Midweek Devotion 11/2/21

St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 11th February 2021
Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod

Let us worship God.

The lesson is written in the Gospel of Matthew in the 19th chapter

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 26But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’

27 Then Peter said in reply, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?’ 28Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.
 

The word of the Lord; thanks be to God

Reflection

Church of Scotland minister Leith Fisher calls the episode of Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man, and his subsequent pronouncement about camels and needles, an “’Ouch’ story.” It is supposed to engender a reaction of shock and pain from us as Jesus baldly deflates the hopes of rich people having a place in the kingdom with the hyperbolic metaphor of a laden camel trying to squeeze through the eye of the needle.

We see the ‘Ouch’ reaction among the disciples (“they were greatly astounded”) and feel that reaction ourselves as readers of the story. Indeed our ‘Ouch’ may be felt more deeply for, as dwellers in the affluent west in the 21st century, so many of us fall into the category of ‘rich’ in relation to the majority of the world’s population.

Is it hopeless, then? Of course not. Jesus himself reminds the disciples (and us) that “for God all things are possible.” This goes to the very heart of our faith that being in right relationship with God (or to be saved) is not about our actions – how good we are or how religious we seem to be – but is rooted in God’s action of love towards humanity. That is a love which calls us to be transformed in our relationships such that nothing – riches, power, position – can come between us and our journey with Jesus.
 

Prayer

Lord, we come to you as we are
For we can come no other way.
We come acknowledging the burdens we carry
And trusting in your promise of rest.

Lord, we come to you
In the sure knowledge that we are not alone.
We come in the company
Of all who know the challenge of these days.

Lord, we come to you
Acknowledging that you have already come to us.
We journey to the place where you are to be found
And rediscover that you have always been with us.

Lord, we come to you
Through the One who is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
May he hold our lives safe
As we embrace the future and the promise of his rest.

O Lord hear our prayers for ourselves and others as we join together in the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father,
which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive 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,
the power and the glory
for ever and ever, Amen.

The Benediction
 

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.

(Amen)

Organ Music
Louis Vierne Prélude (Pièces en style libre)