Week 4 of Ruth
Welcome Everybody by Fischy Music, a song to welcome everyone gathering together – physically or virtually.
Take a few moments to be still, and to remember all the times this week where you have…
known God’s care in acts of kindness
known God’s encouragement in conversations
known God’s strength when you’ve felt weak
God’s love and faithfulness are everlasting.
Sing of God’s unfailing love.
Read Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18 from The Amplified Version
Listen or sing along to Goodness of God
Come Christians join to Sing by Fischy Music, encouraging everyone to sing praise 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 4 from the New Century Version which begin ‘Boaz went to the city gate and sat there…’
Listen to Dr Tom Greggs as he talks about Ruth Chapter 4:
Dr Rachel Starr says that this concluding chapter of Ruth serves to demonstrate the acceptance of Ruth, and especially Naomi, by the community of Bethlehem. Naomi’s needs are finally met. Land restored, daughter secured, she receives another son. Like Seth, the third son of Eve (Genesis 4:25), Obed is seen to restore something of what has been lost. You can read more in the Ruth Magazine.
Questions to ponder… choose one point below to ponder yourself or with others:
- As you reflect on the whole of Ruth, I wonder…
- What you remember most about this story?
- Which of the people in the story you find most interesting or where you see yourself in the story of this person?
- Where you found God in this story?
- As you reflect on your own story and faith community, I wonder…
- What are our needs and obligations?
- Which branches of our family tree and our faith do we celebrate? Why?
- Which ancestors do we hide away? Why?
- As you reflect on the ending of this story in particular, I wonder…
- Can loss be so easily overcome? Both Ruth and Job end with a reversal of loss but can loss be overcome?
- What can help someone overcome loss? Consider the loss of a loved one, home, pet, marriage, school, job, income, etc?
- As you reflect on your local community, I wonder…
- How might we embrace the breach in our own communities, celebrating the complexity of ourselves and the other?
(2) Remember the story of Ruth and the others in her story that you have watched, read or listened to so far.
If you can retell the story in your own words?
What you remember most about Ruth’s story?
Which of the people in the story you find most interesting or see yourself in their story?
What part of the story is the most important part for you?
Where you found God in this story?
Remember there are ideas for Children and Young People and for Intergenerational groups in the Ruth Magazine on page 21.
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 Blessed be You Name 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.
- Story sharing
Where might you have the opportunity to retell the story of Ruth this week? Think about how you might share the story in your own words and who you could share it with. Talk about what part of the story is the most important part for you, and why. And revisit the story in different forms, e.g. different bible versions, movie clips on YouTube, children’s bible story books.
- Make a list
Use post it notes, a white board, the notes function on your phone/tablet, or paper and pen, to make a list of the things you feel you are in need of this week. Or create a collage of pictures from photos from a magazine by cutting and sticking to a sheet of paper.
Now do a similar activity with the things you have committed to or feel obligated to do this week – a ‘to do list’ or ‘dairy list’.
Compare the two lists. Which is the longest? I wonder what that says to you?
– How can you #LoveYourself well this week? God wants you to be the best you! And to bless you!
– How can you #LoveYourNeighbour well this week? God wants to bless the world through you! We are blessed to be a blessing!
- Tick or Cross
Using the ‘to do’ or ‘diary list’ above, arrange these in order of priority or timescales as you see them. Now mark the ones with a tick (✓) that you feel gives you joy and energises you; and mark the ones with a cross (x) that you feel burdens you or that saps your energy.
Compare the ticks and crosses. Which are there more of?
– I wonder what you could do to reduce the number of crosses and increase the number of ticks?
– Who could you speak to about helping you with redressing the balance?
We may be in physical lockdown but your minister is only a phone call away. #ItIsGoodToTalk
- Church Family Tree
Create a family tree using online tools/apps or drawing a tree with branches. Place names or photos of those who have been supportive and nurturing as spiritual parents, grandparents, brothers/sisters in your faith journey. Write a note or send a text or call one of those people each day this week to tell them what an encouragement they have been.
Make a Difference by Fischy Music, about having the power to make a difference in this world.
- As you reflect on your own story and faith community, I wonder…