I post this for those of you who lost the live feed back home just as I got to the microphone. I was more nervous than I thought I would be so maybe that was best. What I had prepared was adapted from a wedding sermon I had written but it seemed to me that it might be appropriate to the discussion. This is what I said:
What I really appreciate about this social statement is that it recognizes that ideal families are places of love, care, support and nurturing (page 6). Love, Care, Support, and Nurturing in families are values that we as the church need to be concerned about. There is a wonderful passage in the book of Ruth, where Ruth says to Naomi,
“Please don’t ask me to leave you and turn away from your company. I swear to you: Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I’ll die there too and I will be buried there beside you. I swear—may God be my witness and judge—that not even death will keep us apart.” Ruth 1:16-17
This story is made beautiful because Ruth was an unlikely companion for Naomi. Ruth is a Moabite, and the Moabites were known enemies of Israel. Ruth leaves her own people for the sake of her mother-in-law. She will go with, live with, and be buried with Naomi. She will die in the same place and will take Naomi’s people and Naomi’s God to be her people and her God. In the ancient world, tribe and family firmly fixed one’s identity and one’s gods, and it was unheard of to give up either. Yet Ruth abandons her people and their gods to vow unending love for her mother-in-law and for the God of Judah. Ruth, the outsider, the other, is the faithful one, the one who expresses and lives her commitment to God and the people of God.
In the book of Ruth there are no great miracles. God doesn’t walk on water, or bring the dead back to life. But God does act. God acts quietly through Ruth and her absolute devotion, commitment, and faithfulness to Naomi. Ruth and Naomi were not what many people would consider a typical family. However the story was written not to show us how a family should be composed, it was written to show the importance of love, care, nurturing, and support in a family; no matter how that family is configured. This proposed social statement does the same. I encourage all of you to vote in favour of this motion.