11 But she replied, “My daughters, why don’t you return home? What good will it do you to go with me? Do you think I could have more sons for you to marry? 12 You must go back home, because I am too old to marry again. Even if I got married tonight and later had more sons, 13 would you wait for them to become old enough to marry? No, my daughters! Life is harder for me than it is for you, because the Lord has turned against me.”
14 They cried again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth held on to her. 15 Naomi then said to Ruth, “Look, your sister-in-law is going back to her people and to her gods! Why don’t you go with her?”
16 Ruth answered,
“Please don’t tell me to leave you
and return home!
I will go where you go,
I will live where you live;
your people will be my people,
your God will be my God.
17 I will die where you die
and be buried beside you.
May the Lord punish me
if we are ever separated,
even by death!”
We all have places that are special for us. Where something special has happened or where someone important is. I’ve never been one of those people who have held strong feeling for a home of the past. For me, ‘Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home,’ rings true. My home is special to me, but ‘home’ is where I live today. It’s where the special people in my life are. Though I know that’s not true for everyone.
For Ruth – going “home” was to a place that wasn’t her home, but became home because of the special relationship she had with the woman whose home it was. Fore her too, people make places special.
And so Ruth’s husband dies, and there is talk of “going home”, she goes, not to the place of her ancestors, but to the place of her dead husbands family.
She pledges herself to her mother-in-law – and the God of her mother-in-law – the Lord. Whatever her past was, her future is now with this woman, and with God – forever. Ruth’s commitment to Naomi is total, she makes that her home – where the special person in her life is now.
Homecoming may or may not have a powerful pull for us, but however nostalgic we feel about special places, we can make where we are today special – and we can make it special for other people, who may have no-one else to do it for them. God is in this place. You and I are here. Let’s celebrate that together. We can rejoice with one another that we are here, that God loves us and accepts us and share that love and acceptance in our life together.
And that includes the land of the World Wide Web.
What are we doing to make social media a safe and secure home for others? A place of welcome, of security, encouragement and celebration. As digi-disciples that is our responsibility.
There seems to be a growing trend for people to use social media to argue (for arguing’s sake not to explore other sides to an opinion), to harass, to belittle and even to bully. I, personally, am rather tired of people using social media to make others feel inadequate or out of place. That is not what it is for. Social Media should be a place of safety, a place of welcome, a place of security – and it is our job to make it so, not to drive others from it.
Ruth had lost everything when she went home with her mother-in-law. She needed a home, a space to be, some care and concern. The one thing about social media is that you rarely see the whole picture of someone’s life. We do not know where they are. We cannot see their faces, read their facial expressions. We do not know what they have lost, what burdens they are carrying, or how their journey is going. But we are called to make them welcome, that they can find a safe home.
Will we look out for one another? Care for the vulnerable? Shelter the lost? Are we welcoming? Are we safe? Do we make the world of social media a welcoming home, where people feel special, wanted and loved?