To show that God is pleased when we are good friends.
You will need:
- A selection of methods of sticking things together, eg Blu-tack, staples, sticky tape, superglue
- Some small pieces of paper, card, material, wool to stick together.
- Two sticks and strips of card
- 5 paper plates for ‘plate head’ puppets
- Make two signposts (strips of card stuck to a stick), one saying ‘Bethlehem’, the other ‘Moab’.
- Make ‘plate head’ puppets to represent Naomi, Orpah, Ruth, Boaz and Obed. Draw faces on paper plates with marker pens and add material, wool for hair, beards etc.
- Read through the story outline below to familiarise yourself with it.
- Talk to the children about different ways of sticking things together. Demonstrate a few using the methods you have brought. Allow the children time to make suggestions themselves.
- Finish with the superglue method emphasising how difficult it is to separate the pieces of card stuck together with this. Tell the children that some people are such good friends that they ‘stick together’ whatever happens. Today they will hear about a woman in the Bible who stuck with her friend even when things were difficult.
You could invite children out to hold up the different puppets and signposts as you tell the story.
Introduce the children to your Naomi puppet and show them your ‘Bethlehem’ signpost. Tell the story:
Naomi lived in the town of Bethlehem with her husband Elimelech and her two sons. Things were looking bad for the family, as the fields in Bethlehem were dry and dusty, there was no food left to eat and everyone was hungry. Elimelech decided it was time to leave and move to a place where there was food. So all the family went on a very long journey to the country of Moab and settled there.
(Show ‘Moab’ signpost.)
The two sons grew up and married two girls from Moab, called Ruth and Orpah.
(Introduce your Ruth and Orpah puppets.)
Sadly, Elimelech died and then about ten years later Naomi’s two sons died, leaving her all alone. Naomi had heard that there was now food in Bethlehem, so she decided she would go back home.
(Hold up ‘Bethlehem’ signpost.)
Ruth and Orpah couldn’t leave Naomi to make the long journey on her own so they decided to go with her. As they travelled along, Naomi tried very hard to tell Ruth and Orpah to go back and eventually Orpah kissed Naomi goodbye and went back to Moab.
(Hold up ‘Moab’ signpost.)
But Ruth just wouldn’t leave Naomi so they travelled on together. When they reached Bethlehem it was harvest time and the farmers were beginning to bring in the crops. Naomi’s old friends were so pleased to see her, but Naomi was sad – her husband and sons were dead.
Naomi and Ruth were very poor. Ruth would go out into the fields each day and pick up any leftover pieces of corn. Ruth didn’t know that she was working in a field which belonged to a rich relative of Naomi’s. His name was Boaz.
(Show your Boaz puppet.)
Boaz found out that Ruth was a foreigner and was very kind to her. Boaz married Ruth and they had a beautiful baby son called Obed.
(Hold up Obed puppet and then Bethlehem sign.)
Ruth who had been such a good friend to Naomi was the happiest woman in Bethlehem!
- Ask the children why they think Ruth stuck with Naomi.
- Talk about how hard it must have been for her in a strange land, far away from the people she knew.
- Make the point that being a good friend isn’t always easy – sometimes it will be difficult to keep on being friends. God is happy when we are good friends.
Thank you, God, for friends. Help us to be good friends who stick with each other whatever happens. Amen.