• Rossendale Circuit

Sunday Service - 19th of July - Our Redeemer

Video Service


Please scroll down to view a written service, and click here if you'd like to view directly in youtube.



Part 1



Hymns:


MP 201 'Guide me O thou great redeemer.'


At the Royal Albert Hall

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofp6rdAgRrY enjoy the big finish!


Bombay Christian fellowship

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qX_n5IK3sU



Part 2



Hymns:


MP 712 'O soul, are you weary and troubled' (Turn your eyes upon Jesus) – sung by Jackie Shove


MP 372 'Jesus, lover of my soul'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsXcCdWjsmg Fernando Ortega


Part 3



Hymn:


MP 673 There is a Redeemer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDgZ1v3l9go


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_YM_hYzcPo – sung by Keith Green


Part 4



Hymns:


MP 532 O! O! O! How good is the Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReIUpx2SanQ


MP 896 My lips shall praise you

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=my+lips+shall+praise+you+with+lyrics

By Noel and Tricia Richards



Written Service


Call to worship: Psalm 103:1-5


Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits— who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


Amen


Hymns:


MP 201 'Guide me O thou great redeemer.'


At the Royal Albert Hall

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofp6rdAgRrY enjoy the big finish!


Bombay Christian fellowship

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qX_n5IK3sU


Opening Prayers:


Heavenly Father we praise you. You are the source of life, light, grace and truth. Your mercy and loving kindness know no end. When we turned away from you, you sent your Son to show us how to live and through his death and resurrection you redeemed creation.


Throughout the ages people have cried out to you in sadness, grief and despair. We come to you now to do the same.

Eternal God, thank you that you meet us where we are – wherever we find ourselves. Forgive us our sin and fill us with your love that stretches beyond borders and boundaries, giving hope even in the darkest of times. By the power of your Holy Spirit living within us, unite us and remind us again of your constant presence, so that we may live this day and the coming days full of hope, compassion and loving kindness. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen


The Lord’s Prayer


Reading: Ruth chapter 3


Hymns:


MP 712 'O soul, are you weary and troubled' (Turn your eyes upon Jesus) – sung by Jackie Shove


MP 372 'Jesus, lover of my soul'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsXcCdWjsmg Fernando Ortega


Photo by Matteo Vistocco via Unsplash


Last week we left Naomi and Ruth at the end of the barley and wheat harvests which could have marked a downturn in their fortunes. No more gleaning meant no more grain to be made into bread. What would happen to them now in a society that was, from reading the Old Testament, dominated by men? Things, however, are not always as they appear at first sight. Men and women played different roles in in ancient Israel. The structures of authority were male dominated but women exercised considerable power within the sphere of the household which was the main social and economic unit of society. In the story of Naomi and Ruth we recognise the truth of this as Naomi saw the bigger picture and hatched her plan.


Boaz would be hard at work winnowing the grain at the threshing floor outside Bethlehem. The threshing floor was on a hill side because from late afternoon until sunset a wind blew up and no one wanted the chaff to blow into their homes. Here was an opportunity to provide security for Ruth and for herself; it was time for action.

Before we get further into the story, we need to understand why it is important that Boaz is a relative of Naomi’s. (3:13)


The reasons are found in various Old Testament laws. The first relates to levirate marriage. If, after I was married, I had died without producing a son then it would have been my brother’s, or nearest male relative’s duty to marry my widow and have a son to carry on my name. The idea was that no man’s name should disappear from Israel (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). My brother would be my levir.


Naomi alluded to this tradition in her speech to her daughters-in-law in 1:11-13. At that time Naomi couldn’t see any chance of someone fulfilling this role for her daughters-in-law. But with Boaz’s arrival on the scene things changed.

However, there was a problem which Naomi didn’t appear to know about. Boaz was not her nearest relative. Boaz knew this and set off to address it, but how he did it is for next week.


The second reason that it’s important for Boaz to be a relative is found in the laws relating to being a kinsman-redeemer (2:20 and 3:13). Boaz actually did more than was expected of him as it wasn’t necessary for the redeemer to marry the widow, but again, more of that next week.


So, what is a kinsman- redeemer? It is the one with the right to redeem.

