Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ruth 1:20-2:23: The God of Love's Gracious Surprises + Saturday, July 16, 2016

"Whither Thou Goest (Ruth and Naomi)" by Sandy Freckleton Gagon

Liturgy for Saturday, July 16, 2016 Service | Book of Ruth Sermon Series Part 4

Artwork Explanation

I felt that the imagery of the journey of Ruth and Naomi to Bethlehem was deeply symbolic of the journey each of us must take in mortality. In the painting, Ruth, in the extremity of adversity with Naomi, reaches up and covers them both with her cloak, just as Christ blankets each of us. In Aramaic, the word atone means “to embrace.” I am grateful for that grace. The Lord intends everything in the Old Testament to bring us to Christ. As our goal in life is to “come unto Christ and be perfected in him,” the Old Testament becomes precious and invaluable. The embrace of Naomi by Ruth is a beautiful image of having our Savior take us in his embrace and declare that we belong to him.  Regardless of the difficulties we encounter in remaining faithful, we must remember that Jesus Christ will not fail to honor His covenant with us.  He will gather us to Himself as Ruth covenanted with and cared for Naomi, and as Boaz covenanted with and cared for Ruth. In Isaiah 49:15-16, He eloquently states: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands.” 

+ Sandy Freckleton Gagon, "Whither Thou Goest (Ruth and Naomi)"

From Famine to Feast | Ruth 1:20-2:23 | The God of Love's Gracious Surprises Key Quotes

Remember, hesed doesn’t look at the fairness of love; its commitment has nothing to do with how the other person treats you. This is the third time Ruth has demonstrated one-way love: (1) when Naomi didn’t thank Ruth after her commitment to stay with her, (2) when Naomi ignored her at the city gates, and (3) when Ruth goes out to work by herself. Did we notice that Ruth even asks to be Naomi’s servant? ... Ruth’s help is hesed in action: Picture Ruth bending down and collecting individual stalks of grain in the hot sun – unthanked, unprotected, and unknown. This is the face of hesed. There’s not a lot of drama in helpfulness, but it is the fabric of love. Helpfulness is hesed in action. It is a quietly doing that fits the needs around you. + Paul Miller, A Loving Life

Ruth breaks the mold of both ancient and modern definitions of individuality. She rejects the dark side to seek self-fulfillment and the relational testiness that can come from seeing herself only as a victim. She sees the shape of the world God has placed her in and acts. She also rejects the dark side that her culture can oppress her with mindless servitude and marginalization. She moves out in the face of evil and isn’t paralyzed by her circumstances. Her faith in God leads to a robust doing. + Paul Miller, A Loving Life

Imagine if Ruth became embittered instead of gracious, bringing Naomi and Boaz down to her bitterness. But look at her contrast as she actively does grace (rather than just thinks about it):

+ Self-pity: Nourishing an internal-feeling world of being wounded / Grace: Exhibits outward action of love through her wounds
+ Bitterness: Demands that others make her world better / Grace: Knows YHWH makes the world better and gives joy to others
+ Gossip: Creates a false community who constantly has to empathize with her pain / Grace: Steps into communities with empathy for their pain
+ Emotional revenge: Withdraws her heart to manipulate others / Grace: Giving her heart and her life to bless others

We don’t live out of what we know. We live out of what we love. ... Aristotle appreciated that we can't think our way to new goals ... "It is well said, then, that it is by doing just acts that the just man is produced ... without doing these no one would have even a prospect of becoming good. But most people do not do these, but take refuge in theory and think they will become good this way, behaving somewhat like patients who listen attentively to their doctors, but do none of the things they are ordered to do." + James K.A. Smith, You Are What You Love

