Following in Ruth and Naomi’s Footsteps

     The Book of Ruth has inspired its readers over the centuries portraying loyalty, redemption, and enduring relationships. Young couples often include one verse from Ruth in their wedding ceremony, Ruth 1:16: “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts you and me.” 
     This beautiful verse fits so well into wedding ceremonies since it is a road map of marital commitment. Yet, the context of the verse is important too. Ruth’s loyalty as a Gentile Daughter-in-law is always mentioned but Naomi’s acceptance as her Jewish Mother-in-law is also a treasure trove, a role model, for the growing warmth between Jewish and Christian communities.
     Ruth, a gentile, returned with her Jewish mother-in-law to her ancestral homeland after Naomi’s sons died in Moab. The ancient portrayal of Jew and 
Gentile bonded together in relationship is reenacted now in the 21st century within the growing relationship between Christians who love Israel and who stand shoulder to shoulder with Israelis in their fight for existence against Islamist terrorists.
     Millions of Christians like me consider our stance with Israel and the Jewish people a command from God to be in relationship with His people whom He calls, “the apple of His eye.” We owe a debt of gratitude to the Jewish people for writing our scriptures under God’s inspiration. We recognize that Christianity was birthed in the cradle of Judaism
Attribution: Pinterest
. Our Lord Jesus’ birth into our world through a young Jewish woman places Him squarely in the Jewish culture, religion and ethnicity. Without the Jews and our Savior-a Jewish Rabbi-Christians wouldn’t have a faith and enjoy the spiritual heritage that is so vital and life-giving to us.
     Many in the Christian community are learning about the Hebraic roots of our faith, reconnecting with the original Hebrew and Aramaic languages. What we are discovering is a deepened richness in understanding scriptures and the Jewish culture and context in which the Word of God was written and passed down through the centuries.
     If we emblazon Ruth’s loyalty on our hearts- first, loyalty to God then to His Chosen People- Naomi’s welcoming acceptance will show us that the Christian and Jewish communities are stronger together to face a world where anti-Semitism is rising again. Let’s abandon apathy as this scourge unfolds. 

Spiritual DNA

A few years ago my sister gave me an especially thoughtful gift; an Ancestry DNA kit. Getting my results confirmed most of my already-known ancestry yet I was a little startled when I discovered a percentage of Scandinavian heritage in my DNA results. 

I knew my roots included Irish, Scots, and British ancestry since my patriarchal family tree allowed me to become a member of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). My “patriot ancestor” arrived on our shores prior to our fight for independence. Thanks to science DNA tools have opened many mysterious doors into the past for millions of people shining a light on DNA which holds our genetic information.
     Yet, even with this fascinating tool, our spiritual DNA holds much more; the treasured key of eternal life. It’s a DNA forged in God’s infinite imagination when He created physical life “in the beginning.” 

He also wove our spiritual DNA into a redemptive pattern of salvation that includes the 66 books of the Bible and culminates in the Incarnation when Jesus donned our human DNA to walk, teach, die, rise again, and return to His Heavenly Father as our advocate.
It didn’t take ANCESTRY to identify Jesus’ DNA. We have the  reliable source in the greatest book ever written, the Bible. Transmitted by the Creator of DNA itself through Jewish scribes, the Bible brilliantly captivated with the “greatest story ever told.” God’s human entrance into the world came through Mary, a young Jewish mother. Her human Jewish DNA was met with the most profound anomaly in human history from God the Father.
Our story as Gentile Christians is enhanced by embracing God’s choice to use Jewish people to transmit our spiritual DNA. Jewish patriarchs, Jewish scribes, a Jewish mother and Jewish disciples set the stage to welcome and crown our Jewish Savior. When we encounter Jesus,  it is humbling, remarkable, rich in overwhelming love, and eternal. Truly more than our human DNA can comprehend!

     One other truth and benefit of spiritual DNA is that our family tree is enormous. It stretches around the world across cultures, colors, economic status, national boundaries, and backgrounds.  That means that my Christian family here in the United States includes a potpourri of Americans in many denominations. Add to the mix Europeans, Africans, Asians, Persians, Muslim background believers, Jewish background believers who provide patterns from a tapestry of Christian cultures on our earth giving me access to fellowship through travel and translators.
When He ascended to Heaven, Jesus took the role of Advocate for us with our Heavenly Father. And He bequeathed us a bonus; He provided His Holy Spirit to give us counsel and comfort in our lives here on earth.  #AncestryInventedByGod 

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