Seeds Narrative Lectionary Ruth 1:1-17

More Narrative Lectionary Seeds Resources can be found here.
Ruth: God of the Moabs/Found Family/Outsider Ruth 1:1-17, Mark 3:33-35,Psalm 126

Ruth was present with Naomi; see Pooh parable below about presence. Here’s a blow-up from part of picture at https://weheartit.com/entry/331438744 as an illustration to go with the presence of Pooh with Eeyore. Need to change “Piglet” in the story to “Tigger” if using the picture. (Couldn’t find one of Pooh, Piglet & Eeyore, which actually illustrates how this is a Pooh parable rather than originally being from the AA Milne Pooh stories.)

It occurred to Pooh and Piglet that they hadn’t heard from Eeyore for several days, so they put on their hats and coats and trotted across the Hundred Acre Wood to Eeyore’s stick house. Inside the house was Eeyore.

“Hello Eeyore,” said Pooh.

“Hello Pooh. Hello Piglet,” said Eeyore, in a Glum Sounding Voice.

“We just thought we’d check in on you,” said Piglet, “because we hadn’t heard from you, and so we wanted to know if you were okay.”

Eeyore was silent for a moment. “Am I okay?” he asked, eventually. “Well, I don’t know, to be honest. Are any of us really okay? That’s what I ask myself. All I can tell you, Pooh and Piglet, is that right now I feel really rather Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All. Which is why I haven’t bothered you. Because you wouldn’t want to waste your time hanging out with someone who is Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All, would you now.”

Pooh looked and Piglet, and Piglet looked at Pooh, and they both sat down, one on either side of Eeyore in his stick house.

Eeyore looked at them in surprise. “What are you doing?”

“We’re sitting here with you,” said Pooh, “because we are your friends. And true friends don’t care if someone is feeling Sad, or Alone, or Not Much Fun To Be Around At All. True friends are there for you anyway. And so here we are.”

“Oh,” said Eeyore. “Oh.” And the three of them sat there in silence, and while Pooh and Piglet said nothing at all; somehow, almost imperceptibly, Eeyore started to feel a very tiny little bit better.

Because Pooh and Piglet were There. No more; no less. https://www.facebook.com/themaddieproject/photos/a.698470016946959/1794783897315560/?type=3&theater

ART/IMAGES

Ruth: http://www.textweek.com/art/ruth.htm

World Communion Sundayhttps://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ACYBGNTPFo4ZKfSRGq0EijuChdMiVfKPJA:1569283351663&q=images+world+communion+sunday&tbm=isch&source=univ&sxsrf=ACYBGNTPFo4ZKfSRGq0EijuChdMiVfKPJA:1569283351663&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiN4uiFlOjkAhVlneAKHcMFDj0QsAR6BAgHEAE&biw=1821&bih=876#imgrc=ZZw9lbZojHRjFM:

RETELLING

Storyteller gives the whole story of Ruth. Recommends CEV. http://www.storydivine.com/?p=343\

EXEGESIS/THEMES

Podcast: Ruth is from Moab but Boaz is from Bethlehem—is Ruth a humble servant approaching Boaz? Or a feisty woman taking action? https://5minutebible.com/ruth-is-from-moab-but-boaz-is-from-bethlehem-2/

Ruth and Star Wars—is Naomi deserted by God? Or is Ruth evidence otherwise? Naomi’s complaints are not rhetorical flourish. They are the author’s explicit means of establishing the book’s central crisis: Is Naomi right? Has Yahweh forsaken her and shamed her household? If Naomi’s plight were indeed the thrust of the story, then one would expect the rest of the book to resolve this crisis, particularly at the end. This is precisely what happens.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/walkandword/2019/09/ruth-star-wars/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Living+the+Christian+Life&utm_content=870

Who is the main character in Ruth (follow-on to Star Wars article above) https://www.patheos.com/blogs/walkandword/2019/09/interpreting-ruth-part-1/

More academic take on hesed in Ruth (follow on to main character question) https://www.cbeinternational.org/resources/article/priscilla-papers/book-ruth-exemplar-faith-communities

