St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 1st July 2021
Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod
Let us worship God
The lesson is Psalm 13
1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4 and my enemy will say, ‘I have prevailed’;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
I have on my bookshelf a slim volume which consists of some 25 psalms which have been translated, paraphrased and set to different styles for use in worship, including folk tunes, antiphonal settings and chants.
The title of the collection is one I find helpful in thinking about the place of psalms in our worship. It is entitled Psalms of Patience, Protest and Praise.
Psalm 13 strikes me as one psalm which combines all three of these responses to God in one poem. I believe that this is one reason why the psalms continue to play such an important role in our worship and devotional life (remember that we read a psalm every Sunday at church.)
Our relationship with God is not static, not simplistic, not a linear progression. It is complex, paradoxical, dynamic. In any given situation we may feel more than one particular emotion and these emotions may indeed seem contradictory; which is precisely what we encounter in our psalm for today.
Here is a poet whose faith is such that the poem is part of our holy scripture, yet the emotions expressed are at the same time protest – “How long, O Lord?;” patience – “my heart shall rejoice;” and praise – “I will sing to the Lord.”
Let us pray.
in whom we live and move and have our being,
in you we live
for you are around us, beside us, within us;
in you we move
because you create all things new,
ever challenging and stirring us to leave our old selves behind;
in you we have our being,
for you are the ground of all being,
and your breath, your Spirit,
is what animates our lives and our love.
Praise to you O God, Creator, Redeemer, Companion.
And in you O God, the world lives and moves and has being,
through your Son Jesus Christ,
who gave of his own self
that the world might know healing
from the fracture and brokenness which humanity creates.
Draw near O Healer, and bind up the wounds of those who hurt.
O Lord hear our prayers for ourselves and others as we join together in the Lord’s Prayer:
which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever,
Be of good courage, render no-one evil for evil,
but hold fast to the good; honour all of God’s people,
and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the Communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you
and all whom you love
this day and for ever.
Louis-Nicolas Clérambault Flûtes (Suite du 2ème Ton)