In his reflections on Ruth Monson’s life, The Rev. Kent Johnson of the English Lutheran Church in La Crosse, WI, noted that Ruth regularly gave him material on the plight of the Palestinians, specifically copies of The Link. It reminded him, he said, of the widow in the parable of the judge who refused to grant her justice against her opponent. Undeterred, the widow persisted to the point where the judge relented just to keep her quiet. Pastor Johnson then echoed Jesus’s own commentary: “Will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?”
Ruth was such a crier after justice. For some 11 years she lived with her husband, John, in the Middle East, where they witnessed, as do so many Americans with eyes to see, the cruelty of a military occupation that is being subsidized with American tax dollars. When they returned home to La Crosse in 1990, Ruth became an active member in the Prayer Vigil for Peace with Justice in the Middle East, the La Crosse ELCA Synod Middle East Subcommittee, several Bethlehem Events at English Lutheran and, last year, she offered a four-week series at the church entitled Steadfast Hope.
Prior to her death, Ruth expressed the wish that, in lieu of flowers, a donation be made in her memory to Americans for Middle East Understanding. Such recognition was for us a profound honor.
But Ruth went further. She asked that each donor be sent a complimentary copy of The Link. Getting the word out, after all, was what mattered. And, indeed, each of the contributors—and there were many of them —will receive this issue of The Link which we are pleased to dedicate in Ruth’s memory.
Sumud is the Arabic word that’s often translated as steadfastness. But it’s more than that. It’s more a single-minded, raw tenacity, not unlike the kind the widow had before her unjust judge.
Ruth Monson had that kind of steadfastness.