God is Israel’s redeemer in the Old Testament. God is both Father and Deliverer (Exodus 20:2) as well as the rescuer of the weak and needy (Psalm 82:4Daniel 6:27Jeremiah 20:13). There are lots of references too in Isaiah (check out chapters 41-50). God called a people to be his own covenant family by redeeming them from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 6:6-8). God set the people free and offered them a new freedom and a new hope in a new land - the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey. The Lord was Israel’s Kinsman-Redeemer! This relationship shows God’s love and mercy; his deep concern for the physical, emotional, and spiritual welfare of his people. And God expected the same kind of behaviour of the kinsman-redeemer in family relationships. If I was a kinsman-redeemer, I was expected to show this aspect of God’s character in my relationships!


In worldly terms the kinsman-redeemer was a male relative who, according to various laws of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, had the privilege or responsibility to act on behalf of a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need. The Hebrew term (go el) for kinsman-redeemer is one who delivers or rescues (Genesis 48:16Exodus 6:6) or redeems property or people (Leviticus 27:9–2525:47–55). 


When you or I need some food we head off to the shops but if you are dependent on growing your own food and the rains don’t arrive and the crops fail what do you do? The choices in Israel were stark: you could starve or you could sell your land and hopefully one day redeem it, as in, buy it back. Or you could sell your land and then ask your nearest relative (your kinsman-redeemer) to buy it back, to redeem it, for you. Alternatively, you could wait until the Year of Jubilee which came round every 50 years when you, or your descendants, were allowed to return to your land. (Leviticus 25:25-28).


But the law regarding kinsman redeemers wasn’t just about land. This law applied to people too (Leviticus 25:47-49). If I was so broke that I had to sell myself into slavery I could, under God’s law, expect my nearest relative to buy (redeem) my freedom.

To be a responsible kinsman-redeemer was costly in time, effort, and money. It was an act of self-sacrifice for the good of your kin; it was an act of loving kindness (hesed).


It cost God too.


In the New Testament, Jesus is often regarded as an example of a kinsman-redeemer because, as our brother (Hebrews 2:11), He redeems us because of our great need, one that only He can satisfy. In Ruth 3:9, we see a beautiful and poignant picture of Ruth, unable to rescue herself, requesting Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer that he cover her with his protection, redeem her, and make her his wife.


In the same way, the Lord Jesus Christ, through his death on the cross and his resurrection, redeemed us for Himself, out of slavery to the powers of sin and death, out of our poverty and made us, the Church, His own beloved bride; and blessed us for all generations. He is the true kinsman-redeemer of all who call on Him in faith.


Paul picks up the theme of Jesus as our kinsman-redeemer in his letter to the Romans in chapters 5-8. Jesus our brother willingly sacrificed himself to redeem us and open the way into the promised land of eternity in God’s presence. Thankfully such a Kinsman-Redeemer could not be held by death. He rose again and as we were baptised into his death, we were buried with him, united with him and crucified with him and so we will also ‘live with him’ (Romans 6:4-8). Jesus, our Kinsman-Redeemer, through his crucifixion and resurrection, created a new family, God’s family, into which we are adopted (Romans 8:15). We are children of God and co-heirs with Christ (8:16-17).

And just as the law for the kinsman-redeemer was not just about people but also land, so Jesus’ death and resurrection means that the whole of creation will be set free from ‘its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God’ (Romans 8:21)!

Rejoice! God’s loving kindness (hesed) means we have been redeemed into a new family within a new creation. We belong, as Ruth eventually would. We have been welcomed home. We have been given a future and a hope!


Back to the story.


Naomi recognised that anything Boaz did would rest on his willingness and his generosity.

Her plan seems to have been for Ruth to ask Boaz to act for her as her levir and marry her and so provide a son to carry on the family name.

Naomi, as Ruth’s mother-in-law took on the responsibility of arranging the marriage she hoped would take place and so Ruth obeyed Naomi by washing and anointing herself and then putting on her best clothes.

Ruth’s preparations for her night time visit to the threshing floor made it clear that she was asking Boaz for marriage.

She lay at Boaz’s feet, a place of humility and vulnerability.


