Yesterday’s inauguration of President Biden introduced us to a new voice. Twenty-two-year-old Amanda Gorman, the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate, became the youngest poet to read her poetry at a presidential inauguration. Her poem, “The Hill We Climb”, gave us all a lot to think about.
The part that seemed to stick with many of us came at the end, when she said,
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it
History is full of ezer-warriors who have been “brave enough to be” light in their time and place in history. The Bible is brimming with narratives highlighting women (often very young) who stepped into the challenges and callings of the moment to bring light and truth and hope into the lives of others.
Think Deborah, Abigail, Esther, or Mary of Nazareth.
Naturally, I’m reminded of Ruth. Probably about the same age as Amanda, Ruth embraced Naomi, her people, and her God against a dark, uncertain, and utterly grim future in Bethlehem.
She took refuge under Yahweh’s wing and from that place of blazing light, she found the courage to do what needed to be done for Naomi. Everything changed. From that moment, she refused to hold back or shrink from actions that involved risk to herself. She dared to make bold initiatives to a powerful man—all on Naomi’s behalf. She risked everything crossing cultural lines drawn for her as a newcomer, an immigrant, an impoverished, barren, widow, a scavenger for food to bring light and hope to her despairing mother-in-law.
Downsizing and mischaracterizing the book of Ruth as a Cinderella Story, is a terrible injustice to Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi, and a monumental loss, not merely to women and girls, but to the whole church and to every person we encounter without seeing how we can help.
So I am more than delighted to announce the online bookclub: Grace, Growth, and God Honoring Reads is featuring The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules. If you don’t feel particularly brave these days, this book will fill you with courage.
Sign-up to join the FB discussion (February 4 to March 11) here.