Worship at Home
Worship for 7th June 2020 - Trinity Sunday
Sunday 7th June 10:30 AM
(or whenever you wish)
This week’s message has been prepared by Rev Brian Kennard.
This short act of worship is for use while we are unable to attend church.
For the next four weeks we are following the book of Ruth. It would be good to read ahead. We also have some study booklets. Please contact the office if you would like to use one.
Let’s settle our hearts & minds to worship.
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Our message today is the first of our studies in the book of Ruth, and at the same time linking to the lectionary theme of the Holy Trinity.
Opening sentence: “Great is the mystery of our religion. God was manifested in the flesh”
(1 Timothy 3:16, RSV)
Hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy (Singing the Faith 11)
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,
Who 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!
Reginald Heber (1783-1826)
How great Thou art! As we draw near to worship, we recognise again that all of our words, all of our thoughts cannot do justice to your greatness, goodness and majesty. You are so different from ourselves –
You are immortal, we fade away.
You are holy, we are at best people with mixed motives and muddled-up ideas.
You are wise, we are ignorant.
And yet you call us to spend time with you, indeed you delight over us with singing as the prophet declares.
So, today, while we seek to understand you and your ways more, even more we would spend time in adoration, awe, wonder, love and praise. How great Thou art!
The Collect (prayer) for the day:
Almighty and everlasting God,
you have given your servants grace,
by the confession of a true faith,
to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity
and in the power of the divine majesty
to worship the Unity
Keep us steadfast in this faith,
that we may evermore be defended
from all adversities;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Naomi loses her husband and sons
1 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem
6 When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.’
Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, ‘We will go back with you to your people.’
11 But Naomi said, ‘Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me – even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons – 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!’
14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
15 ‘Look,’ said Naomi, ‘your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.’
16 But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.’ 18 When Naomi realised that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, ‘Can this be Naomi?’
20 ‘Don’t call me Naomi,’ she told them. ‘Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.’
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
Matthew 28:16-20 with a focus on verses 18-19
The great commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’
Meditation: from Ruth, chapter 1.
In this brief meditation, I want to bring out just two points from the many that could be drawn from this chapter.
Where is God when everything goes wrong?
What we have in this chapter is a sorry tale of misfortune upon misfortune… famine, premature death and a resulting bitterness of spirit (v20- “call me Mara (bitter) because the Almighty has made my life very bitter”
There can’t be all that many passages that are so relevant to the present-day crisis as this one. All over the world, there is bereavement, economic catastrophe, tight restrictions on who we can see and where we can go. And other grave issues, like climate change, world inequality, weapons of mass destruction haven’t gone away either.
So, where is God when we need him most? The answer from this chapter is that he is working behind the scenes. The answer from the Bible as a whole is that God is sovereign, that he is “working all things after the counsel of His own will” (Ephesians 1:11). The answer from St. Paul as he writes to the Church in Rome is that “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called…(Romans 8:28). But perhaps the best answer is this: He is present. “Immanuel, that is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23)
- Who is the Good News for?
The answer “everyone” will probably trip off our tongues without thinking, but it wasn’t always so clear that a relationship with God is available for people of every race, class, colour, sex. The lectionary passage I quoted above (“The Great Commission” from Matthew 28) is clear that Jesus commands us to spread the message world-wide, but just read the first chapters of Acts and you’ll find it took a lot of prodding to get most of the disciples to move outside their Jewish comfort-zone. Are we any better at reaching people who are very different from ourselves in background, education and the like?
Naomi has the appearance of a poor evangelist, trying desperately to dissuade her two daughters-in-law from following the living God (v11 onwards). Maybe it was because the bitterness of spirit we have already noted, but maybe there is something deeper here. There are a number of places in scripture where people are seemingly deliberately put off by preachers, including Jesus Himself… for example see Joshua 24:19 or the account of the Syrophoenician woman who came to Jesus (Mark 7: 24-30). What is needed, and Ruth exemplifies it, is a determination for each of us to embrace the Good News wholeheartedly.
So, maybe a better answer than “everyone” is “anybody” – anybody from any background who is willing to accept God’s terms – “Only by Grace can we enter, only by Grace can we stand; not by our human endeavour, but by the blood of the Lamb” (Singing the Faith 565)
Are we just dipping our toes in the river of God, or have we jumped right in letting the current move us on? (see Ezekiel 47: 3-6)
The Lord bless us as we study His word!
In your own words, remember before God…
those in authority in this country and around the world grappling with the present crisis and the many other difficult problems humanity faces…
all those “on the front line” whether NHS staff, transport workers, shop workers, the emergency services…
those most personally affected by the Covid-19 outbreak: the bereaved, those seriously ill, those who have already lost their jobs…
the Church of Jesus Christ as together we seek to witness to the love and care of God in word and action….
and for yourself and your family.
Remember, too, thankfulness!
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.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Hymn: There is a redeemer (Singing the Faith 338)
There is a Redeemer,
Jesus, God’s own Son,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
Thank You, O my Father,
For giving us Your Son,
And leaving Your Spirit—
Till the work on earth is done.
Jesus my Redeemer,
Name above all names,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
O for sinners slain.
When I stand in glory
I will see His face,
And there I’ll serve my King forever
In that holy place.
Now may the blessing of Almighty God,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be with and remain with us always. Amen.
The message & order of service by Rev’d Brian Kennard.
Leaflet formatting Rev’d Phil Snelson