Due to his obedience to Leviticus 19 and 23, and Deuteronomy 24, Boaz rose above any charge of prejudice. He allowed Ruth to remain in his field when others would have chased her away. And he assumed responsibility of physical protection from those who might harm her. Boaz knew God's law, loved it, and followed it, even at personal cost. And rather than calling her a servant, he called her a young woman, affirming her personhood. Yahweh’s grace and hesed came through a member of His covenant community. Ruth 2 begins the inclusion of Ruth into His covenant community as He has always done in human history. + Dean Ulrich, From Famine to Fullness

Scripture is a vast tapestry of God’s creating, saving, and blessing ways in the world. The great names and stories can be intimidating. We may begin to think “Surely there is no way that I can have any significant part on such a stage.” But the story of the widowed, impoverished, alien Ruth is proof to the contrary. She is the inconsequential outsider whose life turns out to be essential for telling the complete story of God’s ways among us. The outsider Ruth was not born into the faith and felt no natural part of it – like many of us. But she came to find herself gathered into the story and given a quiet and obscure part that proved critical to the way everything turned out. + Eugene Peterson, The Message Study Bible

Eucharist | Thanking God for Communion with Christ and His Church

Come As You Are

By Crowder

2014 A.D.

Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been.
Come broken hearted,
Let rescue begin.
Come find your mercy,
Oh sinners, come kneel.
Earth has no sorrow
That Heaven can’t heal.
Earth has no sorrow
That Heaven can’t heal.

So lay down your burdens,
Lay down your shame.
All who are broken,
Lift up your face.
Oh, wanderers come home.
You’re not too far.
So lay down your hurt,
Lay down your heart,
Come as you are.

There’s hope for the hopeless,
And all those who’ve strayed.
Come sit at the table.
Come taste the grace.
There’s rest for the weary,
Rest that endures.
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure.

(Repeat Chorus)

Come as you are!
Fall in His arms!
Come as you are!

There’s joy for the morning,
Oh, sinners be still.
Earth has no sorrow
That Heaven can’t heal.
Earth has no sorrow
That Heaven can’t heal.

(Repeat Chorus)

Call to Worship

Why, Lord, do You stand far off? 
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
In his arrogance the wicked man
hunts down the weak, who are caught
in the schemes he devises.
His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
He says to himself, “God will never notice;
He covers His face and never sees.”
Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account”?
You, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
You consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to You;
You are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
You encourage them,
and You listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.

+ Psalm 10:1-2, 10-15, 17-18

Let Justice Roll
By Sojourn Worship

2015 A.D.

Forgive us Lord, for passing by
When children cry for bread.
Forbid it Lord, that justice lie 
In tatters, cold and dead.
Outside these walls run desperate streets 
Where greed is law and life is cheap.
We bar the doors, refuse to see, 
Or hear the words You said:

Let justice roll like a river, like a river, let it roll!
Let justice roll like a river, like a river, let it roll!

Convict us Lord, we dance and laugh 
Ignoring those who weep.
Correct us Lord, our golden calf
Has lulled our hearts to sleep.
The gap between the rich and poor
Grows ever wider, shore to shore.
There’s racial hate, religious war
And wolves among the sheep. 

(Repeat Chorus)

Indwell us Lord, and purify
Our hands to work for You.
Enlist us Lord, to serve nearby
And ʻcross the waters, too.
Your image-bearers on the earth
Will never know how much theyʼre worth
Unless we love and help them first 
And show the way to You!

(Repeat Chorus) 

Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate. Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing river. + Amos 5:14-15, 24

Heidelberg Catechism
Q&A 1, 1563 A.D.

What is your only comfort in life and death?

That I am not my own, 1
but belong with body and soul,both in life and in death, 2
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. 3
He has fully paid for all my sins
with His precious blood, 4
and has set me freefrom all the power of the devil. 5
He also preserves me in such a way 6
that without the will of my heavenly Fathernot a hair can fall from my head; 7
indeed, all things must work togetherfor my salvation. 8
Therefore, by His Holy Spirit
He also assures meof eternal life 9
and makes me heartily willing and readyfrom now on to live for Him. 10

Jesus’ Prayer for His Disciples
Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, May Your name be kept holy.
May Your Kingdom come.
May Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread
And forgive us our sins
As we have forgiven those
Who sin against us.
And don’t let us
Yield to temptation,
But rescue us
From the evil one.
(For Yours is the Kingdom,
The power and the glory forever. Amen.)

