St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 10th February 2022
Led by Rev Craig Meek
Welcome everyone to online worship with St. Giles’ Cathedral. My name is Craig Meek; I’m one of the Assistant Ministers at St. Giles’ and I’m delighted that you’ve joined me today for a few moments of reflection and prayer together. As we begin today, I want to invite you to just take a moment, pause your mind if you can, and open your heart, as we listen together for a word from our Lord. Let us pray.
Set us free, Oh Lord, in these moments, from the bondage of our sin and the many evils that threaten our lives in this strange world. Grant that we, your people here today, illumined by your Word, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory and better embrace that abundant life that you so desire for us to make our own. In the name of Christ Jesus, amen.
Our Scripture lesson today is taken from Psalm 1. Friends, hear the word of the Lord, as the Psalmist writes.
Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
Over the years, I’ve really come to appreciate more and more this metaphor in scripture about the ‘two ways.’ Every time I come across it, I can’t help but think about the wonderful passage in the book of Deuteronomy where God seems to first put before God’s people a choice of either Life or Death – a choice of either following in the ways of the Lord or chasing after their own desires in search of some kind of power, security, and peace.
For a while, I always thought of that story as a sort of ultimatum; God’s giving God’s people a kind of existential dilemma. But of late, I’ve started to appreciate more and more that it may be story where God gracefully places before a particular people an opportunity to lean into that abundant life that God so desperately wants for them – an abundant life that God so desperately wants for us, really. Perhaps this metaphor of the ‘two ways’ is really less of an arbitrary choice that an indifferent and detached deity up I the sky places before a random people in history, and may its more of a demonstration of God’s loving kindness in desiring to love a people who have yet to learn how to love God back.
In any event, our reading to places before us once again that metaphor: Happy are those who do not follow in the ways of the wicked but delight the law of the Lord, says that Psalmist. Happy are they who learn how to meditate day and night on the law of the Lord – who have somehow allowed God’s ways to shape their lives so thoroughly that they know something of that abundant life that God desires for them and those lucky enough to be around them. Those people know peace; those people are rooted in something greater than themselves. Those people know that God’s love can really conquer all things … even our own hearts … if only we would only let it.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Holy and Almighty God, the Living One who loves without question and desires more for us that we could ever desire for ourselves, teach us again those peaceful rhythms of grace that direct our lives towards streams of mercy, and secure us as branches on the sturdy vine of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we might be more loving – more graceful – and more life-giving to all in days ahead. Make us faithful, Lord; watch over us and over those whom we love, and let our lives be a blessing to others as we go about our ways. For these things we ask in the name of Christ Jesus, who taught his friends to say together:
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is heaven. Given us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever. Amen.
Friends, I hope that this brief devotion has been an encouragement to your today, and that you’ll join us again another time. Until then, may the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace, both this day and for evermore. Amen.
J.S.Bach Wir glauben all’ and einen Gott BWV 1098