Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.
The book of Ruth is a woman's story in Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. I'm a biblical storyteller, but I struggle with telling that story because, to me, it belongs to women. It's a story that was told as a reminder of the people to be a light to the nations, that God loves all people. The story begins in Moab, a country near Israel in that time. Ruth is the daughter-in-law of Naomi and Elimelech who are living in Moab because of a famine. But all the men in the family die, and so Naomi wants to return to her people, and she tells Ruth and her sister who married another brother, ""Stay here. Let me go back by myself."" But Ruth says to her, ""Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God, too."" This foreigner shows tremendous faith in allegiance to Naomi and so the two return, but there is nothing. They have nothing. Naomi sends Ruth out into the fields to glean to get the remainder from the field so they can eat. But she catches the eye of Boaz, who likes her, and Boaz owns the field. And so Ruth returns with all this food, and Naomi says, ""Where did you get this?"" ""Well,"" she says, ""Boaz kinda let me take some of the first pickings."" Well Naomi gets a great idea and pretties Ruth up, and to go and to meet Boaz in the threshing room floor. Well, they meet, and have a time together, you might say. And eventually, Ruth and Boaz are married. This foreigner teaches the people of God, the Hebrew people, what it is and what it means to have faith. How can we reject people who are foreigners? That's what the story of Ruth is about.