Rev. Brian Johnson
Scripture: Ruth 1:1-18; Revelation 21:1-6a
Ruth is one of the ancestors of King David (and Jesus). She was a foreigner, an immigrant, a widow – she was at the end of her rope, and yet she remains faithful to those who she loves (including her mother-in-law, Naomi), and trusts that God will remain faithful to her. In this story we learn about what it means to be stubbornly faithful – and how God is stubbornly faithful to us. And, as we celebrate All Saints’ Sunday, we are also reminded that even death cannot stop God’s faithfulness – and that God’s community includes faithful followers across the world and back across the generations. Notes from when I preached in 2015: Ruth is a foreigner (not one of the people of Israel). When her Israelite husband dies, her mother-in-law (Naomi) tells her to remarry while she (Naomi) goes home to Israel in the hopes that her family will care for her. But Ruth can’t stand the thought of leaving Naomi – she has become family to her – and so she goes with her to a strange land, even though neither of them have any means of providing for or protecting themselves (widows in the ancient world were very vulnerable). This is a story of how God creates new relationships – God makes new families and calls us to be unrelentingly loyal. Indeed, in Jesus, we see God being loyal to us as Ruth was loyal to Naomi, and we see people who should have nothing to do with each other being joined together. We are called to be unrelentingly loyal to each other within God’s church, just as Ruth was unrelentingly loyal to Naomi (even though it was hard) and Jesus was unrelentingly loyal to God and to us (even though it led him to death on the cross).