Church of England Diocese of Manchester Kirklees Valley

2) b) Reflections on the Book of Ruth - Jan 2021 - Week 2

Time for Prayer and Reflection

+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Opening sentence

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life;

to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in his temple.

To whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life,

and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory

Scripture Reading: the Book of Ruth Chapter 2

Settling in

Reflections on the book of Ruth (2)

Naomi and Ruth arrive safely in Bethlehem after their 50-mile (80 km) trek but have to tend to some of the essentials of daily living, like finding food. They looked to an established custom, gleaning. It is the practice of farmers being obligated to leave an area around the field that was not economically profitable to harvest (Lev. 19:9–10, Deut. 24:19–22) and the poor, widows and foreigners could gather, glean, these areas and keep the produce, in this case barley grain. Naomi and Ruth return with the status of effectively being refugees.

Boaz said to Ruth, ‘Now listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Keep your eyes on the field that is being reaped, and follow behind them. I have ordered the young men not to bother you. If you get thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.’ Then she fell prostrate, with her face to the ground, and said to him, ‘Why have I found favour in your sight, that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?’ But Boaz answered her, ‘All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. May the Lord reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge!’

(Ruth 2:8-12)

This story gives us a positive glimpse of the practice that goes back to a thousand or so years before Christ. In our story Ruth is accepted and graciously protected as she gleans. It is not only Boaz who acts graciously; it appears his servant also acts in the spirit of the rules regarding gleaning.

This story could have gone badly wrong for Naomi and Ruth. We know today it is one thing to have a law but what is equally if not more important is how it comes out in practice. Is it acted out graciously or begrudgingly?  Life was still not going to be easy for Naomi and Ruth - goodness knows how hard it was - but they persevered, encouraged by the gracious and Godly behaviour of others. For in the words of Boaz they receive the ‘full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge!’ But of course, the Lord worked through the hands of others.

Scripture reaches out to us across the millennium, a simple story of sharing that enriched the lives of both the giver and receiver. This story lives on in the simple and yet gracious act encouraged by Boaz. No judgements made, just gracious giving.

Perhaps there is no time like the present to embrace this part of the Book of Ruth and to do a form of modern day ‘gleaning’. Our life journeying of late has been uncertain but we could manage a stroll around our home and find the surplus in our own material harvest, not just food. We have so much stuff in our homes, unused and not worn cluttering up the place. I don’t think I need to expand on it, I’m sure you know what I mean. There is so much need why not let others benefit from our surplus. Do what you can, graciously, and then a little more.

We start our time of reflective prayer with the wonderful song Brother, sister, let me serve you.

https://youtu.be/TKnD4XYJZf4


Brother, sister, let me serve you;
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christlight for you
in the nighttime of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I'll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow,
till we've seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven,
we shall find such harmony,
born of all we've known together
of Christ's love and agony.

Brother, sister, let me serve you;
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

God, Creator and Giver of all that is good, we thank you for our many blessings.
Mindful of your generosity, we acknowledge that all that we have is from you.
Daily, we offer you thanks and praise for the beauty of the earth, our work, our family and our loved ones.

In the dawning of a new day, You are with us. In each dark hour, You are here.
Blessed by Your grace, we show gratitude by sharing what we have. By serving our brothers and sisters, we serve You.

As You protect and guide us on our journey, we, Your stewards, remain ever grateful for Your constant love. Amen 

www.anglicanprayer.org


The Lord’s Prayer


Prayer of St. Teresa of Avila

Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which He looks
compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet
with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which He blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands,
yours are the feet.
Yours are the eyes,
you are His body.
Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which He looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours. Amen