Scripture: Ruth 16: 16—18
Subject: Home is where you are loved. Ruth loved Naomi and promised to stay with her where-ever she went.
Six weeks before this event have the women’s ministries group decide if they would like to have a shared experience with a United Gratitude Banquet (a meal done at the corps) or a unique experience with Giving Thanks at My House (a meal done at individual homes). Discuss your target audience and consider how to invite a newcomer to the group.
Four weeks before the event send out invitations. Include date, time and place. Include a RSVP date (about 7—10 days before the event) so that you know how many women plan to attend. Invitation can be via mail, Facebook, texting a group of friends, a flyer to be handed out through social services or an announcement slide on a Sunday morning.
One week before the event gather the decorations, finish shopping for the refreshments, prepare conversation cards and review the worship program. If possible, use “real” plates, bowls, glasses, cups and utensils to give each place setting a homey and loving feel. It is okay to mix and match the table settings. Focus on the people and conversation. Choose an easy-to-prepare menu that will have variety and color.
Day before the event set up the space to host your guests, set the tables, put up the room decorations and make the final food preparations. Pray over each space and the woman who will occupy it.
Day of event, finish final food preparations, be ready to greet guests and enjoy your time together.
Time of Sharing
Time of Reflection
Welcome and Gathering
As people arrive, greet and invite them to choose a beverage and enjoy hors d’oeuvres. After most guests have arrived, ask them to find their table. Assign a hostess for each table to give the introductions, direction and open in a word of prayer. In order to prepare hearts and minds for the worship time, encourage conversation with the conversation cards.
Conversation Cards – make a set for each table
#1 Do you like to take short vacations or long vacations? Why?
#2 Have you ever felt out of place on a visit?
What made you feel this way?
#3 What is the difference between the words “house” and “home”?
#4 Share a time when you felt you were loved.
Gathering Music – Grateful | Live | Elevation Worship https://youtu.be/oh2goMABFPc
Once everyone has finished their meal, encourage them to refresh their beverage, chose a dessert and move into a time of worship. The worship time can be around the tables, in a living room, or in the chapel. Choose a place where people can be comfortable.
Time of Sharing
Ask a few people to share a highlight from their conservation questions.
Read – Ruth 1: 16–18 (NIV)
Most of us are creatures of habit. We have routines that help us get through a day successfully. We have specific holidays that bring people together and patterns in life that help us know what is next. However, what happens when something unexpected occurs? When the alarm clock fails to wake you, do you find yourself anxious for the rest of the day? When the family vacation is postponed or cancelled, do you find yourself feeling upset and wanting something more? Do you feel lost when life takes an unexpected turn? In each of these cases we can find ourselves in uncharted territory and grasping for something familiar. The biblical story of Ruth is filled with the joys and challenges that accompany unfamiliar territory. It teaches us to depend on God to provide the familiar.
Let’s look at Ruth 1 and notice the similarities and differences between Naomi (the mother-in-law) and Ruth. What do you see?
|Foreigner in Moab (vs. 2)||A citizen of Moab|
|Widow of Elimelech (vs. 3)||Widow of Mahlon (vs. 5)|
|Lived in Moab for 10 years (vs. 4)||Lived in Moab 10 years with Naomi (vs. 4)|
|Encouraged the daughters–in–law to return to their mothers’ house (vs. 8)|
|Shows love to her daughters–in-–laws (vs. 9)||Shows love towards Naomi by declining to go (vs. 10)|
|Again shows love to her daughters-in-law
|Shows loyalty to Naomi by going with her to Bethlehem (vs. 14)|
|A citizen of Israel||Foreigner in Israel (vs. 19)|
We see that Naomi, Orpah and Ruth have been together for 10 years. In the beginning of those years, I am sure the house they lived in was just that … a house. However, after 10 years in one place, things changed. Those 10 years allowed them to: know each other’s likes and dislikes; discover who was the best and worst cook; learn who was the best and worst story teller; and they even knew when to leave each other alone and when someone needed a hug. The end result was a home.
We see that Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth have found ways to show love and kindness to each other. When Naomi decides it is time for her to return to her homeland, she lovingly encourages Orpah and Ruth to stay in their own homeland, so that they might have a future. At first, both Orpah and Ruth refused the offer; they wanted to be with Naomi. Once again Naomi urged her daughters–in–law to return to their homeland, and this time Orpah agreed. “But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!’ When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more (Ruth 1:16–18).”
It is interesting to note that Naomi and Ruth found strength in knowing that their home provided not only love for one another, but love for God. Over the course of those early years together, Naomi exemplified the qualities of a Godly home, and Ruth was not ready to give that up. In fact, she wanted more and chose to go with Naomi to Bethlehem.
What is your story? Has the day caught you off guard? Has there been an unexpected change in your plans this year? Or maybe there has been a life–altering event and you don’t know which way to turn.
As we read Naomi’s and Ruth’s story we see a deeper meaning to the words “love” and “home” as they face an uncertain future, but with a very present God. Where is God in your life? Where is God in your home? Where is God in the way that you love? He wants to be a part of your story.
Share the poem “Home and Love” by Robert William Service. You can find this on PoemHunter.com or at https://youtu.be/StMpuKiZfXw.
Time of Reflection
Have thank you cards available, so that each person can write a thank you note to someone expressing gratitude.
“Love Will Be Our Home” by Sandi Patty https://youtu.be/FeFleWw4pEs