Weekly Worship Material 11.10.2020

Order of Service 11th October 2020  - Ruth Chapter 2 - prepared by John Hardy

 

Call to Worship:

Lord God, faithful and loving, we do not always feel ready for worship.  Sometimes our minds are distracted and elsewhere, weighed down by the burdens of our lives.  So help us, in this time together, to find it within our hearts to rejoice in your constancy and loving care for us.  

So we come to sing

Hymn 32 (StF): Meet and right it is to sing

   1 Meet and right it is to sing,

in every time and place,

glory to our heavenly King,

the God of truth and grace:

join we then with sweet accord,

all in one thanksgiving join;

holy, holy, holy Lord,

eternal praise be thine.

   3 Vying with that happy choir,

who chant thy praise above,

we on eagles' wings aspire,

the wings of faith and love:

thee they sing with glory crowned,

we extol the slaughtered Lamb;

lower if our voices sound,

our subject is the same.

   2 Thee the first-born sons of light,

in choral symphonies,

praise by day, day without night,

and never, never cease;

angels and archangels all

praise the mystic Three in One,

sing, and stop, and gaze, and fall

o’erwhelmed before thy throne.

   4    Father, God, thy love we praise,

which gave thy Son to die;

Jesus, full of truth and grace,

alike we glorify;

Spirit, Comforter divine,

praise by all to thee be given;

till we in full chorus join,

and earth is turned to heaven.

                                     Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Prayer of Adoration Praise and Confession: 

Let us pray:

Gracious Eternal God, we stand before You now in awe because You spoke and brought the world into being, You shaped our bodies and breathed into us the gift of life.  Majestic, awesome and wonderful, yet at the same time, a tender, loving and kind Father. 

But, in Your Son, You gave up the treasures of Heaven and lived alongside us on this planet and showed us how life should be lived and paid the ultimate price in full on the Cross.

We praise You that through Your Spirit, present at creation, and the inspiration and strength of Your Son Jesus on earth, You came, and continue to come today, to lead and inspire Your people.  As we meet together now, called by You to love and serve you, bind us together we pray into Your purpose for us and for the world in which we live, as we seek to worship You and serve You.

But we confess before You that we have not always followed that calling.  We have not served You nor cared for others, as we should.  So, in the quietness, we come now to say sorry for the times we have let You and ourselves down and we thank You that because of what Jesus did and the love he displayed, we know our sins are forgiven. Thanks be to God.  Amen 

 

Reading:  The Kings Feast Matthew ch 22 vv 1-14

22    1Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” 5But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” 10Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 ‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 14For many are called, but few are chosen.’

Reading:  Growth in Belief (Ruth ch 2 1 - 22)

2   1Now Naomi had a kinsman on her husband’s side, a prominent rich man, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. 2And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, ‘Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain, behind someone in whose sight I may find favour.’ She said to her, ‘Go, my daughter.’ 3So she went. She came and gleaned in the field behind the reapers. As it happened, she came to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. 4Just then Boaz came from Bethlehem. He said to the reapers, ‘The Lord be with you.’ They answered, ‘The Lord bless you.’ 5Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, ‘To whom does this young woman belong?’ 6The servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, ‘She is the Moabite who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7She said, “Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the reapers.” So she came, and she has been on her feet from early this morning until now, without resting even for a moment.’  

8Then Boaz said to Ruth, ‘Now listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9Keep your eyes on the field that is being reaped, and follow behind them. I have ordered the young men not to bother you. If you get thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.’ 10Then she fell prostrate, with her face to the ground, and said to him, ‘Why have I found favour in your sight, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?’ 11But Boaz answered her, ‘All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12May the Lord reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge!’ 13Then she said, ‘May I continue to find favour in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, even though I am not one of your servants.’

14At mealtime Boaz said to her, ‘Come here, and eat some of this bread, and dip your morsel in the sour wine.’ So she sat beside the reapers, and he heaped up for her some parched grain. She ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15When she got up to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, ‘Let her glean even among the standing sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16You must also pull out some handfuls for her from the bundles, and leave them for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.’

