Sunday March 22nd - The Story of Ruth

Welcome to our Service


The Story of Ruth: Faithfulness Rises From Tragedy.


We meet in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

Amen


Song: Mighty to Save

click on video below


As we come to God we're aware of the things that are wrong - so we say sorry:


Confession


Generous God, we have spoiled our lives by our selfishness and greed. 

Wash us clean, make us new, by your grace, by your love.


Loving God, we have spoiled the lives of others by our ignorance and weakness.

Wash us clean, make us new, by your grace, by your love. 


Forgiving God, we have spoiled our relationship with you by our pride and hard heartedness.

Wash us clean, make us new, by your grace, by your love. 


Ever-patient God, we have hurt you by our distance from you.

Wash us clean, make us new, by your grace, by your love.


Hear our prayer, touch our hearts, heal our lives.

In the name of Jesus, who died as a seed dies in the ground, so that we might have eternal life. Amen


Hear God's forgiveness over us:  

Almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon you,

pardon and deliver you from all your sins,

confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,

and keep you in life eternal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


The Collect for today- we pray together

God of love, passionate and strong, tender and careful: watch over us and hold us all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Song: Our God is so Big 

Click on video below



First Reading: 

We going look at one chapter of Ruth  at a time. 

Find it in your Bible...


Or watch a summary of the story here for adults and young people -



Or here for children -  



Ruth and Naomi: Chapter 1 Disaster and Hope


It seems a very fitting story for our times. There was a disaster in Israel- where God's people lived. So Elimelech takes his wife to the country next door- Moab - and settles there. It goes OK for a while- they settled, their children grow up and marry local women but disaster strikes and all the men are no more. So these three women- who aren't blood relations, and actually from different countries, are united only in tragedy. Traditionally families looked after each other so Naomi, mother-in-law to Ruth and Orpah, tries to send the young women back to their original families as she can't look after them. That would have left her all alone in a foreign land. Orpah goes but Ruth clings to Naomi. 

Together they go back to Israel where Naomi came from.


In Ruth chapter 1 verse 16, Ruth says this:


Do not press me to leave you

or to turn back from following you!

Where you go, I will go;

where you lodge, I will lodge;

your people shall be my people,

and your God my God.

Where you die, I will die—

there will I be buried.

May the Lord do thus and so to me,

and more as well,

if even death parts me from you!’


In their pain and loss and tragedy, these women stick together. When we face difficulty or uncertainty or worse, how can we follow Ruth's example - being faithful to someone else, and sticking close together?


As we cling to god in these troubled times, perhaps this next song helps us express what we feel to God.


Song: Weep with me 



Ruth Chapter 2: Ruth’s Great Faith.

So Ruth sticks by Naomi and they go and settle where there are some people from Naomi's husband's family. Ruth gets to work- gleaning- that is she picks up the left over barley once the harvesters have gone through the fields. Boaz, whose field it is, notices her. He hears the rumours of how faithful Ruth has been to Naomi, sees how hard she's working to provide for them both - and he's impressed. He talks to her- and tells her that as she has been so good to Naomi and trusted in God whom Naomi worships, God will reward her. 

It doesn't matter that Ruth is poor; it doesn't matter that she is a foreigner or a woman, it doesn't matter that she has suffered. What Boaz sees (and what God sees) is her faithfulness.

Ruth is faithful, God is faithful beyond what she can imagine.


This is the Creed- our commitment to God:


Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,

from whom every family

in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,

who lives in our hearts through faith,

and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,

who strengthens us

with power from on high.

We believe in one God;

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Amen


Our next song is about how God stays with us- no matter what. You might like to play it as we come to pray.


Song: Our God Stays 



Prayers:Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For the peace that comes from God alone,

for the unity of all peoples,

and for our salvation,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For the Church of Christ, for Christopher and John, our Bishops, for all seeking to do what's right in this crisis

and for the whole people of God,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For the nations of the world, all affected by the Coronavirus, all those whose other issues and problems have go forgotten in the confusion;

for our government, scientists, and for all in authority,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For this city, those working in essenial services schools, hospitals emergencies services; those who are finding ways of supporting the vulnerable

for our neighbours and our friends,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For the good earth which God has given us,

and for the wisdom and will to conserve it,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For the aged and infirm,

for the widowed and orphans,

for the sick and suffering,

those who are frightenedand for all in any need,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For the poor and the oppressed,

for the unemployed and the destitute,

for prisoners and captives,

and for all who remember and care for them,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


Rejoicing in the communion of St Catherine and all the saints,

let us commend ourselves, and one another,

and all our life, to God.

For yours is the majesty,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;

yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory,

now and for ever.

Amen.


The Lord's Prayer - 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.

Amen.

Ruth 3 and 4: God turns the situation round.

Well, it's all a bit unusual - how Ruth and Naomi go about the next chapter. They are resourceful and brave. They have few options- throwing herself at Boaz's feet is literally what Ruth does! But again what he sees is her character and strength. He says - you could have run after someone young or attractive (we think Boaz was an old man) but Ruth honours her first husband's tradition. She opts for someone that he is related to. We don't have to follow her methods but take note of what motivated her, what effect is has on others.

Boaz isn't actually her nearest relative- who would have had first choice to marry Ruth and get her inheritance but that person doesn't want the responsibility. But Boaz steps up. In marrying Ruth, and taking over her property, Ruth and Naomi have a future.

It's a good enough story if it just ended there. But there is a baby, Obed who grows up to be the grandfather of King David- who in turn is one of Joseph's ancestor's- Jesus father!

So these 2 women are central to God's BIG story. Their loss and tragedy gets transformed. Because Ruth is faithful; because Naomi is determined; because they take risks and find a way, Boaz sees and helps them. But God knows and from their bad situation, the best thing comes. God's BIG story continues. King David's ancestor arrives and that gives a link so that Jesus will come.


Whatever we're facing at the moment, God is faithful to us. Just as Ruth and Naomi's problems didn't disappear overnight, ours aren't going to either. But as we care for each other and find a way forward god is at work - and greater things may yet appear because of small acts of kindness and faithfulness.


The person who took on another family member was called the redeemer. We know that Jesus has taken us on- and made us part of his great family.


Song: Rescuer



The Blessing


May the peace of God,

which passes all understanding,

keep our hearts and minds

in the knowledge and love of God

and the blessing of God Almighty,

Father Son and Holy Spirit,

be among us and remain with us always.


Amen.

We would love to see you! For More Questions / Contact us at vicarstcaths@gmail.com 

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