ST MATTHEW IN THE WORD DURING LENT
Lent is a time of preparation and reflection as we head toward the remembrance of Jesus’ death on the cross for us on Good Friday and His resurrection from the Grave on Easter. Throughout the six weeks leading up to Easter you can make your time in St Matthew in the Word reflective of the season.
One way you can do that is with candles. Take 6 candles of any size and shape and arrange them in the shape of a cross (if you have one of the cross candleholders from St Matthew a few years back, you can use it, but it’s not necessary). Then, each week during Lent light one less candle (all six the first week, then five the next, etc.) symbolizing the darkness that covered the world when Jesus, the Light of the world, died on Good Friday. Then on Easter, light them all! Jesus is risen!
Use the Triple Play as you read with your family, your small group, or even in your personal devotion times!
Highs and Lows: Start by sharing at least one high and one low from the day. Don’t skip this step!
Daily Dig: As you read the text of the week, customize your experience with resources found here to help you grow!
Pray: Take time to pray about the highs and lows and what you’ve read. Give thanks for the highs, ask for help in the lows, and pray for God’s Word to be alive in you each week!
Daily Dig Resources
Everyone learns differently, so we have lots of ways that you can make your time in the Word your own.
These videos and resources will help you dig in and understand the passage.
Other Helpful Resources
Ideas for activities and things to do to apply the text.
The Story of Ruth with Play-Dough
Thought it would be fun this week to tell the story of Ruth with play-dough (your parents can only handle so many loud noisemakers and candy). ☺ In each kit you received two different colors and you’ll be using and reusing the play-dough throughout the story.
- Creation 1: Use one color and roll it out to make a flat piece of dry ground.
- Creation 2: Use your other color play-dough to make some tiny balls for grain. Put the grain on the ground.
Ruth and Naomi traveled back and arrived in Bethlehem during the spring barley harvest. Ruth went to the field of a man named Boaz. She gleaned there. That means she took leftover barley off the ground and put the grain in her basket. It was hard work out in the very hot sun. But Ruth was determined to be faithful, helping Naomi no matter what.
- Creation 3: Use the color you made to make flat ground and form it into a small basket instead. Put your grain into it.
Boaz was kind to Ruth. He told her she could come to his field anytime. He told his workers to leave extra grain on the ground for her to pick up. He had heard about Ruth and Boaz was impressed with Ruth’s faithfulness and kindness to Naomi. When Naomi found out that Ruth was working in Boaz’s field, she got very excited. Boaz was actually a relative of her husband’s! That meant that Naomi and Ruth might be able to convince Boaz to provide a home for Ruth. Naomi had a plan and told Ruth to go to Boaz at night when he would be sleeping outdoors to guard his grain. She told Ruth just how to ask Boaz to be her protector. According to the law, if Boaz would agree, it also meant he would marry Ruth.
- Creation 4: Use both of your colors of play-dough and make a baby.
Ruth did just what Naomi told her to do. She talked with Boaz and Boaz was not only glad to help her and Naomi, he married Ruth too! They ended up having a baby named Obed and now Naomi had a grandson who would keep her land in the family. Because of Ruth’s faithfulness, Naomi was cared for and had a family again.
Like Mrs. Appold said in the video too, best of all and many years later, Obed would grow up to be a grandpa himself. He was the grandfather of King David…and one of the ancestors of Jesus!
God keeps his promises! He is so very faithful!
Written by people you worship with at St Matthew.
Hallmark Movie Heroes
By Judy Guider
Let me start with a confession: I like watching Hallmark movies. Usually, the movie centers around a heroine who has a “problem” to resolve, which could be protecting a family business or a community landmark, overcoming grief, surviving difficult times, or looking for a big career victory. The Book of Ruth could very well be turned into a Hallmark movie. Ruth’s story fits in. And, like many Hallmark movies, Ruth’s story includes more than one hero.
Difficult time and a famine in Judah sends Naomi and her family from Bethlehem to Moab. The family could be provided for in Moab, but sometime after the move, Naomi’s husband dies. Her sons marry Moabite women, Orpah & Ruth, but ten years later the sons also die, leaving three grieving women with no male to provide for them and no grandchildren to carry on the family line. The future is bleak.
When Naomi learns that the famine is over, she decides to return to Bethlehem and send her beloved daughters-in-law back to their own families with the hope that they can remarry. How do we know they are beloved? She says, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the LORD show kindness to you as you have shown to your dead. May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband” (Ruth 1:8-9).
How do we know they are beloved? “[Naomi] kissed them and they wept aloud and said to her, ‘We will go back with you’” (1v10). Orpah is finally convinced to return to her own family, but Ruth clings to Naomi and replies with these familiar words, “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (1v16).
I think Naomi earns heroine status. Although Moabite wives could not have been Naomi’s first choice for daughters-in-law, her sons chose wives who she learned to accept, love, and to recognize their kind hearts. Ruth, through Naomi, grows to love and acknowledge the Lord as the True God, the only God.
After their return to Judah, Ruth wants to provide for Naomi. Amazingly, through divine intervention, Ruth gleans from the field owned by Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s late husband. Ruth’s reputation has preceded her because her kindness, humility, and determination to provide and protect Naomi is well-known, making her also a heroine. With a little matchmaking advice from Naomi, a bit of drama and suspense, Boaz becomes the third hero of Ruth’s story, as her kinsman-redeemer and Naomi’s as well. The first child of Boaz and Ruth brought joy back to the life of Naomi. The women say to Naomi, “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth” (4v14-15). If Ruth wasn’t a heroine before, she certainly is recognized as one now.
This is where a Hallmark movie would end. Luckily for us, there is more to the story. This little baby’s name was Obed, the father of Jesse, who became the father of David, Israel’s greatest king. It might be that Naomi’s acceptance and love for Ruth, a Moabite woman, opened Ruth’s eyes and heart toward the LORD. Certainly, God had a plan for them and has one for us. Our actions and words may be part of God’s plan for someone else. Even better, through that Moabite woman and a king who followed, many generations later God, our Father, provided a kinsman-redeemer for us, too: Jesus. It’s comforting to know that when we experience difficulties, sorrow, and fears, as Naomi had, our kinsman-redeemer, the real Hero of the story, has already redeemed us.