Thursday, December 8, 2016
Volunteer Associate Pastor for People with Disabilities
Again they cried openly. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye; but Ruth embraced her and held on. Naomi said, "Look, your sister-in-law is going back home to live with her own people and gods; go with her."
But Ruth said, "Don't force me to leave you; don't make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I'll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I'll die, and that's where I'll be buried, so help me God - not even death itself is going to come between us!"
When Naomi saw that Ruth had her heart set on going with her, she gave in. Ruth 1:14-18 -- The Message
of Hope to be found in our families of Choice.
Some of us are blessed to have close family ties. However many LGBTQ people are not so blessed. Many LGBTQ people have either been thrown out or are totally ignored by their biological families. This glaring fact becomes so obvious this time of year, a time of year when family seems to be so important.
Times were tough in the Kingdom of Judah for Elimelech and his wife Naomi, so they ventured with their two sons into the Land of Moab to the east. After several years, Elimelech died, leaving Naomi alone with her sons. Eventually the sons married two Moabite women, sisters Orpah and Ruth, both raised in the faith of Chemosh. Yet ten years later, both sons, Mahlon and Chilion would also die, leaving all three women alone, cut off from society. For in those days women were property, to be handed down from Father to Husband. Men had all the rights and without a husband, women had nothing. The best that widows could attain was a life of poverty, living on the edge of local society, and barely being able to sustain themselves by gleaning the fields for leftover grain.
This was the world in which Ruth found herself, yet she chose to stay with Naomi, her mother-in-law, and not go back to her homeland of Moab. She chose to stay with Naomi in a different country, with a different culture, and more importantly, she chose to worship a different God, the God of Abraham.
It seems choice is everything in life. Though at times our lives seem impossible, God gives us choices. It is up to us to decide if we are to make a choice or not, even if it changes our lives. In the case of Ruth, she chose an entirely new life with Naomi that led to a new husband, Boaz, and a new family, a Family of Choice.
Many LGBTQ and Straight people find themselves in the situation of becoming part of a new family. And by deliberately choosing to play a significant role in another person’s / family’s life, many times we are given the opportunity to find our true emotional and spiritual self. ’Family’ does not have to be defined just by blood, but can also be defined by love and respect. Here at Cathedral of Hope, we have seen many families of choice rise up and flourish from the ashes of bitter biological family relationships, just like the legendary Phoenix. God blesses us with the power to choose where we find our love and respect. The choice is ours to embrace.
“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough” ― Walt Whitman
Oh God, we thank You, for You bless us with infinite choices to find our Family of Choice. Amen.
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