Suddenly, at midnight, Boaz awoke and unsurprisingly was startled to find an unknown woman lying at his feet.

‘Who are you?’ he asked, probably in a tense whisper!

Ruth humbly told him and asked him to spread his cloak over her because he was her next of kin with the right to redeem.

And once again, as in the harvest field, Boaz asked God’s blessing on her for her loyalty (hesed).


He promised to act as her next of kin if the other relative would not and then he generously provided for Ruth and Naomi with a cloak full of grain.

Naomi and Ruth knew they couldn’t expect anything from Boaz by right, but they trusted him to fulfil not just the letter of the law but the spirit of the law by showing mercy and compassionate generosity. And they were rewarded. Naomi’s empty days (1:21) were over.


The law tells us to love our neighbour, but how far are we prepared to go in this? Just enough to show we care, or as far as laying down our lives as Jesus, our redeemer, did for us? This is loving obedience.


‘For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich’ (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Jesus Christ, our Kinsman-Redeemer offers to us far more than a cloak of grain and the promise of possible security.


He fills our lives with his loving kindness (hesed), which includes

the forgiveness of our sin, membership of his family, the promise of his presence with us through good and bad times and ultimately (Revelation 19:6) a place at the wedding banquet of the Lamb where, with a great multitude, we will join in the song of ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord Almighty reigns’.


Such is God’s redeeming love.


Photo by Natalie Grainger via Unsplash


Hymn:


MP 673 There is a Redeemer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDgZ1v3l9go


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_YM_hYzcPo – sung by Keith Green


Prayers of Intercession:


Our prayers today are based on some from the Iona Community in the book, ‘Present on Earth’. In the prayers there is a response:


To the words Through our lives and by our prayers, the response is ‘Your Kingdom come’.


Let us pray:


Lord God, in Jesus, you came in the body: flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone,

one with us in searing pain and delirious laughter.


We thank you that you did not remain an idea, even a religious idea, but walked, wept and washed feet among us.

By your love change our ideas, especially our religious ideas, into living signs of your will.


Through our lives and by our prayers,

Your Kingdom come.


Lord God, in Jesus, you touched the suffering, listened to the ignored, gave the depressed something to hope for. You bandaged the broken with love and healed them.


We believe that your power to heal is still present, so we call on your help for all who grieve. Fill their lives, we pray, with your Holy Spirit, the Comforter. May they know your peace.


We pray for those who continue to struggle through the lockdown. For those whose minds are filled with worry and uncertainty through sickness, loss of employment, difficult relationships, fear of the unknown, or like Ruth a stranger in a foreign land. Lord Jesus, put your hands where our prayers beckon.


Through our lives and by our prayers

Your Kingdom come.


Lord God, in Jesus, your body was broken by the cowardly and powerful. The judgement hall of Pilate knew your silence as surely as your critics knew your voice.

In word and silence take on the powerful of the world today:

those whose word condemns some to unjust imprisonment and even death,

those whose word transfers wealth or weapons for the sake of profit or prejudice and we pray especially for the people of Yemen and the end of British weapons sales to Saudi Arabia,

take on those whose silence condones the injustice they have the power to change.

Saviour of the poor, redeem your people and set them free.


Through our lives and by our prayers

Your Kingdom come.


Lord God, through the authority of Scripture you teach us that we are the body of Christ.

Lord, make us more like you each day that your light might shine through us as we pray

for members of our families and our friend, who don’t yet know God’s redeeming love in their lives. We pray for opportunities to show them and tell them of your loving kindness (hesed), your redeeming love through our words and actions.


Through our lives and by our prayers

Your Kingdom come.


Your kingdom come, in joy and generosity, in the small and in the large, the ordinary and the special, and to you be the glory now and always.

Amen


Blessing: May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and always. Amen


Hymns:


MP 532 O! O! O! How good is the Lord

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReIUpx2SanQ


MP 896 My lips shall praise you

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=my+lips+shall+praise+you+with+lyrics

By Noel and Tricia Richards


© 2020 Rossendale Methodist Circuit

Email us: rossendalemethodistcircuit@gmail.com