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Welcome to our series on Resilience
What is resilience?
Resilience is having the strength to fulfil the call God has given us, even when it will be painful and difficult
Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ
be with you
and also with you.
Hymn: Be thou my vision https://youtu.be/6CMclLT_Hjg
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
The lust which dishonours the bodies of men, women and children,
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Song: God forgave my sin https://youtu.be/8vhMfCJzXqk
whose mercy never fails:
deepen our faithfulness to you
and to your living Word,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
First Reading Ruth 1:1-13, 16-20
Narrator: 1 1-2 Long ago, in the days before Israel had a king, there was a famine in the land. So a man named Elimelech, who belonged to the clan of Ephrath and who lived in Bethlehem in Judah, went with his wife Naomi and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion to live for a while in the country of Moab. While they were living there, 3 Elimelech died, and Naomi was left alone with her two sons, 4 who married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. About ten years later 5 Mahlon and Chilion also died, and Naomi was left all alone, without husband or sons.
6 Some time later Naomi heard that the Lord had blessed his people by giving them good crops; so she got ready to leave Moab with her daughters-in-law. 7 They started out together to go back to Judah, but on the way 8 she said to them,
Naomi: “Go back home and stay with your mothers. May the Lord be as good to you as you have been to me and to those who have died. 9 And may the Lord make it possible for each of you to marry again and have a home.”
Narrator: So Naomi kissed them good-bye. But they started crying 10 and said to her,
Ruth and Orpah: “No! We will go with you to your people.”
Naomi 11 “You must go back, my daughters,”
“Why do you want to come with me? Do you think I could have sons again for you to marry? 12 Go back home, for I am too old to get married again. Even if I thought there was still hope, and so got married tonight and had sons, 13 would you wait until they had grown up? Would this keep you from marrying someone else? No, my daughters, you know that's impossible. The Lord has turned against me, and I feel very sorry for you.”
Ruth “Don't ask me to leave you! Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried. May the Lord's worst punishment come upon me if I let anything but death separate me from you!”
Narrator 18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.
19 They went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived, the whole town became excited, and the women there exclaimed,
All “Is this really Naomi?”
Naomi 20 “Don't call me Naomi,” “call me Marah, because Almighty God has made my life bitter. 21 When I left here, I had plenty, but the Lord has brought me back without a thing. Why call me Naomi when the Lord Almighty has condemned me and sent me trouble?”
Song: My Jesus my saviour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGmZcTCXjmM
Second Reading: Ruth 4:1-7,13-17
4 Boaz went to the meeting place at the town gate and sat down there. Then Elimelech's nearest relative, the man whom Boaz had mentioned, came by, and Boaz called to him, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down. 2 Then Boaz got ten of the leaders of the town and asked them to sit down there too. When they were seated, 3 he said to his relative, “Now that Naomi has come back from Moab, she wants to sell the field that belonged to our relative Elimelech, 4 and I think you ought to know about it. Now then, if you want it, buy it in the presence of these men sitting here. But if you don't want it, say so, because the right to buy it belongs first to you and then to me.”
The man said, “I will buy it.”
5 Boaz said, “Very well, if you buy the field from Naomi, then you are also buying Ruth, the Moabite widow, so that the field will stay in the dead man's family.”
6 The man answered, “In that case I will give up my right to buy the field, because it would mean that my own children would not inherit it. You buy it; I would rather not.”
7 Now in those days, to settle a sale or an exchange of property, it was the custom for the seller to take off his sandal and give it to the buyer. In this way the Israelites showed that the matter was settled.
13 So Boaz took Ruth home as his wife. The Lord blessed her, and she became pregnant and had a son. 14 The women said to Naomi, “Praise the Lord! He has given you a grandson today to take care of you. May the boy become famous in Israel! 15 Your daughter-in-law loves you, and has done more for you than seven sons. And now she has given you a grandson, who will bring new life to you and give you security in your old age.” 16 Naomi took the child, held him close, and took care of him.
17 The women of the neighbourhood named the boy Obed. They told everyone, “A son has been born to Naomi!”
Obed became the father of Jesse, who was the father of David.
Reading Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irThVpdeSXk
Last week we looked at Nehemiah, the dynamic leader who faced a seemingly impossible tasks and much opposition- but he got to work with God’s people and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. He had a clear sense of purpose and call- that gave him resilience; he prayed with patience; he stood up to those who oppose him and God.
This week in contrast we have Ruth.
The book of Ruth is a very beautiful story- a much more personal account of one family’s troubles and two women’s strength in seeing them through.
It’s also a story about crossing barriers…
Ruth’s not even an Israelite but a foreigner from Moab - and the Israelites and Moabites didn’t always get on.
She’d married into an Israelite family because, as there was a famine in Israel, they had moved into Moab and settled there.
Naomi and Elimelech who were from God’s people, had moved to another country as they were in need and made a new life there. They were in a sense, economic migrants, refugees, looking to survive and build a better life. Sadly, it didn’t work out well for them.
Though Naomi and her husband Elimelech, did have 2 sons, who settled and married in Moab, Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion all died. So their new life was marred by tragedy. As a widow, Naomi was particularly vulnerable- she was totally dependent on her husband to provide for her. If he died, then she relied on her sons. As they were gone too- there was no-one! There were no jobs for women on their own- and she had little choice but to try and go back to her original home. There are rumours that the famine is now over- there is food again in Israel.
Naomi would have been expected to make journey alone. Her two daughters in law could have stayed in their own country and found new husbands to take care of them. Orpah decides to stay. But Ruth insists on going with her grieving mother-in-law and friend.
