• Rossendale Circuit

Sunday Service - 26th of July - The Redemption and The Joy

Video Service


Scroll down to view the written transcript (not exact to the videos) and click here to view directly in youtube.


Part 1


Hymns:


MP 575 Rejoice the Lord is King!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N0iVysrykU

An acoustic version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh0BYrdd-8o


MP 1040 Come, now is the time to worship

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


Part 2


Hymn:


MP 102 Come, Thou long expected Jesus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GspGM7Pfizo


Part 3


Hymns:


MP 189 God is working his purpose out (verse 3 missing) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iiuxet4pJ-c


Song: Goodness of God sung by Jenn Johnson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvSuGyJQ6oM


Part 4


Hymns:


MP 496 O for a thousand tongues to sing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O9kw3cILpg


MP 1072 In Christ alone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kvFtXphmMU

A gentle Celtic version



Written Service


Ruth chapter 4 - The Redemption and the Joy


Call to worship: Psalm 113:1-4


Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord; praise the name of the Lord.

Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time on and for evermore. From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised. The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.


Hymns:


MP 575 Rejoice the Lord is King!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N0iVysrykU

An acoustic version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh0BYrdd-8o


MP 1040 Come, now is the time to worship

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


Opening Prayers:


Our Father in heaven, Creator and Sustainer of your world, you hold everything you have made in your gracious providence.

Help us to see your hand at work, and to live as people whose lives are entrusted to your care. As Ruth from Moab became one of your people, so you call us by name and invite us home. We thank you that we find shelter under the refuge of your wings.


In Jesus Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer, you meet us in our ordinariness and make our human life your own.

We thank you for your costly self-giving in redeeming love, setting us free to share the life of your family.

You have taken upon yourself our pains, our sin, our bitterness, our fear.

Forgive us our sin and teach us how to forgive.

We pray that when, like Naomi, we walk the valley of tears in the evening, we won’t lose sight of the resurrection dawn of hope and joy.


Fill us, we pray, with your life-giving Holy Spirit, and lead us into your truth.

As Boaz went beyond the letter of the law to graciously provide for others in their need, so you go beyond all we can imagine to abundantly provide us with your gift of grace!

May we be always ready to meet the needs of others and to work for justice in the distribution of the rich bounty of your world.


God the Holy Trinity, you are the God of history whose purposes span the centuries. Through your family the church you make known your plan to unite all things in heaven and on earth in Jesus Christ our Lord. Before him, one day every knee will bow.

We give you our praise, as we seek to place every part of our lives under the rule of Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray,


Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer

Photo by Aaron Burden via Unsplash


Reading: Ruth chapter 4


Hymn:


MP 102 Come, Thou long expected Jesus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GspGM7Pfizo


Last week at the end of chapter 3 we left Naomi and Ruth putting their future security in Boaz’s hands. Would it be possible for him to do what he’d promised?

Would Naomi’s plan fail or succeed?

As Naomi and Ruth waited at home you could probably have cut the tension with a knife.

Boaz wasted no time in heading from the threshing floor to the city gate which was where leading men of the city met; for conversation, to do business and administer justice.

Boaz, who had obviously hatched a plan, was on the lookout for the next-of-kin, who interestingly, isn’t even given a name.

When the man arrived, Boaz offered him a friendly invitation, which was accepted, to sit down with him.


Then Boaz called 10 elders to join them and act as witnesses to the transaction he was about to propose. Deuteronomy 25:7-9 reminds us that in matters of family rights, such as the one Boaz brought to them, the elders of the city were charged with jurisdiction.

Reading Ruth for the first time you might expect Boaz to begin by speaking about marrying Ruth . . . . but no . . . .

Surprise, surprise! Boaz, rather intriguingly introduced a completely new factor into the story: a parcel of land, which apparently was owned by Elimelech and which Naomi wanted to sell.


This is the first time any land has been mentioned which leads to all kinds of questions: As it was Naomi’s land, why was it not mentioned before and why did Ruth have to go out to glean?


Different writers have suggested many different answers to these questions, but what is clear is that Naomi had the right to sell the land, and the person who had first refusal of the opportunity to redeem the land was the unnamed next-of-kin.

He was keen to do so, until Boaz played his master stroke. The man would also have to marry Ruth:


“The day you acquire the field from the hand of Naomi, you are also acquiring Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead man, to maintain the dead man’s name on his inheritance.” 4:5

Boaz was actually wrong about this but perhaps he introduced the idea to make sure the man was put off the purchase. How?


The elders obviously accepted that Ruth would replace Naomi in the levirate responsibility of raising a child to Elimelech. If the next-of-kin bought the land and married Ruth, as expected, and then she had a son, the land would revert to Elimelech’s family and the next-of-kin would have spent his money on land that was no longer his and he would still have to care for Ruth.

He was under no obligation to do all this and the financial hit was not one he was willing to take – the deal was off. And he handed over his rights to the land by enacting the rite of the sandal - the next of kin handed the right of redemption over to Boaz.


Importantly Boaz took the law in Deuteronomy further than in other situations where we read of it (e.g. Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38).

Boaz was not interested in a legalistic understanding of the law. Rather, he regarded the law as a pointer showing how loving kindness, hesed, should work within the family.


