This week, we get the end of the book of Ruth--a beautiful (if a bit racy) story of faithfulness and redemption. Having risked the little she had left in following her mother-in-law Naomi back to Judah, she now follows Naomi's direction, using the small window of opportunity she had available, and secures not only a husband for herself, but a future for Naomi, too.
Where there seemed to be very little opportunity no hopeful future, a new way forward emerged. It relied on the goodwill of Boaz, Ruth's new husband, but also on the planning and action of the two widows in the story: Ruth and Naomi.
In our gospel lesson from Mark, there's mention of more widows: first, as the scribes are called out for preying on them, and then as one humble, faithful widow gives all she has to God--her last dollar.
I love that in all these stories, we're taught important values: that we should give care to the vulnerable in our midst. It is sinful to take advantage of those who are poor.
But I also love that the most vulnerable in these stories--the "have-nots"--also show themselves to have a whole lot: a power to proclaim something important about how God works in the world. No mere recipients of abuse or of care, these widows are agents in the world, showing us all how to live.
This makes we wonder who I should be looking to for lessons on faithfulness...