Ruth has crossed a barrier.
Ruth makes this great proclamation.
Wherever you go, I’ll go. Your people shall be my people, your God my God.
Ruth is leaving her country, her people and her previous religion- she risks exploitation (she hasn’t got a man to protect her), hardship (she’s got no money) and prejudice (she’s a foreigner).
Ruth’s name means friendship- she has committed herself to Naomi- they are bound together in their tragedy and loss.
And it doesn’t sound like Naomi was that easy to love either.
When she gets back to Bethlehem, she tells her people not to call her Naomi any more- it meant pleasant but to call her Marah which means bitter. God has made my life bitter. Naomi is sad and depressed.
So far our story is difficult- going from one set of hard circumstances to another.
There is a thread of hope here too. It’s in the word Hebrew word is Hesed meaning love and faithfulness.
Naomi, sad though she is, prays for Ruth and Orpah - may God be good to you or deal kindly with you as you have done with me. She asks for God’s love and faithfulness to continue to them.
Once back in Israel, Naomi regains some hope too - she praises God for his faithfulness once she sees that Boaz may help them.
And Ruth stands out like a shining light. Ruth’s love and commitment are extraordinary - it’s been recognised though she’s a foreigner in Israel, that she, Ruth, has shown hesed, love and faithfulness to Naomi.
If we are thinking about resilience, then Ruth and Naomi’s story shows us what difference love and support make. Naomi, even in the height of her grief, prays for God’s love and faithfulness; she wants the best for Ruth and Orpah.
Ruth can’t change her circumstances or Naomi’s sorrow, but she can support Naomi. Her action reflects back to Naomi that love which Naomi has shown her and Ruth continues with her, even when it might have been easier to abandon Naomi.
And through it all, God’s love and faithfulness is here in the midst of the tragedy and pain and uncertainty. It so happens that Ruth goes to pick grain from Boaz’s fields and only once she returns at night does Naomi recognise that this man is a close relative of her dead husband - someone who could help them.
It’s because of Ruth’s character- her actions towards Naomi, that makes Boaz notice her and want to marry her.
Love wins the day!
When we are thinking about what makes us strong or resilient to withstand difficulty, tragedy or ongoing struggles- love and support are key.
Perhaps we’re the people who are doing OK at the moment- who are those we can keep an eye on, be in touch with, pray for or provide practical help?
We are sharing the love and faithfulness that God gives us.
Perhaps we’re the ones who are carrying heavy burdens, struggling and needing support ourselves. Who are we connected to?
Can we ask for that help?
We’ve got some great examples of that ongoing support going on here at St Catherine’s. But it reminds us that we need to build those relationships, make those connections now. It’s so much easier to ask for help or to give support to those we’re already connected to.
So let’s keep connected to the God who loves us throughout all the ups and downs of life. Let’s keep connected to each other- all of the time.
And a final surprising thing. Here again we find the boundless grace of God. This faithful foreign woman, born into the people who were seen as God’s enemies not only becomes one of God’s people but is someone really important.
Ruth marries Boaz, whose son is Obed, whose son is Jesse whose son is David- that’s right, King David. And David is the ancestor of Jesus.
God uses the faithful love of this foreign woman and she becomes an intrinsic part of his plan. Both Naomi and Ruth cross actual land barriers but also barriers of language and culture and religion. Ruth is welcomed back into the fellowship of God’s people and because they do this, they gain someone who becomes an ancestor of David.
So as we think about refugee week, who might we be welcoming here who becomes someone significant in our story, in our land?
Do you believe and trust in God the Father,
source of all being and life,
the one for whom we exist?
We believe and trust in him.
Do you believe and trust in God the Son,
who took our human nature,
died for us and rose again?
We believe and trust in him.
Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit,
who gives life to the people of God
and makes Christ known in the world?
We believe and trust in him.
This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The peace of God be always with you
and also with you.
Let us offer one another a sign of peace
Song: I the Lord of Sea and Sky https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zr9SMm1glI
The Lord is here
His Spirit is with us.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.
It is right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation;
in your love you made us for yourself.
When we turned away
you did not reject us,
but came to meet us in your Son.
You embraced us as your children
and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.
In Christ you shared our life
that we might live in him and he in us.
He opened his arms of love upon the cross and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.
On the night he was betrayed,
at supper with his friends he took bread, and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to them, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.
Father, we do this in remembrance of him:
his body is the bread of life.
At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine,
he gave you thanks, and said:
Drink this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins; do this in remembrance of me.
Father, we do this in remembrance of him: his blood is shed for all.
As we proclaim his death and celebrate his rising in glory,
send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine may be
to us the body and blood of your dear Son.
As we eat and drink these holy gifts
make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.
With your whole Church throughout the world, we offer you this sacrifice of praise
and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven:
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
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.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
We break this bread
to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.
Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
grant us peace.
Draw near with faith.
Receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ
which he gave for you,
and his blood which he shed for you.
Eat and drink
in remembrance that he died for you,
and feed on him in your hearts
by faith with thanksgiving.
Prayer of Spiritual Communion
Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits you have given me,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
may I know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen
Song: Beauty for Brokenness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kVHKuldZyw
we thank you for feeding us
with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.
Through him we offer you our souls and bodies, to be a living sacrifice.
Send us out in the power of your Spirit
to live and work to your praise and glory.
God the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love,
defend you on every side,
and guide you in truth and peace;
and the blessing of God Almighty,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be with you now and remain with you always
Song: Rescuer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daRIMfeAIhI
Go in pe
ace to love and serve the Lord
In the name of Christ. Amen