Working Preacher commentaries on Ruth 1:1-17

http://www.workingpreacher.org/search/Default.aspx?cx=001947499050786061073:fplx-aun2rq&q=Ruth%201&cof=FORID:10&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&search_domain=WWW

Ruth refuses to be left out/leave the focus on Naomi. Ruth emerges as an acting agent in verse 14: she clings to Naomi, a term used in contexts of profound love, inalienable possession, unshakable commitment (see, e.g., Genesis 2:24; Numbers 36:7, 9; Deuteronomy 4:4; 10:20; 11:22). As Naomi remains convinced that her bitterness is solitary, she makes another appeal, urging Ruth to follow Orpah.

(Word study on “cling” https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/rth/1/1/t_conc_233014)

At that moment, Ruth adds speech to her action. Indeed, she utters what might be a speech-act, in which she actually does something in and by saying something (cf. “I do” in weddings or “I believe” in the Creed). What she says-does is powerful and it is poetic, lining out in nicely parallel lines like the best of Hebrew poetry. https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=413

Four-part sermon series on Ruth https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2123

The book of Judges, which comes right before Ruth, ends with inter-tribal conflict and these ominous words: “In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25)…In this context, we get the book of Ruth, which is a tale about belonging, about blessing, about faithful love (in Hebrew, hesed), God’s faithfulness, incarnated in human beings.

Ruth, a woman, and a foreigner at that, chooses to join her story to the story we’ve been hearing the last several weeks; she chooses to enter into Israel’s covenant with God. She chooses thereby the life of being a stranger in a foreign land. She chooses to leave all that she has known and to go to a place she’s never been, with no assurance of security. A childless widow in ancient Israel had to rely on the kindness of those around her. In this story, Naomi relies on Ruth, and Ruth herself has to rely on the kindness of strangers.

One of the beautiful themes in the book is that hesed meets hesed; that is, faithfulness engenders faithfulness, kindness meets kindness. Ruth goes above and beyond the minimum requirements of the Law out of love for Naomi. And when Boaz learns of Ruth’s loyalty to her mother-in-law, he blesses her:

https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1108

Whatever Ruth’s circumstances may be, her clinging to her mother-in-law is a gift of grace that Naomi cannot at first see.  Naomi says God has turned against her (verse 13), and later she tells the women of Bethlehem, “The Almighty has dealt bitterly with me … brought me back empty … dealt harshly with me, and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me” (verses 20-21).  This is Naomi’s theology, and at first it is all she can see.

But the narrator sees things differently, attributing none of Naomi’s tragedies to God, not even the famine.  Rather it is God who has given the people food (verse 6).  This point is underscored at the end of the chapter: “They came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest” (verse 22).  Near the end of the book, the Bethlehemite women will articulate to Naomi what has been evident all along, that Ruth’s love is worth more than seven sons.  Grace is walking right beside Naomi, unseen, yet refusing to leave her.

Ruth holds a thoroughly action-oriented, thoroughly pragmatic theology.  She does not argue with Naomi’s perception of events, nor does she assert her own.  She simply communicates presence.  She refuses to leave.  It’s not about God’s actions or intents, but her own.  Ruth will worship the God that Naomi believes abandoned her.  And she swears to do what four other people — Elimelech, Mahlon, Chilion, and Orpah — couldn’t do: to stay.  Not even death, the chief resident of their household, will get in her way.

https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1335

Ruth and immigration from Bruce Epperly https://www.patheos.com/blogs/livingaholyadventure/2018/10/the-adventurous-lectionary-twenty-fourth-sunday-after-pentecost-november-4-2018/

Ruth.  She comes closer to God and God’s ways through her deep love for her mother-in-law.  She leaves behind her own family and her own religion and traditions not for complex theological reasons, but out of the affection for someone who loved her first. http://www.sacraconversazione.org/?p=294

PRAYERS and other bulletin pieces

Prelude: Faithful Friend                                                                                Twila Paris

Call to Worship

Original resource by Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting;                     (slightly adapted from prayer for Genesis 2 on companionship)

One: O God, we come one by one.

