In the days of the judges, a famine came into the land and a Bethlehemite, Elimelech, went to Moab with his wife, Naomi, and their two sons. It came about that Elimelech died, and his two sons died, and Naomi was left with the Moabite wives of her children, Orpah and Ruth.Hearing that rain had come again to her homeland, Naomi determined to return home, and seeing that her daughters-in-law had little hope in getting remarried from her offspring again, she urged them to remain in Moab, in their homeland. Naomi suggested three times that they should return to Moab, and remarry, and because she was beyond the age of bearing more sons, they should not wait for her to have other children, grow up, and give them to them for remarriage! She saw her condition as a state of affliction from the LORD, yet she still believed God could work things out in their lives. Orpah followed Naomi’s advice and returned to Moab. Ruth, however, refused, and chose to remain with Naomi, selecting life with her over her family and national identity, over the worship of her native gods, and even the prospect of marriage (as bleak as Naomi had said it was). Ruth confessed a total loyalty to Naomi, to the people of Israel, and to Israel’s God. She declared to Naomi: “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” Ruth’s confession of loyalty and allegiance to Naomi is a pure example of what it means to make a complete break with the past in order to connect with the land and the people of promise. Even in the face of Naomi’s strong encouragement to return home, Ruth remained firm in her loyalty to her. Her loyalty silenced Naomi’s argument – and has given us a clear picture of what it means to be loyal to God’s people, and to God.
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Heavenly Father, thank you for Ruth’s unfailing loyalty to Naomi, that caused her to renounce her own national and family identity, and to give up her allegiance to the gods of Moab. She clung to Naomi, and in doing so, clung also to you. Grant to us that same pure loyalty that made Ruth so willing to resist Naomi’s argument and stay with her, no matter what. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father, And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, Is now, and ever shall be, World without end. Amen, amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord's Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
--Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Affirmation from the Psalms
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.  You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!”  For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
~ Psalm 90.1-4
Pray without Ceasing - Flash Prayer for the Day
Lord Jesus Christ, give me a heart as loyal and determined as Ruth, for you and for your people.