so i actually wrote this post a little over a day ago… happy reading!
be ye warned- this post has been written after traveling from akron, pa to washington d.c. (that began at 2:30 a.m. eastern standard time)…then flying from d.c. to rome, staying on the plane for an hour while the crew changed over, flying to addis ababa, ethopia for a 1.5 hour layover, then flying to entebbe, uganda…waiting around for our driver, being driven an hour to the house where we had tea and conversation, showers and dinner and some radio listening…
all this to say: if it don’t make sense. it ain’t my fault.
i’ve never met anyone named naomi before.
i have met women who are naomi-like in their spirit, or in their way of living their life…but never an actual naomi.
i was on the plane between d.c. and rome, and we were actually getting ready to land when i made a last-minute leisurely jaunt to the back lavatory to stretch my legs and such. but naomi, true to her name sake, followed me. (i know its a bit of a theological stretch, but stick with me.)
both of the lavatories were occupied so i was standing with naomi. i didn’t know she was naomi yet, i just knew that she had sort of jumped up rather quickly when i passed her in the aisle… she quickly introduced herself at the back, saying that she had talked to kelly in the line to get on the plane and was pretty sure that i was who she was traveling with. (in case you are wondering, she was correct.)
she began to tell me about the trip that she is embarking on–a two week jaunt through rwanda on a photo-journalistic tour. she is very interested in reconciliation, and peace–and was also quick to point out that she is jewish, but a believer. (it strikes me as delightful and quite interesting that a jew by heritage who is a christian who is interested in peace and reconciliation would be called naomi…a woman who was going home to be with her people.)
we talked about rwanda, the genocide and the reconciliation after and since…i shared some of my experiences in rwanda, some things i read, some stories i heard and some things that i had seen. naomi told me what she could remember of their itinerary and that she was ready to get there and start hearing stories.
so this woman, naomi, who taught photo-journalism and has published for christian century, took interest in the three of us traveling to uganda—in our taking in being with another people.
“your people shall be my people, and your god shall be my god…”
so this woman, who i conversed with for probably less than twenty minutes, got me thinking about being with people, about being like naomi. (and at the same time being like ruth–because perhaps one can only truly ascribe to be at least a little like both of these women–on the one hand wanting/needing to go home to one’s people-and at the same time, adopting or being absorbed into another people and culture…)
“where ere you go, i will go. where ere you lodge, i will lodge. where ere you die, i will die.
your people shall be my people, your god shall be my god…”
so currently, as i am sitting in the country-representatives house in kampala, uganda; i have the story of naomi’s going home to her people, the adoption of naomi’s home by ruth, and john wesley’s statement that “the world is my parish” going through my head. it is a lot to hold together at one time. it is indeed a lot to hold together when one has jet lag, is moving to a brand new place, learning a new language and being on the brink of having a new president (wahoo!) during this amazing and historic election…
i think some psalm recitations will follow this post, while we are still in the capital being orientated/oriented (take your choose) and the internet access is much more reliable and…you know…close at hand. and maybe even some exegetical notebook-type work on the lectionary readings for the week.