The resources on these pages offer ideas to use on your own, or with others in your home or in virtual gatherings, whether on Sundays or midweek. They include ideas for sharing with children, young people and all ages together. Text in purple indicates an activity or way of responding to what is offered.
This introductory page offers resources you can draw on at different times throughout the series each week.
Some songs, identified with this symbol, have been included each week with children in mind. They are written and performed by Fischy Music and will be familiar to many children as Fischy songs are widely used in schools and churches in Scotland and beyond. They are great for all ages too! You’ll find lots here.
This symbol is used to identify opportunities to use open-ended questions to wonder about bible stories or ideas with children, but these may also be of interest to different ages.
A Prayer to begin and for use through these weeks in Ruth
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. We have experienced physical distancing and empty supermarket shelves, where 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.
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 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.
An introduction to Ruth
Ruth is a story about finding home and hope. Often read as a romantic comedy which begins, more or less, ‘once upon a time’ and ends, more or less, ‘and they lived happily ever after,’ those who spend time with it come to see how it resists interpretation. Unsettling and transformative, Ruth offers new models of relationship, and provokes fresh insights into what it means to live out faith in the God whose generosity generates yet more life and love. The material that accompanies this series by Dr Rachel Starr is available online.
Listen to an introduction to the background of Ruth by Dr Tom Greggs, which was prepared for our Bible Month training day:
Ideas for all ages at this time
- What and who might you journey with through Bible Month?
Consider what you may like to complete by the end of these weeks in Ruth. It could be:
> a song or poem
> a piece of music
> a drawing or painting
> a collage of photographs
> a journal of your thoughts and reflections
> a series of prayers
> something you knit or build
> a milestone you want to achieve, like walking 10,000 steps a day
> sending cards or regular text messages to encourage family members or friends or those you work with or who are in your church.You may like to choose to accomplish something with someone else, or share what you complete with others.
As you reflect on Ruth and the other characters in the story, reflect too on your own journey at the moment using your chosen activity to help you focus on what God is saying to you in this season.
- Finding home and hope – In what way is your church community a ‘home’ to others?
– In the New Testament, the Greek word for home is oikos, and refers to three related but distinct concepts: the family, the family’s property, and the house. When you think of your church, which of these three descriptions do you think you associate with most often?
– The term ‘household’ is also used to refer to all the people of that house or family – the children, the adults of different generations, and those who are workers/servants. When you think of your church community, do you think you associate one of these three groups more with being ‘the church’? How might that convey value and belonging to other groups?
– As the meaning of oikos can shift within different texts it can be confusing. It is similar to the way the word ‘church’ is used: a church building, a church gathering/service, the body of Christ (Christians everywhere and throughout time), a particular denomination, and for church family or community – the people who are connected through one place or purpose or way of existing together. As you think of your church:
How do you want it to be described? What does this convey about what is important?
How might this embody the concept of ‘home’ for all people of every age, ability, background, etc?
Can you really welcome ALL and help them to belong in your church home?
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
What could you do to advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion?
Find out more about EDI on the Methodist Church website
Striving to prioritise belonging can shape the home and hope that people find among you – and a ‘happily ever after’ – as together you grapple with diversity and strive for transformative living and worship, provoking fresh insights into what it means to live out faith in the God whose generosity generates yet more life and love.
- #LYLYN Join in the activities and share posts on social media
You can join in the social media campaign #loveyourself #loveyourneighbour launched by the Evangelism and Growth team in April, which engages with the many wellbeing conversations that have recently sprung up. At its centre is a gentle rhythm of daily contemplation and action for those of faith, those searching, and those who do not know what they believe. This is an opportunity to speak and share faith in a low-key way. Please share the posts on social media, enjoy the suggested activities offered that help you and are age appropriate, and share the things that are sustaining and life-giving to you so they can be part of what is shared with others.We pray you might glimpse that God is close, more fully appreciate who you are, and increasingly love your neighbour.
Songs of Worship, Praise and Prayer
The resource Ruth – a story of lives interconnected has been prepared by Learning Network colleagues offering Hymn suggestions from Singing the Faith to accompany Rachel Starr’s introduction to the book of Ruth. It covers the themes.
- Who is my neighbour?
- Those unlike us
- Reconciliation and diversity
- Bread and belonging
- Resilience and redemption
Other songs that connect with these themes available on YouTube to listen to, sing along to and reflect on for different ages include:
What other songs would you add as you begin and as you contemplate the story that unfolds?
A prayer of Blessing
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. Amen.
Ending your time in Ruth each week
The words of blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 are being sung all over the world at the moment, pointing to both diversity and solidarity in our situation at this time. It offers a shared voice of compassion, care and love for each one of us as we all need resilience at this time and to know the blessing of God in our many different contexts. Use these and others available to pray each week for your family and friends, your neighbours, your church, your community and country, our world, and hear the world blessing you through this.
As we go now, from Fischy Music, to end time together and remember we walk with one another and continue to help one another
You will find Week 1 resources on Ruth on the next page ->