Order, Words, & Voices 10.30.22

10.30.22  (Ruth 1:1-22)

Order

Pre Worship Music

Leave Screen Share On from Opening Songs through Lord’s Prayer

Opening Songs: Christian

To God Be The Glory

Jesus Messiah

Call to Worship and Lord’s Prayer Rick

Reading On Line – Kelly

Song: Christian

Holy, Holy, Holy

Message Ruth 1:1-22 Rick

Song: Christian

Oceans

Closing Peace Rick

Benediction Rick

Post Worship Music

Music

To God Be the Glory

To God be the glory 

Great things He has done

So loved He the world 

That He gave us His Son

Who yielded His life 

An atonement for sin

And opened the life gate 

That all may go in

Praise the Lord  Praise the Lord

Let the earth hear His voice

Praise the Lord  Praise the Lord

Let the people rejoice

O come to the Father 

Through Jesus the Son

And give Him the glory 

Great things He has done

O perfect redemption 

The purchase of blood

To every believer 

The promise of God

The vilest offender 

Who truly believes

That moment from Jesus 

A pardon receives

Praise the Lord praise the Lord

Let the earth hear His voice

Praise the Lord praise the Lord

Let the people rejoice

O come to the Father 

Through Jesus the Son

And give Him the glory 

Great things He has done

Great things He has taught us

Great things He has done

And great our rejoicing 

Through Jesus the Son

But purer and higher 

And greater will be

Our wonder our transport 

When Jesus we see

Praise the Lord praise the Lord

Let the earth hear His voice

Praise the Lord praise the Lord

Let the people rejoice

O come to the Father 

Through Jesus the Son

And give Him the glory 

Great things He has done.

Jesus Messiah

He became sin 

who knew no sin

That we might become 

His righteousness

He humbled Himself 

and carried the cross

Love so amazing 

love so amazing

Jesus Messiah 

Name above all names

Blessed Redeemer Emmanuel

The Rescue for sinners 

The Ransom from heaven

Jesus Messiah Lord of all

His body the bread 

His blood the wine

Broken and poured 

Out all for love

The whole earth trembled 

And the veil was torn

Love so amazing 

Love so amazing

All our hope is in You

All our hope is in You

All the glory to You God

The Light of the world

Call to Worship/Lord’s Prayer (Slides)

Leader: Today, we see the story of two women

Response: Two women who shared nothing 

Leader: Actually, before their stories merged, they shared less than nothing. 

Response: Their Nationality, Faith, and even their God, all conflicted 

Leader: Their peoples were enemies, their peoples despised each other. 

Response: But the God of love brought them together 

Leader: That is what the God of love seeks to do

Leader: And then, they became family. 

Response: In crisis, in grief, and in sacrifice, their souls were connected. 

Leader: They shared those things that were most important in their lives, the things they held most dear. 

Response: They walked with each other bearing the burden of the other. 

Leader: Their lives exhibited the love of God

Response: The motivating force that led them through pain and loss, 

Leader: Through suffering, desperation, and hopelessness 

Leader: Their lives are a witness to us of a life of selflessness

Response: Their sacrifice gives us a picture of Jesus relentless selfless love

Join me in voicing the words of the prayer of Jesus.

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our trespasses, while we forgive those who trespass against us.

And, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Reading (On Line – Kelly – Spotlight – No Slides)

It was after Joshua led the Isrealites into the promised land and before David was named the first King of Israel – it was the time of the Judges. It was the time when there was not yet a king in Israel; and a time when ‘all the people did what was right in their own eyes.’ It was a brutal time made worse by a famine in the land of Israel. 

Because of an ongoing famine, a man from Bethlehem named Elimelech went to live outside of the promised land in the country of Moab with his wife Naomi and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion. They entered the land of Moab and remained there. 

After Elimelech died, the two sons married Moabite women, one was named Orpah and the other was Ruth. Ten years later, the sons, Mahlon and Chilion, also died – Naomi was left without her husband and without her sons while Ruth and Orpah were left without their husbands.

Naomi heard that there was food back home so she departed with her two daughters-in-law to return to her homeland. 

But, after a bit, Naomi said to her daughters-in-law, “Go, return to your mother. May the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me. May the Lord grant you both a place of rest, and a life in the house of your future husbands.” Then she kissed them both, and all three women wept. 

However, they said to her, “No, we are going to go with you to your people.” Naomi replied, “Go back to your parents. What hope will you have if you go with me? It is ridiculous to think that I could have two more sons and that you would wait for them to grow up! No, my dear daughters; life now is much more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has come out against me.”

The three raised their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and returned to her land and her people, but Ruth clung to Naomi.

Naomi said to Ruth, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; go with her.” Ruth said, “Do not plead with me to leave you; for where you go, I will go, and where you sleep, I will sleep. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me, and worse, if anything but death separates me from you.” Naomi quit pressuring Ruth to go home when she saw that Ruth was determined to go with Naomi.

So Naomi and Ruth traveled on to Bethlehem. 