17So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. 18She picked it up and came into the town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gleaned. Then she took out and gave her what was left over after she herself had been satisfied. 19Her mother-in-law said to her, ‘Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.’ So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, ‘The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz.’ 20Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, ‘Blessed be he by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!’ Naomi also said to her, ‘The man is a relative of ours, one of our nearest kin.’ 21Then Ruth the Moabite said, ‘He even said to me, “Stay close by my servants, until they have finished all my harvest.” ’ 22Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, ‘It is better, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, otherwise you might be bothered in another field.’ 23So she stayed close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests; and she lived with her mother-in-law.

Reflection: Last week, in the first chapter of Ruth, we saw how a distraught Naomi returned to Bethlehem from Moab having lost her husband, 2 sons and all her possessions, and, rather begrudgingly, with her daughter-in-law, Ruth, who she had tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade to return with Orpah to Moab.  But Ruth preferred to stay with Naomi, as she made clear “Where-ever you go, I will go, wherever you live, I will live, and, significantly, Your God will be my God”.

The story tells us that the whole town came out to greet Naomi enthusiastically, but she remained depressed, having lost everything dear to her – apart from a daughter-in-law she would rather do without, and who both she and the townspeople tried to ignore – not least because she was a poor foreigner with nothing to offer to Naomi or the town. Little wonder that Naomi thought God had forsaken her!  At the beginning of chapter 2, in the face of people’s indifference to her, we see Ruth willingly offering to go out and collect scraps of food, dropped, or ignored, by the farm workers.  Was this prompted by that indifference, or her earlier commitment to stand by Naomi, a reflection perhaps that during her 10 years or more, living in the family, she had begun to understand and appreciate their worship of the God of the Israelites and marked the beginning of her commitment to worshipping the same God rather than the God previously worshipped in Moab?

Then there came the day when Boaz visited his workers in the field in which Ruth was scavenging for corn.  He was a distant relative of Elimelech, Naomi’s deceased husband and was well respected.  Indeed, I understand that when King Solomon built the Temple, he had statues erected to a number of leaders of his people down the ages and one of the statues was in honour of Boaz.  He was a man of great standing in the community and clearly faithful to the God of the Israelites and as a result, treated his workers kindly.  When the foreman told him that Ruth “was just a foreigner from Moab”, he immediately expressed his concern for her welfare and even told her to join the other workers for a meal.  A man of faith, demonstrated in his willingness to not only support his own workers, but welcome strangers – even foreigners and those who were vulnerable, and so he took Ruth under his wing and made sure that she could experience protection in an alien environment.  Here surely was a very early example perhaps of how a seasonal worker should be treated in a foreign country.  In his recognition of the goodness and faithfulness of his God, he knew that that should be mirrored in his relationship with those he met, be they close friends or the poor and vulnerable in society at large.  Through Boaz’s approach and clear relationship with God, Ruth’s fledging faith  started to grow too.

When she returned home, Naomi was amazed at just how much corn she had brought back and realised just how much support Boaz had given Ruth.  Through that realisation, she regained her faith in the God of Israel, who she had despised and deserted when life was difficult, and prayed for a blessing on Boaz.  A total turn-around and reconciliation between herself and her God.  The chapters end with the statement that Ruth continued to live with Naomi.  A devastating loss of family and faith was overcome by the commitment and support of Ruth. Their fractured relationship had also been healed and they were reconciled to each other.

In this part of the story of Ruth, we see that the driving force for Boaz in his concern for his workers, and even foreigners such as Ruth, was his recognition of the goodness and faithfulness of his God, which had to be reflected in his relationships with others, irrespective of race or colour.  We also see that Ruth’s commitment to stand by her promise to support Naomi, came from her growing understanding and awareness of the faithfulness of the God of Israel through her relationship with, and involvement in, the life of an Israeli family.  And we see that Naomi’s renewal of faith in her God sprang from the kindness and support of Ruth.  In their different experiences, we see the faithfulness of God and His Goodness, no matter what the circumstances, are not confined by frontiers of race or poverty.

In these difficult times of coronavirus-related lockdowns and the loss of friends and family, and shortages of toilet rolls and bread flour, how difficult is it to hold on to our belief in the faithfulness and goodness of God?  Against that background, how difficult is it to recognise the even greater needs of the thousands of refugees in transit camps in France or Greece or those starving in countries even harder hit by coronavirus and shortages of life’s basic essentials?  Is the temptation to say “It’s all too difficult” or “it doesn’t really bother me” or even “I’m alright Jack, blow the others”.

