October 31, 2021

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Pentecost XXIII

Ruth 1:1-18 

 Psalm 146 

 Hebrews 9:11-14

Mark 12:28-34

Call to Worship  (from Psalm 146)One: Come!  Praise God, now and all the days of our lives!
Many:  For it is God who made heaven and earth, 
                      the sea and all that is in them.
One:  It is the Lord who watches over strangers, 
Many: upholding the orphan and the widow.
One:  Happy are all those whose help comes from God.
Many:  With our words and with our actions:
ALL: Let us praise the Lord our God!

Opening Prayer  (encourage those worshipping to move with this prayer)

Good and gracious God, 
We stretch our arms high to offer you our praise! (stretch TALL)

We open our hands to receive all you are eager to offer us. 
        (open hands, as if ready to be given a handful of treats)

We bow before you, offering our love, respect and gratitude.
        (fold hands and bow head)

So help each one of us praise you, loving God, 
  with body, mind and spirit.

Grant us a full measure of your grace that we might be raised up to live in the abundance you desire for each and for all of your beloved creatures.


Moment for Stewardship  (inspired by Ruth’s story)

In the short book called Ruth, we hear more about Naomi than we do about Ruth.  Yet Ruth is the one who clearly understands she has something to give to Naomi, even when Naomi insists she should be called “Mara” (bitter).

In this season when we’re still measuring what we’ve lost due to COVID,
what is it we have to give back to the One who has given us life?

(use specifics for your own setting, along the lines of what’s written here)

When we’ve lost the capacity to share a hug, or a handshake, how do you express your concern and care for others in this congregation?

When we’ve lost hands-on mission opportunities, where can you find to share God’s love while still maintaining appropriate social distancing?

When some have lost employment, and others have hours cut, how can you dig deep to help this congregation stay financially solvent? 

Consider what you are able to do, as you remember the widowed Ruth, pledging to stay with Naomi even when that means walking away from her homeland.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

In trust we turn to you, God of all good gifts.  Thank you for this moment, and for all who have participated in offering some of their resources to give you their thanks.  Please accept these gifts and the good intentions of our hearts, that together we might be witnesses of your love to our hurting and challenged world.   AMEN

Invitation to Communion  (inspired by Ruth and Naomi)

Christ’s table is spread for all of us—
    a place of gathering, fellowship and praise.  

Let us rejoice as we prepare to receive these gifts 
— symbols of Christ’s body and blood — 
by which we are strengthened to live in loving relationship 
      as faithful disciples of Jesus, the Christ.

We come, resting in admiration for what we know of Ruth and Naomi, 
     two women connected by a love which linked them through pain, 
       distance, and dis-orientation caused by death.

We remember it was Naomi who left Bethlehem (house of bread) 
     due to famine,

and returned to Bethlehem as an older widow, 

Naomi, accompanied by a stranger coming to a strange land;  
  this Ruth, who left her home, her goods and her gods.

Naomi came, emptied because of her famine   
     of death/emptiness/grief/bitterness
  returning to Bethlehem, in the beginning of the barley harvest.     

We come to this table today, and week by week, 
    from the famines of our lives 

only to find the fullness offered at this table.

ALL are welcome here:  every Ruth, every Naomi…every Mara,
       women and men, 
       strangers, seekers…
       welcome guests!

                all who hunger, come!

(sing:  All Who Hunger CH #419)