There is something to be said about a right of passage. The things we do at these ceremonies sometimes can be a little weird, but there is something special about it. At weddings, for a more conservative culture the fact that at every wedding we have the Bride get in a chair, the groom goes up her dress, pulls off the garter (under garments) and throws them at a huddle of single men to see who will get married next…… something is wrong here right?
We do it though. It’s important. It’s one of the things at weddings that help people to know and see you as a couple, not just a few people who are dating. It changes things. Sometimes, the biggest thing it changes is the perception and not the reality. We do it, it’s important.
In this passage, Boaz does some really strange things where he trades shoes with a guy and then he gets blessed over by some religious people and they say some promises and oaths. It all very strange. But it’s important. Its part of community. Its participating in society and in many ways being submissive the way we’ve been called to in the New Testament. It’s important, but there is a little nugget of amazing theological truth here.
Ruth was more than likely barren. She had been married, had not produced a son, and the assumption by most scholars of the text is that she could not have children. This was another reason she decided to go with Naomi in the opening of the story. She couldn’t go to another man because she would never bear children.
In the blessings, they pray for her, that she be like Rachel and Leah, who though barren, produced many children to help build God’s people. They prayed these things for her, and we know from this book and some others in the Bible the she ultimately was responsible for the birth of King David. She ultimately was responsible for the Birth of Jesus. They were her great great great great great…(you get the point) grandchildren. She did give birth, and that birth was something more beautiful than anyone could have ever known at the time.
There is just something important about having people to love and pray over you. There is something about a community that cares enough about your life and faith to pray for them. Its why the apostles met in homes to pray with each other. Its why Jesus, in his darkest moment only wanted his disciples to stay up a little longer and pray for him. There is something special in the Bible about a community close and loving enough to pray for each other.
Who are you praying for? Who is close enough in your life that you constantly ask God to bless them? Is there someone that you’ve overlooked and may need to draw closer to? Who in your life is praying for you? Who have you been vulnerable enough with that they would even know what to pray about?