June 2nd 2020
As I typed the date at the top of this letter, and wondered where the last six months have gone, I heard my Dad's voice telling me how strange it was to find the months flying by, when the days were dragging and dull. I guess that very many of us will understand how he felt.
It would have been much worse if the weather had been cold and raining. Those of us with gardens have been able to sit outside, and some have been able to go for a walk. We've stood on paths to talk to people who stayed in their doorways, and our faithful army of delivery angels haven't got wet when doing their rounds with the weekly worship material. Those doing errands and shopping for others have stayed dry.
In all of this, I've had a sense of how all things can work together for good, even in difficult circumstances, for people who love God and care for one another (as Paul almost wrote in Romans 8!).
That's one of the things that we see in the story of Ruth, which is the focus of this year's Bible Month. Throughout June, our Sunday services will look at a chapter of the book each week – why not read it all the way through, and remind yourself of the story?
Naomi's family traveled to Moab when there was famine in Bethlehem. She and her husband and sons settled in this foreign country, and it seems that they were accepted into the community. The men found work, and the two sons married.
But it wasn't home, and when Naomi's husband and sons died, she decided to return to Bethlehem. She urged her two daughters-in-law to stay in Moab with their own blood relatives – but you may remember that one of them, Ruth, insisted on going back with her.
Ruth and Naomi were welcomed in Bethlehem, and Ruth found the protection of an honourable employer (who subsequently married her). It would have been a very different story if the communities in those two very different countries had rejected foreigners, instead of accepting them, protecting them, and helping them to survive. As it is, this is a much-loved story that has given hope to generations.
In the same way, I believe that the stories of these present days will also be remembered. I hope that they are good stories, that will give comfort and courage to people in the future.
With much love, and prayers that you will continue to be blessed by God's presence.