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xxxii. Signs and Wonders - Ruth

Ruth: :

Feminine proper name, biblical ancestor of David, from Hebrew Ruth, probably a contraction of reuth "companion, friend, fellow woman."

The Sun, Leaping

So Ruth went out to the farmland and walked behind the workers, picking up the heads of grain which they left.

Ruth 2: 3

Picking up leavings

of the sun


what was wasted

fell from hook or hand

fell in shadows of those

who worked ahead

gathered scorching grain

golden in the sun

so much sun


to music

she tried to sing

without words

stepping back into shadows

after sun

behind her mother

baking this new bread

breaking it

sun-hot in her hands

moistened that night

in dark cooled wine

tasting of earth

sweet and sour

then on her tongue burning


pricking after heat

all day on her face and arms

her blood on fire

pulsing to an unquiet heart

and then the song

after the sun


Jeff Guess


‘One major area of food waste in America is in farmers' fields, where crops that don't meet top-grade quality are left to rot or be plowed under.

Gleaning is the traditional Biblical practice of gathering crops that would otherwise be left in the fields to rot, or be plowed under after harvest. The Gleaning Network coordinates volunteers, growers, and distribution agencies to salvage this food for the needy. Tens of thousands of volunteers from churches, synagogues, scout troops, senior citizen groups, and other organizations participate each year in Society of St. Andrew gleaning activities. Each year, tens of millions of pounds of produce are salvaged and given to the poor at no cost to them. Gleaners are people of all ages and income levels who want to give of themselves. Within 48 hours of picking the produce, hungry Americans are usually eating the gleaned food. Each year, some 30,000 people glean with us - to pick up over 15 million pounds of fresh, nutritious food for their hungry neighbors.’

Gleaning America's Fields - Feeding America's Hungry

Reading: Ruth 1:16

And Ruth said, 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: KJV


Lord of the harvest, once again,

We thank Thee for the ripened grain;

For crops safe carried, sent to cheer

Thy servants through another year;

For all sweet holy thoughts supplied

By seed time, and by harvest tide.

The bare dead grain, in autumn sown,

Its robe of vernal green it puts on;

Glad from its wintry grave it springs,

Fresh garnished by the King of kings;

So, Lord, to those who sleep in Thee

Shall new and glorious bodies be.

Nor vainly of Thy Word we ask

A lesson from the reaper’s task:

So shall Thine angels issue forth:

The tares be burnt; the just of earth,

To wind and storm exposed no more,

Be gathered to their Father’s store.

Daily, O Lord, our prayers be said,

As Thou hast taught, for daily bread;

But not alone our bodies feed,

Supply our fainting spirits’ need:

O Bread of life, from day to day

Be Thou their Comfort, Food, and Stay.

Joseph Anstice, 1836

©Jeff Guess 2017

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