St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 13th January 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, we take a just a brief moment to pause and gather our thoughts, as we prepare ourselves to listen for a word from our Lord.
Together, we gather our hearts and minds in the following Collective Prayer: Holy and Almighty God, our heavenly Father and the one who has brought us to yet another day: May your power and love permeate our lives at all times and evermore. Grant that we would neither fall into sin nor be confronted by danger in the coming days and hours but rather find peace in your loving kindness and nearness. Make us faithful, Lord, even if only through Jesus Christ your Son. Amen
Our Scripture lesson today is taken from Psalm 36. Friends, hear the word of the Lord, as the Psalmist writes.
5 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your judgements are like the great deep;
you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.
7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
10 O continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your salvation to the upright of heart!
The Christian faith is a peculiar spectacle. Everything about it is tied to the person of Jesus Christ and God revealed in and through him, a person who belongs to the records of history and yet somehow also transcends these records in order to touch the lives of individuals in every time and place. The Christian faith is a gift; a way of being; an orientation of life. It is predicated entirely upon God’s reaching down into the depths of one’s life and speaking a word of peace and mercy – even if sometimes that word ends up being a bit less comfortable than we might have imagined. The Christian faith is impervious to neither struggle nor conflict, and yet is something which tends to make these sorts of things just a bit more bearable as we go about our days. It’ll deeply reshape your life, how you understand yourself and envision the world, if you let it. But it’s not always easy to trust – much the opposite, in fact. For in order to grasp the depths of abundant life amidst all life’s tragedy, one has to learn how to trust in what they cannot see and believe in a God whom they hope is real but may never really be sure. It’s a strange thing, this Christian faith; a strange and beautiful gift that sometimes feels like its holding onto us rather the other way round.
In our reading today, the Psalmist offers us a few words that celebrate this strange and wonderful gift that we call the Christian faith. ‘You’re love, Oh Lord, extends to the heavens and your faithfulness to the clouds’, the text says. There are no caveats here; no qualifiers to limit God’s love and faithfulness to life’s more pleasant moments. No – the Psalmist’s words just give thanks for all that the living God is and does. For the Living God is our refuge; and in God’s house, we find strength for our lives – no matter what the day or week may hold. The Christian faith is a strange thing, indeed; a strange and beautiful gift that – again – often feels like its holding onto us rather than the other way around. May we learn to be grateful for such a wondrous gift in the days ahead, friends, offering our lives in gratitude to the Living One whose love is indeed a precious gift, and never in short supply.
Holy and Almighty God, the Psalmist tells us of your steadfast love and faithfulness; that you give yourself freely and mercifully to those who deserve neither your kindness nor grace. And so, teach us, Lord, to love those things that you love; to care for the things about which you care; and to open ourselves up just a little more to the strangeness of all that is the Christian faith. Teach us, Lord, to be faithful in both word and deed – and forgive us in those moments when we fall short of all that you desire and wish for us to do and be. May your mercy never fail; and may your loving kindness never grow tired, Lord, that we might be able to somehow grasp something of that grace by which we live and give thanks for it with our lives. In the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
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.
Maurice Duruflé Prélude sur l’introït de l’Epiphanie