Ruth 1:1-19

Music

Holy Holy Holy

Holy holy holy 

Lord God Almighty

Early in the morning 

Our song shall rise to Thee

Holy holy holy 

Merciful and mighty

God in three persons 

Blessed Trinity

Holy holy holy 

all the saints adore Thee

Casting down their golden crowns 

around the glassy sea

Cherubim and seraphim 

falling down before Thee

Which wert and art 

and evermore shalt be

Holy holy holy 

though the darkness hide Thee

Though the eye of sinful man 

thy glory may not see

Only Thou art holy 

there is none beside Thee

Perfect in power in love and purity

Holy holy holy 

Lord God Almighty

All Thy works shall praise 

Thy name in earth and sky and sea

Holy holy holy 

merciful and mighty

God in three persons 

Blessed Trinity

Message – Relentless Selflessness

Ruth 1:1-22

Screen share left up through slide 11

[Slide 1] ‘Now it came about in the days when the judges governed…’ (Ruth 1:1)

[Slide 2]It is called an opening crawl, the first details of the story that give you the raw details you need to be ready for the action to begin. Probably the most memorable opening crawl was read by audiences on May 25, 1977, which said…

[Slide 3] “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away… It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, ….”

This, minus the John Williams’ soundtrack, works to do the same as this first words of the story of Ruth…

[Slide 4] ‘Now it came about in the days when the judges governed…’ (Ruth 1:1)

You may remember that the time of the Judges was a time summed up in the repeat line ‘everyone did what was right in their own eyes.’

[Slide 5] It is much like the opening crawl of the story of Noah, ‘the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.’ (Genesis 6:5). In Ruth, as in Genesis, our opening description tells us that it was a difficult time to live. Those that governed were largely a selfish and brutal bunch who did evil, and with the exception of Judge Deborah, the judges did not end well. This was also true of the people, they too had become distant from God, seeking to only do what would be best for them – they only did what was right for them without concern for others. 

[Slide 6] It is an odd introduction for a story of two women who were relentlessly selfless in their lives. A story that hinges on two women who probably aren’t meant to be nice to each other let alone sacrifice their lives to lift each other up. It is a story of two individuals who in a time of very not niceless, these two were nice, they were kind, they were good.

[Slide 7] In the television show The Good Place, which takes place in the afterlife, the character Chidi, who was an moral ethics philosophy professor on earth, is once again tasked to train others in ethical living. He is basically given the job of challenging the others in the afterlife to consider the question, “What do we owe to each other?”

[Slide 8] He eventually answers his own question by saying, “So why do it, then, why choose to be good everyday if there is no guaranteed reward we can count on now? I argue that we choose to be good because of our bonds with other people and our innate desire to treat them with dignity. Simply put, we are not in this alone.” (Chidi, The Good Place)

[Slide 9] British economist, Minouche Shafik refers to our answer to this question of  “What do we owe to each other?’ as the social contracts that exist in all societies of the world. 

[Slide 10] “Everyone participates in the social contract every day, and we rarely stop to think about it. Yet social contracts shape every aspect of our lives, including how we raise our children and engage in education, what we expect from our employers, and how we experience sickness and old age. All of these activities require us to cooperate with others for mutual benefit, and the terms of that cooperation define the social contract in our society and the shape of our lives. 

[Slide 11] Laws and norms underpin these daily interactions. In some societies, the social contract relies more on families and communities for mutual support; in others, the market and the state play a greater role. But in all societies, people are expected to contribute to the common good when they are adults in exchange for being looked after when they are young, old, or unable to care for themselves.” (Minouche Shafik, 2021)

We often look at the story of Ruth as being a simple story of love, first between a woman and her daughter-in-law, then between the daughter-in-law and the man who rescues her. But this interpretation fails to see the many nuanced layers in this very heavy story. It is not a safe story, it is a story of a violent time and two women who have not only suffered great loss but choose to risk losing what little they have left. It is not really a love story as much as it is a story of risks, survival, and ultimately survival. 

To understand this story we must also understand the story of the story, we must understand the writing story of the story. While the story of Ruth took place during the time of the Judges, it was probably not written during the time of the Judges. It was also probably not written during the time of the Kings, rather, it was probably written after the exile, after the Persians conquered the Babylonians and where therefore the oppressors of the Israelites as they returned to Jerusalem and the promised land. 

A time when the Isrealites were concerned about how much control they would have over their own lives and how much of their own boundaries would be respected. Most notably though, was a concern about if they would still be a people. This concern of many Israelites was leading to a nationalism which sought to exclude those that were not ‘true Jews’, that were not of Jewish blood. It was a time when old romanticized tradition was coming into conflict with all the advances in their relationship with God during their time in exile, divisions were rising up. In this time enters the story of a women who passed many years before, a woman who was not only not a Jew but is a Moabite, an enemy of the Isrealites. A women would be one of only five women listed in the lineage of Jesus. A woman who reminded them of their call to a relentless selflessness.

