Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Love between women honored

“Whither Thou Goest” by Trudie Barreras, 2004 Acrylic, 18” x 14”
Love between two Biblical women is celebrated in “Whither Thou Goest” by Atlanta artist Trudie Barreras. The painting shows Ruth pledging her love to Naomi. Ruth’s famous vows to Naomi are often used in heterosexual weddings. Few people realize that these beautiful words were originally spoken by one woman to another:
“Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee. For whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)
Now is a good time to reflect on Ruth and Naomi because same-sex marriage is in the news and June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month (even officially proclaimed by President Obama this week). The painting “Whither Thou Goest” was commissioned in 2004 by Rev. Paul Graetz, pastor of First Metropolitan Community Church of Atlanta, for a sermon series that he was doing on the Book of Ruth. It remains in the permanent collection of First MCC of Atlanta, where it hangs in the meditation chapel. First MCC of Atlanta is a progressive community of faith that welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Naomi was the mother-in-law of Ruth and Orpah. After their husbands die, Naomi urges both of them to remarry. The painting shows Orpah leaving while Ruth stays with Naomi.


Anonymous said...

I just had to ask!! Where did Orpah go?

I loved the colors in this incredible painting. Thank you Trudie, you're amazing!!!

And more MCC churches should seriously consider commissioning gay and lesbian artistic themes. It could be a whole art movement within the church to provide visual inspiration on Bible stories as seem from women's, lesbian and gay perspectives.
Thank you MCC Atlanta for your vision and support of the arts!

Trudie said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for the comment. I believe that Orpah is said to have returned to her home and family. By the way, Ruth (who is a direct ancestress of Jesus in scripture genealogy) was from the land of Moab, where Lot and his daughters went after fleeing the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Anyone who is interested in a little heterosexual impropriety should check out Genesis 19:30 - 35. Somehow that sequel to the infamous story never gets preached on...Smile.

Anonymous said...

Had a good laugh over "heterosexual impropriety" in the Bible Trudie.

Thanks for filling me in on Orpah... what can I say, the name just fascinates. AND I found out that Oprah Winfrey's parents somehow got "Orpah" mispelled as "Oprah" on her birth certificate. Oprah was originally supposed to have been named after the Ruth/Naomi Orpah. Who knew!

C.W.S. said...

I found a somewhat forgotten artistic expression of the Ruth and Naomi story -- a gospel song by Fanny Crosby that I wrote about at my blog on her birthday.

CWS: Fanny Crosby

KittKatt said...

I’m excited to find so much discussion about this post! Trudie, thanks for pointing out that one of Ruth’s descendants is Jesus himself.

The genealogy of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew lists her. It’s mostly a male lineage, and Ruth is one of only four women who are included.

Trudie said...

I, too, am delighted at the level of dialog here. I especially thank C.W.S. for the information on Fanny Crosby. I've bookmarked that page for future reference.

C.W.S. said...

Thanks, Trudie -- my blog is primarily devoted to inclusive language hymnody, and sometimes LGBT-friendly material comes up, However, my regular commenters never know what to make of that, and determinedly avoid commenting on those posts.

Anonymous said...

C.W.S. -- well it's nice that they don't say anything mean. That's a little progress.

Yewtree said...

It's very nice, but I really like this Naomi and Ruth painting.

KittKatt said...

Yes, thank you, Yewtree, for sharing this lovely link.

I also recommend the following posts with various Ruth and Naomi images at Yewtree’s blogs. Each one brings out a different aspect of the beautiful love between two women in the Hebrew Scriptures.

I'm going to look for more Ruth and Naomi images to share at the Jesus in Love Blog in the future. I was pleasantly surprised at how many blog visitors really loved our Ruth and Naomi post.

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