Sunday, February 10, 2013

Preparation and Planning for Lent

16 "But Ruth said, 'Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! for wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Wherever you die I will die, and there be buried. May the Lord to so and so to me, and more besides, if aught but death separate me from you!' 18 Naomi then ceased to urge her, for she saw she was determined to go with her.     RUTH 3

This week is a time of preparation and planning for the Lenten journey that lies ahead. Last week I began reading the story of Ruth as an accompaniment to my own journey. This time around the story speaks about courage and fidelity as I reflect on the strength of Ruth's conviction. Ruth knows she needs to keep on with Naomi and is not going to back down. She leaves her people and her god in order to offer support to her mother-in-law. How many people have left their homes to journey into foreign lands, risking their lives and dignity for freedom and hope? This is a difficult space politically in our country as we continue to live in the debate and concern about immigration. (An aside:  I was so surprised when visiting Ellis Island a few years ago to find that the issue of immigration is similar to what it was for the Western Europeans who came over to the U.S. in the 19th and early 20th Century. To know that my ancestors were not welcome here caused me sadness and opened my eyes a little more to the suffering of people attempting to find a home in our country today.) Ruth was a foreigner moving into a new culture and religion. She was willing to risk everything through her commitment to Naomi. I don't want to trivialize the plight of migrants today, and ask that we be more aware of who in our midst is foreigner to us, or stranger, and what makes them so? There are areas in my own life I feel like a foreigner and this causes so much discomfort, even when I am received with hospitality. Ash Wednesday is a couple of days a way and it is time to prepare for lent with the same fervor and strength that is needed to cross dangerous territory and enter into unknown lands for the sake of hope and new life. The threats are not the same of those faced by Ruth, or people migrating today, yet the terrain will have cautionary areas that invite me to choose avoidance or follow-through.

On to other news, the caffeine-abstinence program is not going as smoothly as planned. seems that this was a breeze last time. My guess is that is an illusion. So, now I am thinking it might be great fodder for the weeks to come. The good thing is there have been no withdrawal symptoms, because there has been no withdrawal. Have a great week!!!!

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