Boaz’s voluntary action called for the highest degree of commitment, love and personal sacrifice. If you remember, in 2:1 we read about Boaz’s wealth, and now we know why it was important that he was not just Naomi’s kinsman but that he was wealthy too.

So, Boaz married Ruth.


We could talk a lot about marriage here, but it is enough to quote Bonhoeffer who wrote, ‘marriage is more than your love for each another. Marriage was, and is, God’s holy law. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than personal, it is a status, an office, that joins you together in the sight of God and humanity’. Quoted in L. Smedes, Sex in the real world (Lion, 1976), p.176.


The celebrations began, without Ruth, but with all the people who were at the gate. The people were witnesses to all that happened, and they offered their prayers.

Have you noticed the number of prayers in the book of Ruth? Naomi wanted to send her daughters-in-law back to their homes with a prayer (1:8). Boaz greeted his workers and they responded with a prayer (2:4). Boaz’s welcome to Ruth was in the form of a prayer (2:12) and Naomi prayed in thanksgiving when Ruth returned home with her news about Boaz (2:20). Boaz blessed Ruth when he found her at his feet (3:10). So it’s not surprising that the people at the city gate offered a prayer for God’s blessing on Ruth and then Boaz (4:11).


Every area of life, from misery to joy, from the routine to the extraordinary, daily work, social times and private moments are lived in the faith that God is present, and that God is a God of loving kindness.


If Boaz, living in a time of evil when ‘everyone did what was right in their own eyes’ (Judges 21:25), was willing to redeem Naomi’s land and offer Elimelech’s family a future through his commitment in marriage to Ruth, how much more is God willing and able to show compassion to all the Ruth’s of Moab, of Babylon, of Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan . . . . and every other land?


God is a God of redemption who wants and has the power to redeem all outcasts into a relationship with himself.


God is the source of life. Life, and its blessings are a gift from God. And not long after their marriage Boaz and Ruth were blessed with the gift of a son whom they called Obed, which means ‘Servant’ – the servant of the Lord.


Obed would be the grandfather of King David. How shocking to find that the great King David was the descendant of a Moabite. The Moabites were Israel’s enemy and yet Ruth is celebrated as being worthy of being David’s great grandma. Why? Because she had been true to her word to Naomi when she said: ‘your people will be my people, and your God my God.’


As we read the genealogy at the end of chapter 4, we must surely recognise that this is not the end of the story, but a new beginning. God had been working his purpose out in the ordinariness of everyday lives.


King David would come from Bethlehem and so, therefore, would Jesus, even if it meant God had to get a Roman Emperor to hold a census – but that’s a story for another day!


The God who called Ruth is the same God of loving kindness (hesed) who calls you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Kinsman Redeemer.


And he invites you to take your place under the refuge of his wings.


Photo by Nagy Arnold via Unsplash


Hymns:


MP 189 God is working his purpose out (verse 3 missing) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iiuxet4pJ-c


Song: Goodness of God sung by Jenn Johnson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvSuGyJQ6oM


Prayers of Intercession:


As more and more refugees flee from war, famine and disease, and every day we see hundreds risk the dangers of the English channel, I am reminded of the powerful words of Somali-British poet Warsan Shire who said, ‘you have to understand, that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.’


What is on your heart Lord? Show us what to do.

Let us know your will so we can follow you.


Lord we pray for our world broken by war and conflict.

Thanks to agencies like Tear Fund we are conscious of countless refugees living without homes, water and food whilst we have all we need.


Because of groups such as World Vision and UNICEF we are conscious of people facing war just along the road from their village rather than a church or a school.

We pray particularly for the people of Yemen and all those who share in ministry there.

We pray for all refugees and asylum seekers and especially those who are risking their lives as they desperately try to cross the English Channel in small, unseaworthy boats. May they find a safe haven, help and a new beginning.


What is on your heart Lord? Show us what to do.

Let us know your will so we can follow you.


Lord we pray for those who are grieving or in pain and we bring to mind those who have lost loved ones, who are tired of living alone and find it hard to find comfort without that special person. We remember those who are ill and find it difficult to make it through each day. Fill their lives with your comfort and strength through your people wrap your loving arms around them.


What is on your heart Lord? Show us what to do.

Let us know your will so we can follow you.


We pray for ourselves, that we might be inspired to act to do your will. May we know your presence, peace, and power within us. Warm our hearts by your grace, and stretch our minds to face new challenges and new ideas.


What is on your heart Lord? Show us what to do.

Let us know your will so we can follow you.


May all who have had to leave homes and countries find, like Naomi and Ruth, a warm welcome, help and a place in people’s hearts.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


A Sabbath Blessing by Pete Greig:


May this day bring Sabbath rest to your heart and home.

May God’s image in you be restored, and your imagination be re-storied.

May the gravity of material things be lightened, and the relativity of time slow down.

May you know grace to embrace your own finite smallness in the arms of God’s infinite greatness.

May God’s Word feed you and His Spirit lead you into the week and into the life to come.


Amen


Hymns:


MP 496 O for a thousand tongues to sing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O9kw3cILpg


MP 1072 In Christ alone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kvFtXphmMU

A gentle Celtic version

© 2020 Rossendale Methodist Circuit