Summer Bible Study • Ruth 2: Participants Guide

3 Purposes of Ruth (there are others)

  1. Defends David and David’s lineage of kingship — and therefore also defends Jesus’ lineage
  2. An example of God’s laws being lived out in personal lives — particularly for the widowed, the orphaned, the foreigner
  3. Shows how God is involved in the day to day joys of our lives

Hesed

The Biblical concept of “Hesed” → It is mostly used as a descriptor about God and God uses it to describe Himself. It is translated as lovingkindness, mercy, loyalty. It is about LOYAL, faithful love. There is a sacrificial element to it: it is one person’s actions for another, that only one person can give. “Long Acting Love” is my new favorite way to understanding “hesed.”

When you think of “Long Acting Love” what comes to mind?


Read and Discuss

Ruth 2 — mark it up

Come up with 5 thoughts/questions that come to mind as you read Ruth 2


Discussion Questions

“Divine loyalty takes shape in community and in individual lives through human actions.”

Katherine Doob-Sakenfeld

  • What do you notice about Boaz?
  • “Gleaning” is the Biblical concept of provision for the poor, widowed, orphaned and foreigners by picking what was leftover in the fields after harvest. Owners of the fields were not supposed to harvest everything but to leave behind the corners so that others could come and harvest what was left.
  • In what ways are we called to “leave the corners” for people today? In what ways are we gleaners?
  • Why do you think the chapter keeps referring to Ruth as “The Moabitess” as opposed to “Naom’s daughter-in-law” or something else?
  • How does each character seem to change from chapter 1 to chapter 2? What made them change?
  • How do the different characters demonstrate hesed in chapter 2? (2:11) How do the different characters seem to understand God?
  • What are all the different things that God is doing in this chapter? How?
  • As you think about your own life, perhaps in this past week, how has God been at work in ways you might not even have realized? Through whom? How has God shown you God’s hesed this week? Are there opportunities for you to show God’s hesed?



12 Months of Blessing: Big Table SD and Westmorland Presbyterian Food Pantry

For the month of August, we’re partnering with two regional organizations to bless and serve our neighbors in San Diego and Imperial Counties.


Big Table “serves those who serve you.” Big Table provides care for workers in the hospitality & restaurant industry, where 1 in 6 workers are below the poverty line (which is double the rate compared with other industries) and 43% of those in the industry fall below the “survival” income line set by economists.

Big Table’s care model involves three steps: Personal referral, immediate crisis care, and ongoing relationship. And, yes, there’s an actual “big table,” where the people who usually serve us receive a multi-course chef meal. Visit Big Table’s site for more information.


Westmorland Community Presbyterian Church started their food pantry in 2018. Westmorland is a small rural town of approximately 800 households in Imperial County with a food insecurity rate of 16.1% (pre-Covid). Their ministry started by serving 50 households per week, and that has grown to 150 households.

“In addition to providing food, we want to help people prepare healthy food. As a result, we have brought in the Imperial County Health Department to do healthy cooking demonstrations during pantry hours. We are grateful to be able to participate with God in bringing healing and wholeness to our community
through this ministry.”

For more information about the Westmorland Food Pantry, click here.


Summer Bible Study • Ruth 1: Participants Guide

Ruth Chapter 1

Background: Written as a story between two major covenantal parts:

  • Genesis – Judges: Abrahamic Covenant
  • 1 Samuel – Kings: David Covenant

3 Purposes of Ruth (there are others)

  1. Kings
  2. Example of God’s laws
  3. Shows how God is involved in the day to day joys of our lives

The book of Ruth is read by Jewish people during the festival of Shavuot – when God gave the Israelites the Torah and the law. Why do you think this is?


Questions for this day?

Chapter 1 questions from last week:

  • Why was Ruth shown special favor when she didn’t do anything overtly “spiritually faithful?”
  • How old was Ruth?
  • What do Naomi’s two names mean? Why didn’t anyone call her that?
  • What kind of mother-in-law was Ruth that her two daughters-in-law loved her so?
  • Why was the town disturbed at Naomi’s return?
  • What made Naomi feel full when she left Bethlehem and empty when she returned?
  • How did Naomi feel about having a Moabite daughter in law?
    • Was it okay for Naomi’s sons to marry Moabie women?
  • Was it wrong for Orpah to leave Naomi?
     
  • Why did Naomi leave Moab?
  • What is the connection of Bethlehem?
  • What is an Ephrathite? 

Moab?

Read and Discuss


 
Ruth 1 – mark it up!

Discussion Questions  

  • Can you relate to Elimelek’s desire to leave the troubled Bethlehem?
  • As we are immigrants/child of immigrants, how do you view Ruth’s story? 
  • How do the different characters seem to feel about God?
  • The Biblical concept of “Hesed”
    • How do Naomi and Ruth reflect Hesed in chapter 1?
    • How does Naomi and Ruth’s reflection of Hesed to each other show God’s Hesed to us?
  • What are God’s actions in chapter 1? What do the different characters say God’s actions are?

  • What are some modern parallels to us that you note today? 


12 Months of Blessing: Equal Justice Initiative and Relief for Yemen

For the month of July, we’re continuing on with our 12 Months of Blessing campaign with two different organizations.

As we continue on in the work of racial justice, equity, and reconciliation, we’ll be supporting the Equal Justice Initiative.

You can learn more about founder Bryan Stevenson through his book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption or from the movie of the same name.

Anchor City will also be supporting relief work in Yemen (through Mona Relief), which is suffering the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. 80% of the population, including 12 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

As a church, we will also be praying for Yemen throughout this month.


Lament / ⚓︎ Hope

Image of green field bordered by dirt patch, with a green tree in the midst of dirt patch with text overlaid, "Lament / Hope"

So much pain exists in our culture today. The ongoing pandemic has unleashed both intense moments of suffering and death (although this is heavy and difficult, we highly recommend listening to this recent episode of This American Life called “The Reprieve” to experience the “invisible wildfire” of Covid-19 in Detroit) and the slow languish of quarantine. Even as we have raised our voices against systemic racism and injustice in our nation, daily we see new incidents of racial prejudice and hatred. And that’s on top of all the personal things we face around relationships, family, work, and trying to stay healthy and whole in the midst of everything.

This month, Anchor City is diving into what Scripture says about lament. Because we are not God, we cannot see the whole picture. We need some way to frame our understanding of suffering and pain in order to make sense of the world around us. Anchor City is blessed through the photography and storytelling of Jin Cho — from his artistic experience, Jin tells us, “Framing helps viewers focus on the subject. By doing so, it gives a stronger story.”

How we talk about our pain makes all the difference in moving us toward or away from God.

Lament is not simply a gripe session, venting our anger, or even expressing sorrow because of our difficulties. Lament includes those things but is more than just expressing our pain. The psalms, which contain a pretty even mix of praises and laments, reveal a pattern for our laments:

  • Acknowledging God’s faithfulness
  • Crying out to God for help
  • Giving honest voice to our sorrows and complaints
  • Confirming God’s faithfulness / Trusting in God
  • Praising God

Again, it’s not about following a formula but, rather, framing our understanding of life so that we move toward God in our pain. Lament also connects us to humanity — as Dave Gibbons says, not everyone can relate to our success or victories, but everyone understands pain. And, lament reveals to us a common longing (as Koreans have named, “Han”) for a better world. James Choung, author and Vice President of Strategy & Innovation at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, writes:

The world is messed up; that’s obvious. But what’s more interesting is the human response: how do you feel about this kind of world? No normal person thinks that suffering, violence and oppression are good things. So what does this mean? Most people ache for a better world. But our universal ache speaks of something more. Just like hunger points to food and thirst points to water, so our universal ache for a better world means that such a world either once existed or will one day exist.

James Choung, “The Big Story”

When we frame our pain and anger as lament before God, we find that, even in our deepest sorrow, a seed of hope is hidden within. For example, the lament in Psalm 90 might feel quite relevant to today — that in the ongoing drag of quarantine, where days seem to blend into one another, we might learn to number our days with wisdom as we trust in God, for whom a thousand years are like a day.

Image of leaves in a puddle with text overlaid, "Discussion Questions: What has been one of your deepest laments during this season? How can you frame your lament as a move toward God? What seed of hope is hidden within your lament?"

This week, we invite you to consider the following questions:

  • What has been one of your deepest laments during this season?
  • How can you frame your lament as a move toward God?
  • What seed of hope is hidden within?

We can all agree: This is not how things are meant to be. As we lament, may we faithfully express our pain, sorrow, and longing for a better world.