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The “Blind Date” in a Field of Dreams

 

Ruth 1:22-2:23; Psalm 91:1-2; Matthew 23:37

February 28, 2016 • Download this sermon (PDF)

Beloved congregation of Christ: The 1964 Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof tells the story of a Jewish family living in imperial Russia in the 1900s. He has two main issues: the edict of the Czar to edict all Jews living in their village; and her five independent-minded daughters. The father wants to maintain Jewish religious and cultural traditions, including having her daughters’ marriage arranged by the village “matchmaker.” He wanted her three daughters to marry suitable, wealthy man.

“Harvesters Resting (Ruth and Boaz)” by Jean-François Millet, 1853 (click image to enlarge)

“Harvesters Resting (Ruth and Boaz)” by Jean-François Millet, 1853 (click image to enlarge)

But each of his three older daughters resist this tradition, and want to marry the man of her liking, the love of her life. The oldest falls in love instead with a poor tailor. The second marries a revolutionary who was later arrested and exiled in Siberia. The father reluctantly agrees to the marriage of the first two. But when the third daughter elopes with a Christian, the Jewish father held his line, and declares that this daughter is dead.

In our third lesson on the Book of Ruth today, we sense that Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, is a matchmaker. Naomi seems to have set up a kind of a “blind date” between Ruth and Boaz, Naomi’s distant relative. A blind date is “a social engagement between two people who have not previously met, usually arranged by a mutual acquaintance.” 1 In this definition, the meeting between Ruth and Boaz is a “blind date,” and the “mutual acquaintance” or “matchmaker” is Naomi.

At the end of Chapter 1, we read that Naomi returned to her hometown Bethlehem, after her husband and two sons died in Moab. Ruth, one of her two Moabite daughters-in-law, returned with her. In the last words of the chapter, we find a seemingly insignificant statement, “And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.”

So at the beginning of Chapter 2, after the two women had settled back in Naomi’s house, the big problem was that they had nothing, no food to eat. Since it was the beginning of barley harvest, Ruth asked Naomi if she could glean in one of the fields. Hopefully, she says, she would land in a field owned by a man “in whose sight I shall find favor.”

But there is more to this “blind date” and “matchmaking.” Today, our theme is, “The Blind Date in a Field of Dreams,” under three headings: first, Boaz: “A Worthy Man”;second, “She Happened to Come to Boaz’s Field”; and third, Ruth: “She Found Favor in His Eyes.”

To read the whole sermon, click here.

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Notes:

  1. Definition by thefreedictionary.com.

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