Ruth is the picture of loyalty as she committed to her mother-in-law, Naomi, after Mahlon, Ruth’s husband and Naomi’s son, died. Ruth said in Ruth 1:16, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” As you expose families to Ruth’s wonderful example, focus on her loyalty and how God blessed her obedience.
Perilous Journey To help families understand the journey Ruth took in her lifetime, build a pathway in the hall outside this room for families to walk across before they enter. Place an empty wading pool in the hallway. In the first third of the pool, pour fine sand to symbolize the desert Ruth passed through. For the second third, place a pile of rocks to symbolize the mountains Ruth passed over. And in the last third, place straw to symbolize the fields Ruth worked in.
Grain Fields Cover the room walls with light brown art paper. Then paint three of the walls to look like fields of wheat. Include a few people in the fields. On the fourth wall, paint the inside of a barn with a table and chairs, blankets on the floor, and bundled sheaves of wheat. Hang cloud-printed gossamer background material (800-348-5084; www.stumpsprom.com) on the ceiling, allowing it to droop a bit in some areas. Scatter straw on the floor. Any antique farm equipment and bundled sheaves of wheat would add to the decor. Real wheat is available from (785) 852-4766 or www.farm-craft-supplies.com.
Bread and Honey Have a couple of bread machines baking bread in the room even before people arrive. The bread aroma will help children understand what Ruth’s gleaned grain was used for. Serve warm bread with butter and honey.
Gleaning Race Fill a wading pool with straw and unshelled peanuts (¾ straw and ¼ peanuts). Have as many people as possible kneel around the pool and race to see who can glean the most peanuts in two minutes. Once a race is over, place the peanuts back in the pool, and play the game with a different set of people.
Not-So-Mellow Drama Create a “crazy clothesline” by stringing a clothesline or rope across your barn wall. Hang clothes for Ruth, Naomi, Boaz, and a field worker. Provide the hats or jewelry these people would’ve worn. Have your storyteller choose someone from the audience to be your actor in the story. Then present “The Adventures of Ruth” melodrama about the book of Ruth. Each time a character’s part is read, the actor must stand behind the appropriate outfit and pantomime the story. Read quickly to ensure lots of laughs with this style of storytelling.
In the Picture Use an instant-print camera to take a photo of each family standing behind the clothes on the clothesline. This will serve as a nice reminder of the experience and the Bible story.
The Adventures of Ruth Read this melodrama quickly and humorously as your actor pantomimes each part behind the appropriate costume. Allow enough time for your actor to get in place for each line.
Ruth: Oh my! What am I going to do! My husband has died!
Naomi: What are you talking about, girl? My husband and both my sons have died!
Ruth: Woe is us!
Naomi: Woe is me! I must leave this bitter land!
Ruth: Wait! You can’t go without me! Wherever you go, I will go!
Naomi: No, you stay here. You’ll never find a new husband hanging around with an old woman like me.
Ruth: No! I won’t leave you! Where you live, I want to live. Your people will be my people! And your God will be my God!
Naomi: Okay, then let’s get going!
Narrator: They walked and walked and walked. Ruth walked…and Naomi walked…and then Ruth walked again…And then they finally came to Bethlehem.
Ruth: If we’re going to have anything to eat, I need to go to work in the fields. See you later, Naomi!
Fieldworker: (Sings to the tune of “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush”) This is the way we glean the grain, glean the grain, glean the grain. This is the way we glean the grain so early in the morning.
Ruth: Hey, whatcha doing?
Fieldworker: Gleaning grain.
Ruth: Can I just pick up the grains you leave behind?
Fieldworker: No way! We could get in trouble!
Narrator: But along came Boaz, the owner of the field, and he saw Ruth.
Boaz: Who’s the woman hanging around the barn?
Narrator: So the fieldworker told Boaz what Ruth wanted.
Boaz: Let her have anything she wants!
Narrator: So Ruth worked hard every day and gathered food for Naomi and herself. Before you know it, Boaz wanted Ruth to have more than just the leftovers.
Boaz: Ruth, will you marry me?
Ruth: Yes, yes, yes!
Narrator: And they lived happily ever after!
• Hang a timeline of Ruth’s life.
• Feature pictures of artifacts from Ruth’s life.