Summer At The Movies Part 4:
On Sunday 14th August at our morning service, we continued our Summer series 'Summer At The Movies'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
To download the talk to listen to off line, please click here.
We started our service by watching a Youtube clip with the trailer for UP. You can watch that by clicking here.
Today the subject is loneliness and relationships.
These are things that affect us all whether we are people of faith or not.
Many of us have been lonely.
In the past I have suffered with depression following a broken relationship. I dealt with it by cutting myself off from my friends. I knew that I was bad company and I didn’t want to inflict myself on others. Have you ever found yourself doing that? At the moments when you most need a friend you hide from them. Or maybe you have seen someone that you care about isolate themselves.
In the film “UP” there is a love story between Carl and Ellie. They meet as children and bond over a dream. They marry, sadly they can’t have children but they are devoted to each other and lead a good life, but when Ellie dies Carl is heartbroken. He becomes a sour, bitter old man who doesn’t want anything to do with people, and when help is offered he refuses it.
We can read stories in the Bible about how people deal with loss and loneliness. The story of Naomi can be found in the book of Ruth in the Old Testament part of the Bible. It is tucked into the History section.
She was what we might call today an economic migrant, or maybe even a refugee. You can read that by clicking here.
Tragedy strikes Naomi. Her husband and sons are gone; she has no grandchildren, leaving her with a great sense of loss but also no-one to provide for her. Naomi is left distraught. She hears that things have improved back home so decides to return. The girls plan to go with her but Naomi tries to send them away, rejecting the people who are trying to care for her. Naomi tries to isolate herself. She tells them to go home. Orpah has tried to stay but eventually gives up. It is difficult when your help is rejected. But Ruth is serious and persistent. Naomi allows Ruth to return to Bethlehem with her.
Naomi’s trials have an effect on her and her family and old neighbours see a change in her. She wants to change her name from Naomi which means “pleasant”. To “Mara” which means “bitter” because her troubles have turned her life and her bitter. If we are not careful circumstances can turn us bitter. It is when things go wrong in our lives that we need to accept the hand of a friend. We need to open up to people and not close down.
The name Ruth means “Compassion, for the misery of another”. It also means friend. It is also the root of the word Ruthless.
To be ruthless is to be without compassion.
You have experienced the rejection of your friendship when someone you know is in trouble. It is easier in some ways to turn our back on them.
Our natural instinct when we are low is to turn in on ourselves. Just like Carl in the film UP. He ends up living in isolation and when the little boy Russel comes along to help him the door is slammed on him twice.
However Carl eventually lets him into the house and into his life.
Naomi feels particularly bad because she believes that God is doing this to her. This is what she says;
“It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD’s hand has turned against me!”
When things go wrong for us what can make it feel even worse is that we can feel that God has done this to us. We might say
“What have I done to deserve this?”
The reality is that none of us live a perfect life; so when things go wrong maybe we think we are being punished. This can make us feel worse.
But we need to know that our God is loving and forgiving.
Ruth persists in staying against opposition to her compassion.
She is prepared to leave all that she knows rather than see her mother in law alone. She pushes through the rejection of her help. Her compassion and affection knows no bounds.
Friendship is about opening up not closing down.
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your small group)
1 What are the issues is it that this talk raises for you?
2 Have you ever found it difficult to support a friend because they isolate themselves? What are the thoughts and feelings that you went through?
3 Do you remember a time when you found it difficult to get help from a friend? Why do you think that was?
4 What does being a good friend, relative, or colleague mean to you right now?
5 Is there a friend that you need to support going through the pain barrier at the moment?
6 What feelings does it arouse in you when talking about opening up or closing up?
7 Ruth’s name has gone into the dictionary because of this story. If your name was to go in the dictionary what qualities would it exemplify?
8 Think of one thing that you will do as a result of thinking about this.