Star Wars: The Force Awakens
This week, my dad and step-mom are in town. My whole family has been looking forward to their visit, planning different activities and events. My kids were especially excited to take “Dado” to see the new Star Wars movie. Monday we took advantage of a day off to do this.
It was actually my second time to see the movie, so I watched it through different eyes. I saw little events I missed the first time through. Particularly I was focused on the character Rae.
Rae is a young woman who grew up as an orphan. She has fleeting memories of being left on her home planet by her family, so she is afraid to leave. Rae is sure they will be reunited at any moment.
The feeling is so strong that after she leaves home for the first time, she only can think about going back. Then she has a conversation with a wise old woman, Maz Kanata. In the conversation, Rae relays her desire to return home, alluding to her family’s imminent return. Maz has these words of wisdom:
“The belonging you seek is not behind you, it is ahead.”
It’s one of those lines that seems to jump off the screen. I couldn’t get it out of my head. Kia and I talked about it after the movie (we both were moved by it).
As I continued to reflect on it, I thought of the story of Naomi and Ruth…
Ruth 1:1-19 (MSG)
1-2 Once upon a time—it was back in the days when judges led Israel— there was a famine in the land. A man from Bethlehem in Judah left home to live in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The man’s name was Elimelech; his wife’s name was Naomi; his sons were named Mahlon and Kilion—all Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They all went to the country of Moab and settled there.
3-5 Elimelech died and Naomi was left, she and her two sons. The sons took Moabite wives; the name of the first was Orpah, the second Ruth. They lived there in Moab for the next ten years. But then the two brothers, Mahlon and Kilion, died. Now the woman was left without either her young men or her husband.
6-7 One day she got herself together, she and her two daughters-in-law, to leave the country of Moab and set out for home; she had heard that God had been pleased to visit his people and give them food. And so she started out from the place she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law with her, on the road back to the land of Judah.
8-9 After a short while on the road, Naomi told her two daughters-in-law, “Go back. Go home and live with your mothers. And may God treat you as graciously as you treated your deceased husbands and me. May God give each of you a new home and a new husband!” She kissed them and they cried openly.
10 They said, “No, we’re going on with you to your people.”
11-13 But Naomi was firm: “Go back, my dear daughters. Why would you come with me? Do you suppose I still have sons in my womb who can become your future husbands? Go back, dear daughters—on your way, please! I’m too old to get a husband. Why, even if I said, ‘There’s still hope!’ and this very night got a man and had sons, can you imagine being satisfied to wait until they were grown? Would you wait that long to get married again? No, dear daughters; this is a bitter pill for me to swallow—more bitter for me than for you. God has dealt me a hard blow.”
14 Again they cried openly. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye; but Ruth embraced her and held on.
15 Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law is going back home to live with her own people and gods; go with her.”
16-17 But Ruth said, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!”
18-19 When Naomi saw that Ruth had her heart set on going with her, she gave in. And so the two of them traveled on together to Bethlehem.
Somehow Ruth innately knew what Maz told Rae. The belonging Ruth wanted wasn’t in the past, but only found in the future. Ruth so believed this, she forsook everything to cling to the one person she knew she belonged to.
This week, we’re focusing on the idea of GROW TOGETHER. Salvation is a very personal event, but we truly grow and mature by walking together.
These relationships don’t come by looking to the past. What used to be – successful as it might have been. Today, God is calling us to the current and new. He is calling us to look ahead.
Today, ask yourself a couple of questions:
1. Who has God put you with now?
2. Where is God taking you?
Ruth found it – Naomi, Boaz, Obed. She found it in her now and future. You too belong, and you won’t find it behind you. You’ll find it what’s ahead.