The Feast

By City Hymns
Original by William Gadsby
1838 A.D.

With wondering eyes, Lord we admire 

The feast prepared by grace;
Come, Lord, and set our souls on fire,
And fill each heart with peace.
These emblems of Your precious love,
By faith may we receive.
And with a solemn pleasure prove,
We in Your name believe.

We eat this bread,

We drink this wine,
Come give Yourself to us.
We know You’re here,
That’s why we’ve come,
To feast on You with love.

No goodness of our own we bring; 

We’re sinners vile and base;
Christ is our all;
Of Christ we sing,
And long to see His face.
O may we each with heart and tongue
Sing, “Worthy is the Lamb!”;
To Him alone the praise belongs,
And we’ll adore His name. 

(Repeat Chorus)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me. … He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. + Revelation 3:20, 22

You Are God and You Are Good

By Austin Stone Worship
2014 A.D.

For the fatherless, 

We pray be the Father.
Let those who lost their way
Be understood.
For the widow and the broken
– Be the Lover who will hold them.
We know that You are God
And You are good.
Yes, we know that You are God
And You are good.

For those who mourn today, 

Be the comfort,
And who hunger after You,
Be satisfied.
You bless the poor in spirit
For heaven is their Kingdom.
We know that You are God
And You are good.
Yes, we know that You are God
And You are good.

Chorus 1:

You are God, You're the risen King!
You are good, Lord of everything!
No mountain, no valley
Could ever separate us from Your love.
You are God and You are good!
Yes, we know that You are God
And You are good!

As we look upon Your Word, 

God give us vision!
Restore us by
The power of Your blood!
Come now, Holy Spirit
– When You whisper
Let us hear it!
We know that You are God
And You are good!
Yes, we know that you are God
And you are good!

(Chorus 1 Repeat)

So come now in power!

And let our chains be broken!
Pour out Your Spirit!
Jesus, our hearts are open!

Chorus 2

You are God, You're the risen King!
You are good, Lord of everything!
No mountain, no valley
Could ever separate us!
No power, no darkness,
Could ever stand between us!
No mountain, no valley
Could ever separate us
From Your love!
You are God and You are good.
Yes, we know that You are God 
And You are good.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. + Romans 8:31-32, 38-39


By Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Chicago

2013 A.D.

My God is awesome
He can move mountains,
Keep me in the valley,
Hide me from the rain.

My God is awesome
Heals me when I'm broken,
Strength where I've been weakened,
Forever He will reign!

My God is awesomeawesome,
My God is awesomeawesome,

My God is awesome
Savior of the whole world
Giver of salvation,
By His stripes I am healed

My God is awesome
Today I am forgiven
His grace is why I'm living,
Praise His holy name!

(Repeat Chorus)

He's mighty, He's mighty, 
He's mighty, He's mighty,

He's holy, He's holy, 
He's holy, He's holy,

He's great, He's great, 
He's great, He's great,

He's mighty, He's mighty, 
He's mighty, He's mighty,

Deliverer, Deliverer, 
Deliverer, Deliverer,

He's holy, He's holy, 
He's holy, He's holy,

Provider, Provider, 
Provider, Provider,

Protector, Protector, 
Protector, Protector,

My God is awesome
He can move mountains
Keep me in the valley,
Hide me from the rain.

My God is awesome,
Heals me when I'm broken
Strength where I've been weakened,
Praise His holy name.


The Lord is your rock and your fortress and your deliverer, your God, your rock, in whom you can take refuge, your shield, and the horn of your salvation, your stronghold. + Psalm 18:1-2

Next post: Ruth 3: The God of Love is Our Redeemer and Shelter + Saturday, August 6, 2016


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