So, during this time in history, four centuries before the birth of Jesus, as the Isrealites were turning inward, this story is written, a story that needed at this time to be written and heard. A story is told of another time when everyone was living selfishly, nevertheless, a time when two women chose another path. A time not unlike our own time.

“Ruth explores questions of life and faith highlighting themes- the untimely

death of people we love, food shortages, financial & political instability,

unemployment, community responses to those in need, as well as

immigration and racial differences. There are other layers of themes

such as empty and full; finding home and hope; of bread and belonging;

as well as repair, resilience, resistance and redemption!” 

(Mark Greene from the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity)

Geographically, Ruth’s homeland was right next to the homeland of Naomi. Israel and Moab shared a border. Both nations may have seen similar in many ways including culture and language but otherwise they were a world apart. The two nations and their citizens were in frequent conflict that went back before the Isrealites had fully occupied, or even arrived at, the promised land. The story of Ruth, in many ways, is an Old Testament version of Jesus’ story of the good Samaritan – a story that is told to define who is our neighbor we are called to love.

The story of Ruth, however, is not just a story of Ruth. It is also a story of Ruth’s mother-in-law was an Isrealite, an Isrealite who was a foreigner in a foreign land.  A family of foreigners who had lived out the call to love the foreigner. Although they themselves were foreigners in Ruth’s homeland, Naomi’s family had fully and unconditionally embraced Ruth and Orpha, giving both women an up close view of what it meant to follow the God of the Isrealites and the call of love lived out for them to see. They taught Naomi about God not through their voiced words but through the message of their lives. Their message was concrete, it was living proof.

Ruth is a message of evangelism, but an evangelism that is totally foreign to our own thoughts of sharing our faith. Our mode of evangelism uses the tools of judgment and condemnation, we focus on sin and hell – Ruth and Orpha had heard the message of God through the love, acceptance, and embrace of this Naomi and her family. 

Ruth selflessly gives up living with her own people, having a husband to

provide for her, and a family of her own, in order to provide for Naomi’s needs to of companionship and care. On Naomi’s part, we also see a reflection of her own selflessness as she relentlessly attempts to persuade Ruth to return to her home. Naomi tried to reinforce the futility of staying expressing the fact that she could in no way meet the needs of Ruth. Both women show us how to love the one who had been a stranger.

Ruth stops the loving argument with the words, “Do not plead with me to leave you; for where you go, I will go, and where you sleep, I will sleep. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me, and worse, if anything but death separates me from you.” In the original text these words were not said with the future tense of the word ‘will’ but instead they were words of present tense. ‘Your people are my people, your God is my God.’

We usually look at the story of Ruth and Naomi and focus on the Kinsman Redeemer, Boaz. The one that rescues these two women, who brings them hope, who gives them back a future. We usually come away from this story focusing on our redeemer – Jesus Christ. However, there is another equally powerful and relevant story. A story that we would get even if we only had chapter one of the book of Ruth. A story that would start with hopeless and, in an earthly say, end with hopelessness. A story that would present us the harsh reality of being human and leave us there. However, limited with just this one chapter we are given a story of the hope that is present even when we see no hope. The story, even when we just have chapter one, shows us that there is still love in the worst of life.  

Chapter one alone teaches us God’s desire for us as humans, struggling to live in the realities of our human existence. A reality that is often hard and painful, a reality where there is not always enough and the struggles are often endless, a reality that brings pain, misery, and confusion. It is in this reality, and in the reality of Naomi and Ruth, that we see God’s desire for us to be his hands in the midst of this mess we call our reality. To be and do good, to let our lives be a conduit of God’s love, to be the essence of hope when our reality has no hope to share. 

This is why Jesus prayed, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ Not a prayer about dominion or victory but a prayer of being and doing – being the reflection of God and doing the work of God. Ruth and Naomi, in this one chapter, which does not give us a happy earthly ending, in this chapter we see the how of being the good on this earth that God created for good.

Music 

Oceans

You call me out upon the waters

The great unknown 

Where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery

In oceans deep my faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name

And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in Your embrace

For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in 

deepest waters

Your sovereign hand  

will be my guide

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me

You’ve never failed and 

You won’t start now

Spirit lead me where 

my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper 

than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Saviour

I will call upon Your name

Keep my eyes above the waves

My soul will rest in Your embrace

I am Yours and You are mine

Community

  • [Slide] Next Sunday, Immersive Thanks, I Samuel 2:1-10
  • [Slide]  Fall Bible Study – Concludes this Wed, November 2 (I Peter 5)
  • [Slide] Norman Cultural Connection invites you to an event today. COMING HOME: Re-membering, Reconnecting, Repatriate, Sunday, October 30, 2022 at 3:00 PM  1950 Beaumont Drive

Closing Peace

May the Peace of the Lord go with you. And also with you.

Benediction

“May God give you the grace not to sell yourself short, grace to risk something big for something good, grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous for anything but truth, and too small for anything but Love.”  

(William Sloane Coffin)

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: