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Canadian poet Hannah Main–van der Kamp created "Strange and Stranger Within the Gate" in response to Ruth 2:6-8 and the theme of “strangers.”

Ruth 2:6-8

Strange and Stranger Within the Gate


Hannah Main-van der Kamp


Theme: Strangers
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Curated by: 

Spark+Echo Arts



Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

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Ostensibly, this prose poem is a monologue by the Biblical Ruth. A number of different verses could be used as markers e.g Ruth 1: 19, 2:10, 4:13. As I worked on it I was struck by the way in which Ephesians 3:6 (I was preparing a homily for Epiphany) resonates with Ruth's story. I also refer to Exodus 20:8 for the generosity of the Sabbath day command. In addition I hope to evoke the Magnificat Luke 1:46. Ruth's final words refer, unknowingly, to John 3:15.

A stranger and taking on new customs and beliefs, Ruth cannot know anything about the sacrifice of the Prince of heaven. The irony is both bitter and sweet. Ruth thus restates the un-readiness of God's people at the time of the Judges to relinquish the notion of sacrifice though they used animals for the rituals. Yet, she is ready to give her heart and in so doing prefigures the Gospel on two counts: the self-giving of Jesus and the self-giving that is required of all of us.

I also hope that at the very opening of this poem the plight of refugees everywhere will instantly spring to readers' minds.

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

Poet, editor, homilist and reviewer, Hannah Main – van der Kamp teaches reading and writing as spiritual practice. Her published work has appeared since the late sixties in a variety of places including religious, literary and environmental publications. She wrote the poetry reviews for BCBOOKWORLD for eight years. Her latest titles include ACCORDING TO LOON BAY, SLOW SUNDAY ON THE MALASPINA STRAIT and BRIGHT AT BLACK POINT. Her work was included in FORCE FIELD, a recent anthology of BC writers. She contributes to on-line publication including artwayeu.

Hannah’s interests include permaculture, meditation, birds, contemporary art and poetry. She is active in the Anglican parish of St David and St Paul in Powell River, B.C., Canada.

Hannah Main–van der Kamp

About the Artist

Hannah Main–van der Kamp

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