Year B Proper 27: All

Naomi had lost everything. She had nothing left to lose, nowhere left to go but home, no one on whom to lean, on whom she had a claim. So she gave it all up, sent her daughters-in-law away, tore up her name, retraced her steps to the place she had left when it first ran out, a place of emptiness. She had lost everything. She gave up her name because she had lost even herself.
The widow had one meal left, but what she had run out of was hope, a future. She might as well share, since all she had to share was the last few grains of sand in her hourglass.
The other one had not lost quite everything. She had lost almost as much as Naomi, she had barely more between her and the end of time than the other. Yet she did not lose it. She gave it away.
She knew the stories of her sisters, her foremothers. She knew that Naomi was not left alone, without her name, without her family. She was beloved, and out of that love grew a whole new family, one that would, through the generations, come home to roost today.
She knew that the other one was not abandoned to die. The prophet prophesied that life would go on, and it did. God provided.
She had faith that she would not fail for want of two small coins; that God had counted not only the coins but the hairs on her head, the scars in her heart, the tears she had shed. She had such trust in such a God that she would give all that she had to worship that One.

I have never lost everything; and even when all seemed lost, that, for me, was just melodramatics.
I have never given everything, either. I always keep enough back to ensure that all will not be lost.
I do not envy these women. I would not trade places with any of them. But there is a part of my heart that wonders what it would be like to learn that lesson in leaning on a loving God, of living with true trust, firm faith, open hands, genuine generosity, abandoned worship.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020). She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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