Bible Readings: Ruth 1:1-18, Psalm 146, Hebrews 9:11-14, Mark 12:28-34
About the Images:
Upper Left: It is so natural to turn to your Father when things go pear-shaped. This is my image so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: This is a www.heartlight.com free powerpoint background with words I took from one of those emails which does the rounds of all our computers from time to time (see Useful Quotes below).
Lower Left: The land of Moab today (part of present day Jordan). This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Right: This is a Microsoft free clipart image with my text.
Listening song: Alien
By Third Day on their album, Conspiracy No 5 (pictured at right) This song fits in well with the Ruth reading.
Tell story of Ruth and Naomi as an example of Mark 12:30-31 in that Ruth loves God enough to follow God, and loves Naomi enough to follow and be with her,
Hide the individual words of Mark 12: 30-31 in the congregation on big individual red hearts. Get the kids to find them, and put them in order to work out what the verse says.
Kid's Story: The Runaway Hug
By Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood, Scholastic Australia, 2011, ISBN 9781865044057 (pictured at left). A delightful story-book which fits in beautifully with the gospel reading. Thanks to Miranda Walker for suggesting this book.
Youth Time: When you don't fit in.
Do you ever feel like an alien – like a misfit, like you don’t belong?
Tell a story from your own teen years when you felt like you didn't fit in (we all have at least one!). Relate it to Ruth and Naomi and how hard it must have been to live in a strange place and amongst foreigners/strangers.
Voice drama for congregation: Not enough
One: I am a good Christian.
Many: What do you mean?
One: Well, I go to church every Sunday.
Many: That is not enough.
One: I visit my parents.
Many: That is not enough.
One: Well, I’ve never stolen anything, and I’ve certainly never killed anyone.
Many: That is still not enough.
One: What then? What is enough?
Many: You must love God. We must love God. With our hearts. With our minds. With our bodies. With our souls. We must love our neighbors. We must love ourselves.
ALL: Let us put our love into motion as we worship the One who’s taught us to love.
Written by Crystal Sygeel-Lystlund, Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, Richmond, Virginia. Excerpted from Homiletics, Nov. 2, 1997: Mark 12:28-34.
Useful Quotes: About Love:
"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your chips without making them give you any of theirs."
"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."
"Love is when you tell someone something bad about yourself and you're scared they won't love you any more. But then you get surprised because they love you even more."
"Love is when you tell a boy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."
"God could have said some words to make the nails fall off the cross, but .............. He didn't. That's love."
"Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love others as much as you love yourself." -Jesus
"Love God and do as you like" - St Augustine
Would you rather be known for your goodness or your love? Share your answer with the people on each side of you.
Benediction: Based on an African Version
Project the following words:
The Good News: You are loved
The Challenge: To love
The Invitation: To follow
Ask everybody to choose the line that means the most to them.
Stand at the door and have the first person who leaves tell you what line they chose and you then tell them what you chose. Ask that person to stand beside you. Have the second person to leave tell you which line they chose and you tell them which you chose, and then have them do the same with the person standing next to you. The second person then stands next to the person standing next to you. Have the third person to leave .......and so on.
When you do this with a whole congregation it takes a bit of time and you end up with a sort of human snake spilling out the door of your worship space; but it is a great end to a service and has literally everyone talking to everyone!