St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 15th April 2021
Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures for ever.
Let us worship God
The lesson is Colossians 2: 1-7
For I want you to know how much I am struggling for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face. 2I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4I am saying this so that no one may deceive you with plausible arguments. 5For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, and I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ.6As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
The word of the Lord; thanks be to God
Seeing and not seeing; revelation and hidenness – these are themes which arise throughout our scriptures. As God’s people have sought to articulate their encounter with the God who cannot be seen or represented or ‘imaged’, the paradox of seeing the invisible and revealing by hiding finds its way into many of the expressions of individual and community relationship with God. From the earliest books in the Old Testament – like God ‘appearing’ to Moses but ‘hiding’ in the burning bush (Exodus) – to the last book of the New Testament – an elusive, metaphor laden word picture named (ironically for us!) ‘Revelation’ – the struggle to understand the God who is wholly other takes us beyond human logic and rationality to a different kind of wisdom.
This comes up often in Paul’s writings and those attributed to him. Remember the familiar text from 1 Cor 13, ‘…now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.’
For Paul it is essentially simple – the mysteries and barriers surrounding this invisible God are offered and explained to us in Jesus “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (v. 3) As one commentator says: we are to be “assured that true wisdom and knowledge are ‘hidden’ in Christ and, therefore, are also paradoxically no longer hidden but revealed to all who believe in the gospel.”
In other words God is known to us as we follow Christ by loving God and our neighbour. As Jesus was to point out often, a child can grasp this.
God of grace and truth, the light of the minds that know you, life of the souls that love you and strength of the hearts that serve you; help us so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom. Amen.
Whose presence comforts and inspires,
Whose people of faith set us a shining example to follow
Whose love and mercy surround us to the end of our days
We offer now our gratitude for your servant
Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
For gifts of courage, duty and selfless service
Receive our thanks.
For concise speech and thought,
Receive our thanks.
For his passion for this diverse world,
And all its creatures,
We give you thanks.
For his unswerving commitment to country and Commonwealth,
We give you thanks.
As they prepare for the funeral we pray strength and fortitude for the Queen and the Royal Family.
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
on 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,
the power and the glory
for ever and ever, Amen.
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.
J.S.Bach Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten BWV 647