Lent Devotions: Song to say for Orpah

Design by Doug Puller/Bread for the World.

Editor’s note: This Lent season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals written by staff, alumni, and friends of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). 




By Lucas Walker   

Ruth 1:6-18


Sometimes we can’t follow the ones we love. 


We watch the curve of their necks, corded like gazelle,

bent into a new wind which does not blow for us.

It takes them away. For reasons left out,

     reasons maybe too deep for knowing,

the wind ushers them out of your last embrace, allowing very faintly on its wave

a promise of reunion down some other road.


From edges to center you burn as they fade,

together-clinging, while your palm is empty, unclasped

     waiting for Someone far from you now.


Nothing waits in your past;

everything there is locked in amber, ice and coal. 

No one is ahead of you in the place you left behind.

The road back would loop you in circles,

     a new needle in an old groove.


Dear heart, a new horizon bloomed like a wildfire

as soon as They called you outside.


You have turned from the road you could not take;

now, turn from the road that would lead you to a previous horizon.

Your palm may be empty, unclasped, and waiting

     but you can grip your own unknowing.


Take this chance.

You are standing in the widest space of recent memory, poised

     between that which could not be, for you,

     and that which can no longer be at all.


A forest will find you, unsought but desired. Chances are

you will have to stamp your own path through its wonder, make new memories

     of ice, amber, and coal.

Chances are, Someone is waiting to embrace you

but no one knows how far you might have to climb.

Find your freedom. Do it.


Turn from it all and run. 

Lucas Walker is a pastoral care associate at San Francisco Theological Seminary. He also graduated from the seminary with a Master of Divinity degree.

Related Resources