Friday, February 22, 2013

Reflections on Ruth, Part III

The fourth piece in Chrissie Crosby’s series is based on Ruth 2:1, where the reader first learns of Naomi’s kinsman Boaz, a man of חיל, of capacity, authority. Chrissie writes, “I picture Boaz coming into his fields, with the aura of God surrounding him.” (Hubble’s view of the Helix Nebula is used to convey this well.) “I used an image that also reminds of an eye.”

For me, this artwork illustrates God looking for potentials within the village society of the time that could be tapped and co-opted in forwarding the divine plan. Note the clan-authority (חיל) of Micah (3:8) and the 70 elders (Num 11:16 E), which God also tapped in this way! The aura here could thus be the “spirit of Moses” of Num 11:17! 

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The fifth artwork in the series is based on Ruth 3:8, where Boaz is startled to awake at night next to a woman! I like how the arm over the eyes suggests that Boaz at first does not know what/who is there, and what might happen to him. Only then he senses “a woman.” The Hebrew term  הנה invites us into Boaz’s perspective, in which the night visitor is still a mystery. The starscape is Star Forming Region LH95. By initiating intimacy and marriage, Ruth sets in play God’s creative/procreative miracle—new birth, new life, out of infertility, new birth for Ruth and for all Israel.

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The sixth image in the series is based on Ruth 3:9, where Boaz spreads his כנף over Ruth. Earlier, at Ruth 2:12, Boaz had used the same Hebrew term to refer to the protective “wing” of God, which he prayed would shelter Ruth. Chrissie, then, writes that Boaz here in 3:9 may thus be fulfilling his own prayer that he offered earlier. Boaz makes his own prayer a reality, and in this act God and humankind are surely working together (the starscape is Spiral Galaxy M74.)

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