You Don’t Have to Wait to Be Accepted
For anyone who hasn’t “been there, done that,” the filing of the application and financial aid forms is nothing compared to the waiting. It’s like the first time you look at your potential life partner and say, “I love you.” You’ve made the first move. And then you wait. You wait to see if they respond in turn.
In the application process you may receive some rejections. You may visit a place and change your mind. It may turn out to be more expensive than you dreamed. But, hopefully, you reach a point where a match is found and you receive the happy news. “Accepted!”
We all have the desire to be accepted. The desire to be accepted, made it into Maslow’s well-known hierarchy of needs. He theorized that acceptance is basic to our nature and to our psychological health.
Here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian, after taking a break to celebrate Easter (our Easter sermon can be found here), we resume our journey through the Lucardo/Frazee chronological version of the Bible known as “TheStory.”
We have reached the book of Ruth. Ruth was a Moabite living in Bethlehem. She ended up there with her mother-in-law Naomi after their husbands died. She found herself picking up the leftovers after the harvest in a field owned by a man called Boaz.
Boaz discovered she was an outsider—a Moabite—the same people who would oppress his nation for eighteen years. You wouldn't expect Boaz and Ruth to fall in love. The first time Boaz meets Ruth, he seems to like her, and offers his blessing; “May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
Some time later, partly due to mother-in-laws matchmaking skills, Ruth encounters Boaz asleep on the threshing floor. She lies down at his feet. When he awakens, Ruth asks him; “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a family guardian.”
The word for “garment” is the same Hebrew word for “wings” in the blessing Boaz had earlier pronounced over Ruth. Boaz is a perfect gentleman. Though culturally they were miles apart, there on the threshing floor, he decides Ruth is the one for him. Love creates a bridge of acceptance.
Boaz and Ruth have a son named Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David. According to the genealogy in Matthew's gospel, Boaz and Ruth are part of the ancestral tree of Jesus. As members of the family and household of God, their love story is part of our heritage of faith.
In Ephesians 2:19 Paul tells us that, because of what Jesus has done for us, we “... are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people and also members of His household.” We don't have to wait to be accepted. The love of Jesus has already claimed us as His own. Like Ruth we are invited to find refuge under God's protective wings.
For some music “Who am I?” by Casting Crowns.
Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D.