New Service Background Images for the Series "Ruth: Under the Bethlehem Star"

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The worship series "Under the Bethlehem Star" (www.reformedworship.org/article/september-2011/under-bethlehem-star) featured in the September, 2011 'Reformed Worship' demonstrates again how durable and consistent the story of salvation is. The themes chosen to represent the four chapters of Ruth — hope, peace, joy, and love — describe a dynamic that is at work in many stories, the whole Gospel and also our own worship service from week to week.

This scheme, which is used here to bring Advent to life, clearly meshes with the usual worship framework of confession (hope), assurance (peace), response (joy) and sending (love). So the task of finding background images for these services immediately suggested that the season's progression should be mirrored by each worship service within it. An understanding that worship is dynamic, even within its parts, and that the story of Ruth is more richly nuanced than a four-point precis, suggested too that each image in the series should be given some life.

Reusable background images illustrating the context of the story of Ruth were relatively easy to find. (That this still took hours of searching goes without saying.) The figures within the context were another matter, so we finally settled on easily Photoshopped silhouettes. The resulting four groups of images can be used as needed to accent and support the worship service projection slides of text and songs.

Here is the narrative of the image series. On the road through the wilderness (with nary a kernel of wheat to be seen) Naomi appears, alone in the distance, but is then joined and overtaken (Christ-like) by Ruth on her journey from despair to hope. In the verdant wheat fields, where the harvest has been gathered, Ruth is left in peace to glean more and more, and is encouraged (Christ-like) by Boaz. On the threshing floor, workers participate in the exuberant exercise of throwing chaff to the wind and Ruth receives, with joy, the promise of redemption from Boaz. Finally, loaves of bread, lovingly baked from the harvest of wheat, are carried away to be shared.

This very recently (just in time) crafted set of images is available on Worship aNew (www.worshipanew.net/visuals/screen/JFCRC-Ruth.shtml) and is licensed for reuse and adaptation under Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike. If there is any interest I can make the uncompressed image files available in a Zip package. I am also willing to share the multi-layered Paint Shop Pro image files for the creatively inclined.

We (at Jubilee) still need to craft the text for the confession and assurance for each Sunday. I will post this to the Worship aNew website as soon as it is finalized, so do come back to check for updates.

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