simply outlived her husband, but that there was a blank space at the table, an empty side of the bed, a phone number that goes unanswered, conversations that become one-sided. Widows and widowers of all ages and circumstances frequently surround us. And we forget their status. We forget that they are among those who are considered most vulnerable and most wise in Scripture. We forget that God’s heart is with them.

            It is critical to remember that her beloved, deceased partner may not have been a saint, but she will still grieve. That he is still thinking of his loved one, even if you are afraid to bring up the subject. That she may grow accustomed to her new state, but never stop missing the ones who rest in light. Being widowed, being left out of partnership, should not mean being left out of community. Let not the community of God forsake those who mourn. It is not enough to say God is with them. We are to be the hands, words, and consolation of the Spirit with widows, orphans, and strangers.

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