Awakening a Keen Observer

Monday, June 19, 2006

Your People will be My People

Some years ago my aunt showed me a picture of a family reunion in South Carolina. To my real true surprise I was looking at a whole bunch of people who looked a lot like me, or I like them. I'd found my 'people'. My Tribe as the modern word for this as we borrow from that kinship of the Native American folks. My goodness they looked like me, and my mother, and my aunts, and ... well you get the drift.
In scripture in the Old Testament Book of Ruth, there is a line where Ruth has promised to turn away from everything she knows and continue as Ruth's daughter. Your people will be my people... She says in a declaration of kinship seldom seen and against the 'rule' of the day where a wife was returned to her family when the husband died. But this statement pulled her away from her roots and replanted them in the family she had married. It was not a blended family. They were one.
And this was wholly Naomi's family. ( And I suppose I could say holy Naomi's family.) Whatever was said between them, whatever bond they had formed was so tight there was not going back.
Years ago, and in some places still, I was listed as Mrs. John McGarey, the former Barbara Giltz. Well you know, I'm still Barbara Giltz. I am just also McGarey. I brought with me all that I was and didn't abandon it, but between us being Bobbie Giltz grew into someone new, Bobbie Giltz McGarey.
Where you go...I will go... Your people will be my people. Could you imagine yourself ever surrendering to another's culture, laws, ways of cooking, everything?
I suppose we could for love. And apparently that love is what gave Ruth the strength to embrace it. Orphah the other daughter in law did what was right according to the law. We cannot discredit her for following what was matter how much she loved Naomi.
It seems that also we often give Ruth all the credit for being so 'brave'. What about Naomi who took on a daughter-in-law with different ideas as well.
I've heard it said we need more faithful people like Ruth who will sacrifice everything for love. What if we were people who were like Naomi--who took into their families, others different from ourselves, who need new families, new people to love them and honor them and teach them and ...
So, then, how do we come to be part of new people? We do so by saying Yes to our Creator who is always leading us in a new way. We don't give up who we are. We don't lose our indiviudality or identity, we just say "here I am, send me, use me." Or like the hymn Spirit of the living God, "melt me, mold me,'
Shape me into someone altogether new...altogether me. Your people will be my people, Welcome home.

God Abides
Bobbie Giltz McGarey


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