Monday, December 13, 2010

Me Too: Community

I have really been captured by the story of Ruth & Naomi these days. There are so many things about their story we can learn from. In the first chapter right from the beginning, we see an amazing commitment from Ruth. Let me set the scene...

Naomi's husband has just died leaving her with 2 sons and their wives. An economic depression and famine hits the land if Judah the family looses everything so they move to Moab. As if things can't get worse Naomi's sons, Mahlon and Ephrathites, both die. Imagine being in a strange land and loosing the very things that are familiar and hopeful in her life.

I can just hear her crying out to God "Why me? Why me God? How can you let this happen to me?"
Now here's the important part. As a widow Naomi has no identity in Judah, she has no name and no rights. Still she decides to move back to Judah and tell everyone to call her "Mara" which means bitter, "because the Almighty has made me very sad". (Ruth 1:20)
Now her attitude and her identity lies in her unfortunate circumstance. She embodies every last bit of anger, sadness, loneliness, and despair, well who can blame her?

Naomi comes to her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, and tells them her plan kissing them good-bye. Orpah says good-bye to her mother-in-law but Ruth stays close.
Naomis said to Ruth, "Look, your sister-in-law is going back to her own people and her own gods. Go with her." But Ruth said, "Don't beg me to leave you or to stop following you. Where you go, I will go. Where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people. And your God will be my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried...Not even death will separate us." (Ruth 1:11-18)
It's a sign of hope, God heard Naomi's cry and blessed her with Ruth. In the darkest hours, Ruth says "ME TOO". It's the gift of community.

When you are in your deepest and lowest parts of your life God gives you people to just walk with you. There are so many times when life doesn't seem to go our way and we miss this gift. We assume our circumstances are so bad and so difficult to mend that there is no one who could understand or anyway to overcome it. But there are the ones who say, "ME TOO", I'll walk  with you, I'll lift you up and go where you go.

Don't miss this gift, when things are going your way, and don't let your identity encompass the despair your feel like Naomi did. Instead notice the ones who are saying "ME TOO" and enjoy the company and gift of community. And maybe you need to be the one saying "ME TOO", "I'll go where you go, and your people will be my people."

Here are some of the "ME TOO's" in my life right now. In the seemingly foreign land I'm living in, I am learning to notice those who are with me and not those who are against me, and it's made all the difference.

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