Pause

If every human being had the capacity to do the right thing every minute of every day, humankind would have no need of laws.

But since all of us have the capacity for both hatred and love, we are compelled to make rules that provide our best judgment for how to live together in peace and justice. Laws alone cannot ensure our well-being, however. The stories of our very best human selves are the stories of our love for one another — the stories where laws and social norms are trumped by hearts that love and people who follow their hearts and act on that love.

Consider now how love can help us be our best selves.

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Listen

But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.” Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud.

Ruth 1:8-9

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Think

In the time of Naomi, women left their own families for the families of their husbands. In fact, if the husbands lived in distant lands, the women might never see their birth families again, even if their husbands died before they did. This story gives us insight into Naomi’s character. She could assume that her daughters-in-law were bound to her, as custom dictates, but she doesn’t. Her words tell us that she appreciates the love and kindness that her sons’ wives have given her and her family. In a selfless act, she offers to allow them to return to their birth families and, perhaps, to marry again and find security and love in new families. Their sobs reveal the depth of their love for one another.

Though this story occurs hundreds of years before Jesus is born, it, too, shows that love is greater than law and custom. This story reminds us that, even when custom and law don’t require us to show compassion, we can love others as we love ourselves.

Estelene Boratenski

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Pray

Loving Spirit, help me to love as Naomi loved. Thank you for your great love for me. Amen.

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Go

We are one in the Spirit,
We are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity may
One day be restored:
And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, by our love,
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
By our love.

Peter Scholte

Estelene Boratenski

Estelene Boratenski is a mother, writer, and teacher. You can learn more about her writing and her vocation on her web site.

Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life

Ken Medema

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