Week 3 of Ruth
God beside by Fischy Music, a song to remember that each day, at all times, God is with us in every situation. Whether you are on your own, with family or meeting virtually, God is behind, beside and ahead of you today.
Take a few moments to be still, and remember a situation this week…
that has been difficult to endure
or where you found comfort or recompense
or that restored joy and hope for the future
God’s kindness, grace, compassion and love are constant.
Don’t rush past the moments or memories.
God meets us in those places and meets with us here.
Worship God in all circumstances for God redeems and restores us.
Read Psalm 69:7-10, 16-18 from The Passion Translation
Listen or sing along to The Steadfast Love of the Lord
Bring it all to me by Fischy Music, about bringing all our circumstances and feelings to God
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 and by phone, especially when we are physically distant.
As we explore the book of Ruth, we are watching the world change with new boundaries for living and we are faced with unfamiliar situations. This week we see…[add own response]
People have engaged in a bizarre kind of harvesting or gleaning – one characterised by gathering and hoarding without due consideration of those who are marginalised but also by generosity of sharing and provision for different kinds of need. We are sorry when…[add own response]
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 and gives thanks for…[add own response]
Loving God, help us to engage for a time through these 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.
Choose either (1) written with adults and older teenagers in mind, or (2) written with children or intergenerational groups in mind, then respond in prayers of intercession.
(1) Read Ruth Chapter 3 from the New Living Version which begins ‘One day Naomi said to Ruth…’
Listen to Dr Tom Greggs as he talks about Ruth Chapter 3:
Dr Rachel Starr says that Ruth, encouraged by her mother-in-law, takes further action to secure a home for herself and Naomi. Both women resist their fate as poor widows. Under cover of riotous festivities, Ruth rebels against social protocol, seeking out Boaz at night and demanding he redeem her. You can read more in the Ruth Magazine.
Questions to ponder… choose one point below to ponder yourself or with others:
- What might the book of Ruth help us to speak of?
Perhaps the dangerous places or difficult circumstances people find themselves in – through their vulnerability, misfortune, need, or threats to their safety.
What kind of people does that remind you of? (e.g. refugees, orphaned children, people of all ages forced to live or work on the streets,
What do you see/hear/smell as you think of them?
How might you want to respond to them?
- Who is righteous in the book of Ruth?
Dictionary definitions of righteous include: morally right, good, justifiable, virtuous.
Who in this story displays these qualities? Is that a surprise or expected?
What symbols or actions do you find particularly helpful?
- What barriers do we put up? What stops us from participating in God’s work of redemption?
Perhaps fear of the unknown, lack of confidence, assumed danger or risk, other relationships and commitments, time or finances, waiting for someone else to act first.
As you consider people who are in need of help with recovery, restoration, rescue, or release, what, who or where comes to mind? How might you participate in that in some way?
- What does our identity as a community of faith mean to us, and to others?
Dictionary definitions of identity include: distinctiveness, character, qualities, beliefs, etc, that distinguish or identify a person or thing.
How would you describe the distinctiveness of your faith community?
Describe the qualities and values that are easy to observe in your community of faith.
What do those distinctives and values mean to you? What do you think they mean to others?
What part of this story you liked best?
What part of the story you noticed for the first time, or that stood out more?
What questions you would ask Ruth if you could?
How you think Ruth would answer?
Remember there are ideas for Children and Young People and for Intergenerational groups in the Ruth Magazine on page 20.
Responding to the Word:
Be still for a few moments. As you recall the themes from this chapter of Ruth and hold your thoughts in this stillness, remember those people and situations to bring to God in prayer.
- Perhaps you would like to light a candle (or use an LED candle), or focus on a picture or an object that reminds you of prayer as you do this.
- Perhaps you would like to listen to this song Bad Times Won’t Last as you offer to God your prayers, and focus on the images it paints.
Choose what might be appropriate for you, and help children and young people to choose what they would like to use to respond to the themes from Ruth’s story so far.
- What are your reading and hearing?
Reflect on the stories and comments that are being shared on the news and media sources you are reading at the moment. What do they speak of? What is a righteous response in your opinion? What action could you take to speak into these issues – with your family, your neighbours, a local politician, or a church member/leader – to raise awareness or request action?
- Barriers and Beyond
Reflect on the kind of things that have happened during the lockdown situation which have helped to remove barriers to those beyond our own homes? E.g. rainbows in windows, clapping in the streets, etc, to communicate feelings and encouragement for others. What else could you do to remove either a physical barrier or relational barrier to your neighbours, family members, friends or church family, to help share something of your faith story?
- The church I see…
How do you see your church community? Make a list of characteristics or paint a picture of how that looks to you. What are you grateful for? What would you like to change? What do you think God sees?
Chat to someone this week about what these questions have helped you think about and what you may like to do about them.
- Seeing as others see…
How is your church community viewed by others?
– Why might this be?
– What is the DNA or identity of your church that you want others to be aware of?
– How are you listening to the views of others in your church community, including children and young people, or those on the fringes of your church, or those who have particular difficulties?
– How could you help make their views or experiences more widely heard?
– Who could you talk with about this, and how/when could that take place?
As we go now by Fischy Music, about treasuring one another
You will find Week 4 Resources on the next page ->