When I was a little girl, one of my earlier memories was sitting in church for what seemed hours. The pews were hard, we didn’t get the escape of kids church or Sunday school. We simply had to endure the heat and the smell of of lots of Africans in a hot mud brick church. It was the 1970s and my parents were missionaries in the Congo, on a missions station called Kipushya. I remember not really understanding the language but we were not allowed to take toys or books so my mum would let me borrow her bible so I could read a ‘story’. I never really tried to learn the language, so to keep me from getting in too much trouble for being restless and bored, I would flick to the stories. The books of Esther and Ruth were two to my favourites. When I had exhausted them I would flick through the photos and perfume sample sheets my mum kept hidden between the thin sheets of paper in her Bible. My Dad’s Bible was even more impressive. I still remember the leather bound cover with it’s zip keeping the contents intact and protected but also the many notes and photos he kept of family and friends back home in Australia.
This was my introduction to the book of Ruth….a story for a little girl to pass the time. Maturity has taught me that these stories I love to read are beautiful, as stories, but if that was all they were they would not be in my Bible. They are in there because they were so much richer and more meaningful than a fairy tale story.These stories in the Bible carry incredible truth and there are layers to be discovered in this small book.
Over the coming weeks my journey through Ruth is simply going to be an open hearted adventure to discover what God wants me to know about this girl and her story and discovering how her story interacts with mine and being redptiv to the challenges that stir faith and help me grow in my walk with God…or maybe it will be Naomi or Boaz or even Elimilech who will tell me something that I need to hear.
The joy of a book like this, is that it is easy to read:Four chapters and I am done. I’ll start by reading all four chapters through as many times as I can all the way through. I’ll also listen to the audible version. It won’t take me more than. 4 minutes per chapter or if you listen in double time that is 8 minutes for the whole book. I’ll do this at least once a week throughout the time I am sitting in Ruth so that indivI’d ual verses don’t lose context. I’ll also read the chapter I am sitting in two or three times a week. Then daily ..I’ll sit in just one verse sometimes just one phrase…. I will simply stop at a verse and jot down my thoughts and questions and see where they lead – Questions that help me understand the story better but also questions that help me hear God speak.. so I am off to listen to some English gentleman read to me while I clean up my kitchen.
(PS I absolutely guarantee that sitting in this book for a long time will get boring and I will be tempted to look for something else to ‘eat ‘ but in the moments where it feels tedious and boring I simply remind myself that even the smallest fragments can nourish my soul.