Many: O God, we come with each other.

We come because it is not good to be alone.

We come because we want to be companions on the journey.

We seek communion with you.

We seek communion with one another.

Make us companions to one another,

that we may walk faithfully and joyfully in your way.

ALL: IN JESUS’ NAME, AMEN.

Rite of Confession

Original resource by Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting;

*Call to Confession  (from Colossians 3:12-14, The Messsage)

Chosen by God for the new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God has picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, and quick to forgive. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

*Prayer of Confession (unison)

O God, at times we fail to act in love. Wrapped in our own concerns, we may not hear the cries of others. We can be slow to listen, but quick to give advice. Promising prayer, we may not add the power of being present with others. Uncomfortable with the pain and needs of others, we may want them to just get over it. Empower us with your love, that we may meet and hear others where they are.

*Assurance of Pardon (from Colossians 3:15-17 The Message)                                                 The peace of Christ keeps us in tune with each other. The power of the Spirit keeps us in step with one another. The grace of the Father grants forgiveness, making us grateful. Thanks be to God for the Good News: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

* Prayer of Dedication (unison)

Original resource by Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting;   Maker of all things, you bless us with many gifts: our lives, our possessions, and our time and our talents. Use this food and money—and our very lives—to show the world your presence and your love. Amen.

Eucharist Prayer/Prayer of Great Thanksgiving

One: The Lord be with you.

Many: And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

O God, you create the vast universe and call it good. You make us in your image

and call us very good. Declaring that it is not good for us to be alone,

you make us companions on our journey.

And so we thank you, O God.

Throughout human history, you declare your presence with your people.

You speak to us through the law and the prophets, demonstrating your love and care.

You speak to us through your Son, Christ Jesus.

You speak to us through the Holy Spirit.

And so we thank you, O God.

Your Son proclaimed your reign and presence:                                                                           preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives,
teaching by word and deed, blessing the children,
healing the sick, binding up the brokenhearted,
eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners,

and demonstrating and proclaiming your love for all people.
And so we thank you, O God.
When your Son was crucified, giving his life for the sins of the world.
you raised him from the dead, breaking the power of sin and evil,

demonstrating your triumph and presence.

And so we thank you, O God.

Today we gather in your presence.

You are here in the support and love we offer each other.

You are here in our praying and singing, in our words and our silences.

You are here in your Supper.

And so we thank you, O God.

HYMNS I used

Not so much out there on human companioning. I used

Prelude: Faithful Friend                                                                                Twila Paris

*Opening Hymn I Come with Joy                               Presbyterian  Blue Hymnal,507

Offering Hymn  God is Here!  Blue Hymnal,461

Prayer for Illumination (sung )                                                   Blue Hymnal, #430 verse 3

This day God’s people meeting, The Holy Scripture hear                                                          Christ’s living presence greeting, Through bread and wine made near.                                    We journey on, believing, Renewed with heav’nly might,                                                             From grace more grace receiving, On this blest day of light.

Closing Hymn  Called as Partners                                                  Blue Hymnal, 343

Postlude He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother                                                The Hollies

Prayer for Illumination (sung )                                                   Blue Hymnal, #430 verse 3

This day God’s people meeting, The Holy Scripture hear

Christ’s living presence greeting, Through bread and wine made near.

We journey on, believing, Renewed with heav’nly might,

From grace more grace receiving, On this blest day of light.

 

Hebrew Scripture Reading: Ruth 1:1-17                                                                                           Reader

Message The Present of Presence                                                                Pastor Barb

 

*Confession of Faith: The Nicene Creed (Ecumenical version)      Blue Hymnal, p. 15

Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper (see insert)

 

*Closing Hymn  Called as Partners                                                  Blue Hymnal, 343

*Charge and Benediction                                                             Pastors Barb and Len  Postlude He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother                                                      The Hollies

 

More Narrative Lectionary Seeds Resources can be found here.

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