St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 16th June 2022
Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod
Blessed be the name of the Lord, from this time on and forevermore.
Psalm 113: 2
Let us worship God
The Lesson is Acts 10: 25–33
25On Peter’s arrival Cornelius met him, and falling at his feet, worshiped him. 26But Peter made him get up, saying, “Stand up; I am only a mortal.” 27And as he talked with him, he went in and found that many had assembled; 28and he said to them, “You yourselves know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean. 29So when I was sent for, I came without objection. Now may I ask why you sent for me?” 30Cornelius replied, “Four days ago at this very hour, at three o’clock, I was praying in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling clothes stood before me. 31He said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. 32Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon, who is called Peter; he is staying in the home of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33Therefore I sent for you immediately, and you have been kind enough to come. So now all of us are here in the presence of God to listen to all that the Lord has commanded you to say.”
The radical nature of the early church as it is described in the Acts of the Apostles is one of the hidden gems of the Bible. From mystical experiences like the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to the commitment of the early believers to communal living and sharing of possessions, there is a radical break with the cultural norms and mores of the wider society.
This shift is seen powerfully in the exchange between Peter and Cornelius, the Roman centurion who is described as ‘a devout man who feared God.’ Cornelius is, of course, a Gentile (non-Jew) and the encounter here explodes the ancient barriers separating Jew from Gentile.
Peter readily admits that in coming to meet Cornelius he is doing something that is ‘unlawful’ but in the new post-resurrection world such barriers have no place for Peter as he seeks to spread the good news of the risen Christ.
“God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.” is Peter’s claim.
What a good word for our world in which different religions too often clash employing rhetoric of judgment and exclusion. Pray God that we would follow in Peter’s footsteps in our encounters with people of other faiths.
Lead us, O God, in a way of patience and understanding, that we would reflect your love for all of your children.
Living God, you demonstrate your love for us
Through our Lord Jesus Christ.
When we are powerless,
Stand with us in our weakness.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Living God, you demonstrate your love for the world
Through the self-giving of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We remember those who are powerless in our world
And stand with them in their weakness.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
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, 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, 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.
Dieterich Buxtehude Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott