Call to Worship/Llamado a la Adoracion (Psalm/Salmo 133)
Liturgist/Liturgista: How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! / ¡Qué maravilloso y agradable es cuando los hermanos conviven en armonía!
Congregacion: It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. / Pues la armonía es tan preciosa como el aceite de la unción que se derramó sobre la cabeza de Aarón, que corrió por su barba hasta llegar al borde de su túnica.
Liturgist/Liturgista: It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. / La armonía es tan refrescante como el rocío del monte Hermón que cae sobre las montañas de Sión.
Congregacion: For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. / Y allí el SEñOR ha pronunciado su bendición, incluso la vida eterna.
Liturgist/Liturgista: Loving God, we know that there will be times when we suffer anger for one another. We have realized that in you all of our conflicts and disagreements can be resolved, because your love protects us from a multitude of sins and that same love is our banner. It is for that reason that we have come together, searching for harmony to refresh our hearts and fill us with joy, with your love and with your replenishing blessings. AMEN! / Amado Dios, sabemos que existen momentos en que nos enojamos unos con los otros. Nos hemos dado cuenta que en ti todos nuestros conflictos y desacuerdos se pueden arreglar, porque tu amor cubre multitud de pecados y ese amor es nuestra bandera. Es por eso que hemos venido juntos, buscando armonia para refrescar nuestros corazones y llenarnos de tu gozo, de tu amor y saborear tus bendiciones. AMEN!
Scripture Reading: Genesis 45: 1-8 (NIV) “So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it… ‘I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.’”
Gospel Reading: Matthew/Mateo 15: 21-28 (NIV) “A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.’ Jesus’ disciples came to him and urged him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’ The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said. He replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.’ ‘Yes it is, Lord,’ she said. ‘Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’”
When all seems lost is a good time to figure out who we are. When all seems lost is when we name ourselves or allow others to name us. When all seems lost is when we learn who to depend on. When all seems lost.
In the Book of Ruth we hear the story of three women, who are each on a journey. None of them know what to expect at the end, but they go forth on their journeys anyway.
Naomi leaves Bethlehem with her husband and their two sons. They leave because there is a draught in Bethlehem, so they decide to relocate to Moab. In Moab, Naomi’s husband dies. She marries her sons off to two Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. Soon after, both her sons also die. And a draught starts in Moab. There isn’t enough water, which means there isn’t enough food, and as a widow she is left without any man to protect her or feed her. And in those days, the only recourse she had as a widow was to pick up farmers leftovers. The stuff the farmers left behind on the ground. Remember, she was older, and she had the added responsibility/burden of her two widowed daughter in laws. Orpah and Ruth.
In a state of despair Naomi, knowing that she can’t help these two widows in the traditional way (which is marry them off to another son), decides to return to Bethlehem and asks the girls to return home to their families. Orpah decides to return home, but Ruth won’t stay behind. Naomi tries reminding Ruth that the hand of the Lord seems to be against her. But Ruth will not be left.
Ruth, the Moabite decides to adopt the God of Naomi, saying: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
Never Give Up, Never Surrender: I have been thinking about this story for a long time, I usually get stuck on the daughters in laws decisions and I never take the time to dwell on Naomi. But as I was getting my thoughts together to talk about this story I read an email from a friend that made me finally focus on Naomi.
It wasn’t anything complicated, it just said: “I wish people would take Mental Health more serious! Those that have experienced anxiety attacks, depression, ADHD to name a few know what I’m talking about. Lots of prayers for this group of illness sufferers that we often forget. Amen!
And finally, I got it. Naomi was depressed. This woman had lost 3 of her closest family members. Her husband and her children. This woman was widowed with nobody to take care of her in her old age. She was brokenhearted. She was devastated. She had lost everything she had arrived in Moab with. Her family, her status, her position. She felt that even God could no longer see her. The last two family members she has left are also women, and are also widowed. But unlike her, they still have their youth and might be able to marry a Moabite (though not an Isrealite). Naomi has given up, she feels she has nothing left, so these two women, her last ties…she wants to give them up too.
Sometimes, when we are feeling alone, we even lose the ability to hold onto the few good things that are left in our lives. We push the people we love the most away from us. When I visited Luis in the hospital, the first time that he was feeling overwhelmed, he kicked me out. And I wanted to die. I felt devastated. I wondered what I could do to make him want to keep me closer to him. The next day, Mami cooked his favorite meal, Chicken Soup with a lot of Veggies, and because of a miscommunication she served him only the caldo and left out all the yummy treats. My mom was devastated when he kicked her out. We went home, both of us full of sorrow, both of us full of pain and anguish and we tried to make each other feel better. The next day, I was elected to be his morning visitor. Mom needed a break, time to heal her brokenheart.
As I walked into Luis’ room one of the nurses followed me in, she asked me if I was okay and I nodded and sat in my usual spot on his wheelchair. I had nothing left to give. I had cried on my way to the hospital and was feeling miserable. The nurse said to me, so you are the older sister?! And I said yes, how’d you know? She said, cause when you left the other night I was trying to find out why he kicked you out and he kept holding up six fingers, and he would point at the first finger and point out the door, and then he would point at the third finger and point at himself.
Learn to Trust: She said it took her a while to figure out what that meant, but once she understood that he was explaining his family, she said to him: you know if you kick her out, she’ll come right back. And I looked at Luis and he smiled big and nodded his head, and I felt better.
Sometimes that’s the message God has for us, we each have a place, we each play a role and He needs us to surrender who we think we are to who He wants us to be. Naomi, was sad. She was depressed and she was kicking people out. Later in the story we find out that she even changes her name to Mara, which means bitter.
Because at that time she feels that God has dealt with her in a bitter way. She goes on to explain that she left her country full and God bought her back empty.
Naomi is so busy thinking about her loss, that she hasn’t realized her blessings. I was so busy thinking about my loss that I wasn’t thinking about my blessings. Luis still knew who he was. He understood his role and his spot in our family. He trusted my love would bring me back. He trusted that our mothers love would keep her near.
Conclusion: That is what God is still teaching me. To trust. To know my role and to trust Him. God has a purpose for each of us. We can push and we can pull, but our roles are our roles. Our Pastor has been saying for a while now that our church has been going through the discomforts of pregnancy. This summer our preachings have been all about the birthing process, and I have heard some recent preachers say that this church has already been birthed. Now we start the next steps which are the growing into our roles. We have to take our first steps and acknowledge our mistakes, but not stay stuck at our mistakes. We have to take the next steps and surrender ourselves to Gods purpose for us. Assume our positions. Declare our Godly stance.
Invitación al Altar: Loved ones, I ask that you each come forward and join me in prayer. Let us join in a prayer of aliento y inspiracion. A prayer of surrender, giving to God all of our issues to deal with and trusting that with Him in the mix, the battle has already been won.
Oración de Gratitud: Gracias Jesus por permitirnos reconocer que somos hermanos y hermanas aun cuando nos hemos criado en diferentes lugares o venimos de diferentes tradiciones. Asi como Jose acepto a sus hermanos y los abrazo en amor y comprension, nosotros queremos darte las gracias porque de esta misma forma nos hemos unido como reconocimiento de nuestro compromiso de hermandad y amor.
Pastoral Blessing/Bendicion Pastoral: Psalm/Salmo 67 Que el Señor tenga compasión y nos bendiga, que nos mire con buenos ojos, para que todas las naciones de la tierra conozcan su voluntad y salvación. Oh Dios, que te alaben los pueblos; ¡que todos los pueblos te alaben! Que las naciones griten de alegría, pues tú gobiernas los pueblos con justicia; ¡tú diriges las naciones del mundo! Oh Dios, que te alaben los pueblos; ¡que todos los pueblos te alaben! La tierra ha dado su fruto; ¡nuestro Dios nos ha bendecido! ¡Que Dios nos bendiga! ¡Que le rinda honor el mundo entero! AMEN!