Bible Month 2020 – Ruth

Welcome to our Bible Month resourcing pages. Here you will find links to materials and talks to help you in your thinking, praying and planning to lead worship services, small groups of all ages, and to enable preaching preparation across the month of June on the wonderful story of Ruth.

For more information about Bible Month visit Preach and download a free copy of the Ruth resource or order a paper copy online. The Regional Learning Network has some supplies – contact Lorraine Darlow for these at darlowl@methodistchurch.org.uk

Bible Month 2020 focuses on the book of Ruth, a short and sometimes overlooked story that show’s God’s faithfulness to a Moabite who travels to Israel. The Bible notes for this series have been written by Dr Rachel Starr. You can listen to her explore teaching below.

As you prepare:

  1. Make sure you have access to the Ruth magazine (pdf or paper copy), a pen and some paper.
  2. Take some time to be still and ask God to guide your thoughts and ideas as you work through the resources. Use this prayer at the beginning of your time today:
    Almighty God, in these strange times where we are experiencing uncertainty and we know the reality of an ever present threat, we are grateful for the networks of family and friends that we have, and the technological tools that keep us connected in our networks online.
    As we look to explore the book of Ruth, we are watching the world change with new boundaries for living and we are faced with unfamiliar situations, like empty supermarket shelves. People seem employed in a bizarre kind of harvesting – one where there is reaping, gathering and gleaning with potential cost of others.
    Our world has suddenly begun to look different, with an unfamiliarity that prevents us gathering freely in person but forces us instead to connect in different ways. We celebrate the tools we have in our age but are mindful that we don’t need to consume all at our fingertips just because it is available.
    Loving God, help us to engage for a time through these online resources, to hear you in our reading, listening, watching and wondering, and to enjoy conversation with others whether they are beside us in person or across the virtual world. We offer you ourselves – our time, our presence and our open hearts.
    Amen.
    May you know God walking with you and God’s great love for you today. And may God’s care and protection meet your needs and bring blessing to you today. Much love, Lorraine
  3. What do you recall of the book of Ruth?
    Are there memorable aspects or key themes that stand out for you?
    Chat to those you are gathered with or note down what comes to mind.
  4. What questions, presumptions or barriers are you aware of as you approach the text? Take time to note these and consider them as you work through the material.
  5. In remembering the current priorities of biblical engagement and social action:
    – How might you approach this story in fresh ways to discover the story anew? In you role(s), how might you help others in their approach and discovery too?
    – How can you plan responses to the story, for yourself and in encouraging others towards areas of social action?

As you begin:

  1. Listen to this song This is where I belong
  2. Reflect on what it means ‘to belong’.
    Note down the words, draw the images or ponder those ideas.
    What song can you think of that captures or reminds you of these things?
  3. Consider how you might introduce this whole story in a church service for all ages, or in a small group gathering of children, young people or adults, and what songs or creative prayer ideas might work well to set the scene for the story. One idea is to use the Godly Play story of Ruth. Watch that here

As

As you listen or watch:

  1. Listen to Dr Tom Greggs introductory podcast as he sets the background to the Book of Ruth here:

    What stands out to you about the context of Ruth?
    What questions does it raise for you? How does your experiences, presuppositions or things that are important to you, influence the questions you ask? Continue to reflect on and critique these things as you work through the Chapters.
    Or
    Watch Session 1 on Ruth from Dr Rachel Starr here in which she shares the context before going on to discuss Chapters 1 and 2 in this session. Following from that is Session 2, covering Chapters 3 and 4, then a Q&A session. You will need to pause the video material at certain points to work through the material below. Accompanying Dr Rachel Starr’s sessions are her presentation slides in note handouts here Ruth Bible Month 2020 sessions

  2. Listen to Dr Tom Greggs as he explores Ruth Chapter 1 here:

    and Ruth Chapter 2 here:

    Or continue to watch Session 1 from Dr Rachel Starr.
    Have a short break between Chapters to note any ideas or questions.

  3. You are half way through! Pause for a break (and hit pause on the video if you are watching), grab a drink, have a wander and do some wondering…or just enjoy some fresh air or the view from your window.
  4. Feeling refreshed? Now consider what you heard so far about the background, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of Ruth, and note down the following towards planning for your context(s):
    • How might you set the scene for Chapter 1 and for Chapter 2 in either an all-age gathering, an adult gathering, a gathering for children and/or young people, or a gathering of older people?
    • What practical things do you need to consider for the context and needs of those participating?
    • How can you engage all the senses and learning preferences?
    • What ‘one key premise’ do you want to communicate and explore (in your story telling, preaching, discussion, etc) for Chapter 1 and for Chapter 2?
    • To develop your knowledge and ideas around principles for communicating well, Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones is a great read!
    • How will you create movement, share story, invite discussion, and use creativity to communicate well and build ideas as you explore that one key premise? Who else might help with this?
    • Having explored ideas, how will you conclude in order to land well or draw things together to move on to what comes next?
    • How could you invite response through silence, discussion, music, song, prayer, creative expression, play, and action.
    • What ‘take away’ ideas can you offer for those gathered to explore what has been shared in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 further, to live out challenges or take action in their world?
  5. Have a break! After lots of thinking and planning for Chapters 1 and 2, rest your mind and enjoy some food and refreshments.
  6. Now it is time to listen to Ruth Chapter 3 from Dr Tom Greggs here:

    and Ruth Chapter 4 here:

    Or watch Session 2 from Dr Rachel Starr as she explores Chapters 3 and 4.
    Have a short break between Chapters to note any ideas or questions.

  7. Now consider what you heard or watched regarding Chapters 3 and 4.  Take time to work through the bullet points from 4. above for these Chapters too.

What next:

  1. The Ruth magazine is filled with bible notes and suggestions to spark ideas that will work for you as you facilitate gatherings small or large, and for all ages and abilities. Linked pages on the district website for Ruth Chapters 1-4 will continue to be populated with ideas too! Keep checking these out as you prepare for bible month in June.
  2. If you can’t gather with others in person, think about how you might use online tools, phones, post or hand deliver information to share ideas that help us continue to worship, learn, care, serve and share the good news with others! God calls us to follow…even when the landscape and context changes, we can still walk faithfully and know God’s presence and goodness.
  3. Listen to this song by Housefires Mountain to Valley
  4. Give thanks to God and remember others in need today – pray that you and they will be wrapped in God’s love and presence, and know God’s goodness no matter what circumstances we face.

Peace and blessings.

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