The book of Ruth may be short, but its story is rich with covenant teaching. Beginning September 23, the women of St. James Anglican Church in Memphis will meet once a month for a study entitled “Call Me Naomi.” The topic is grief recovery in the context of covenant community. We sometimes forget that the salvation is not limited to rescue from hell when life is over. To the contrary, the salvation won by Christ’s death on the cross was intended to encompass our daily lives right here and right now. In Luke 4, we read that at the beginning of His earthly ministry our Lord quoted the following prophecy from Isaiah and declared that He is the fulfillment of these words:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:1-3
This study in the book of Ruth will show why Naomi (whose name means “pleasant”) told her friends not to call her Naomi any longer, but to call her Mara, which means “bitter. But we will also see how her return to covenant life healed her grief and restored her to being Naomi the pleasant one once again.