Video and Audio Library

The Miracle of Ruth and Naomi's Journey with Grief

Series: Sermons

Sarah Stewart
October 31, 2021

A friend recently noted how a person reacts to your sadness says a lot about how long theyre going to be in your life.Glenn Ringtved, Danish author of the childrens book, Cry, Heart, But Never Break captures how it feels to face losing such a dear one. Ringtveds masterful story features four children who grapple with their grandmothers imminent death. In the tale, Death is depicted as a hooded stranger whom they attempt to stall by serving cup after cup of coffee at the kitchen table. When the hour has come for him to head upstairs, where their elderly grandmother lies in bed, the youngest pleads, But, why must she die? Death indulges her with an allegory to illustrate the inextricable connection between life and death. Death tells of two brothers, Sorrow and Grief, whose mundane existence is transformed the day they encounter, fall in love with, and commit to sharing their lives with their soulmates, two sisters named Joy and Delight.

I cannot help but think of this tender story, in this season of our life in the communion of saints, a time when we slow down to hold space for those who have died. At Wednesdays requiem service we will toll bells and light candles, praying the names of the ones lovingly buried from this community of faith. Sadly, no rituals of remembrance can erase the ache of their absence. But we can companion those who mourn, honoring their sorrow. Together, we turn toward God who promises to redeem our deepest losses, even when that future hope feels impossibly far away. The Book of Ruth illuminates how such a sacred journey can unfold, as communal grace reveals God with us. The narrative bears out like the Psalmists ancient witness: those who go out weeping, bearing seed for sowing, come home with shouts of joy, shouldering their sheaves.

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