In today’s Gospel reading, the King prepared a feast for his invited guests, but none came and eventually his servants went out and brought folk in from the highways and byways, including someone who was inappropriately dressed.  When the King asked him why he hadn’t bothered with a dinner suit or its equivalent, he gave no reply and was thrown out.  Could it be that everyone else was pleased to be in the King’s presence, but he couldn’t care less?  Did everyone else rejoice in what the King offered them and appreciated the goodness and generosity of the King?

We are in a privileged position.  We have received the King’s invitation to the feast and to share in and experience His Love, but how much do we really appreciate the goodness and faithfulness of our King?  In all we seek to do, how much do we reflect His Love in every aspect of our lives and appreciate all that He is and all that He can be, for those who come to Him?  How much do we make this known and show it in our willingness to demonstrate that love in our outreach in the community and to those in need of support – the poor, the vulnerable, and the immigrant – those who, through their situation, don’t really, or perhaps can’t, appreciate just what the King offers to them and so find themselves isolated and alone?Let us ensure that we fully participate at the King’s feast and share His Faithfulness and Love with those living on the outskirts and edge of a fulfilling life. 

 

Hymn 51 (StF) Great is Thy Faithfulness.

1  Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,

there is no shadow of turning with thee;

thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;

as thou hast been thou for ever wilt be:

2 Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

join with all nature in manifold witness

to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love:

       Great is thy faithfulness!  Great is thy faithfulness!  Great is thy faithfulness!

 Morning by morning new mercies I see;

 all I have needed thy hand hath provided.

 Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

 3  Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

    Great is thy faithfulness!  

Points to Ponder: Thomas O. Chisholm (1866–1960)

      What might Ruth teach us about seeking justice for ourselves and others?

      How does our faith in God offer us a refuge and the boldness to step out in His Name?

      How do we seek “To do what is just, to show constant love and to live in humble fellowship with our God?

 

Intercessions:

Let us pray:  

Loving God, we come now to pray, not for ourselves, but each other – for those we know and those we don’t; for situations we understand and for those that confound us.  We pray for all those who feel excluded.  For those excluded through poverty, we pray for fairness; for those excluded by their gender, we pray for equality; for those excluded because of their faith or religion we pray for understanding; for those excluded because of their race or colour we pray for justice.

Help us we pray to overcome anything and everything we do or say that gets in the way of those who have been excluded from experiencing for themselves Your Loving Faithfulness and care.

Fill us, we pray, with the power of Your Spirit as we seek to not only pray for, but practically support, all those who we remember before You now.  

These, our prayers, we ask in the precious name of Jesus, who taught us when we pray to say:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name,

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and for ever.      Amen

 

Hymn 696 (StF): For the healing of the nations

   1 For the healing of the nations,

Lord, we pray with one accord;

for a just and equal sharing

of the things that earth affords.

To a life of love in action

help us rise and pledge our word.

   3 All that kills abundant living,

let it from the earth be banned;

pride of status, race, or schooling,

dogmas that obscure your plan.

In our common quest for justice

may we hallow life's brief span.

   2 Lead us forward into freedom;

from despair your world release,

that, redeemed from war and hatred,

all may come and go in peace.

Show us how through care and goodness

fear will die and hope increase.

   4 You, Creator-God, have written

your great name on humankind;

for our growing in your likeness

bring the life of Christ to mind;

that by our response and service

earth its destiny may find.

                                                 Fred Kaan (1929–2009)

Benediction:

As we go our separate ways, we know that we never go alone.  We thank God that throughout our life’s journey, He leads us and is always faithful to us and equips us to proclaim His Kingship to those we meet. And so, together we pray:-

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all.                      

Amen

 Words for the hymns are re-produced from Singing the Faith Music Edition. CCLI reproduced under licence No.1905000

Please be assured that we are still here if you need anything at all during this time. 

Circuit staff can be contacted by calling 01933 312778 Rev Lesley Dinham / 01933 622137 Rev Kim Shorley.  


Printer Printable Version