St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 16th September 2021
Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod
The Psalmist says: O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Psalm 8: 1
Let us worship God
The lesson is Psalm 46: 1-7
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah
4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
6The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
One of the great Reformation traditions, going right back to Calvin’s Geneva, which we still have, is the tradition of singing the pslams in metre (meaning that all 150 of the psalms are set out in stanzas with a common rhythm so that they may be sung to familiar tunes in that rhythm.)
There are a selection of these in our hymnal so whenever we sing The Lord’s My Shepherd to the tune Crimond or O God, Our Help in Ages Past to the tune St. Anne we are keeping alive that tradition.
For some people it is by this musical method that the psalms are known by heart rather than in their spoken form. This is true for me when it comes to Psalm 46 – I couldn’t recite the scripture text but I can sing the metrical version to the tune Stroudwater as I learnt it as a child:
God is our refuge and our strength,
In straits a present aid;
Therefore, although the earth remove,
We will not be afraid.
I think that the power of these metrical versions comes not only from the common rhythm but from the directness, clarity and economy of the language the paraphrasers had to use. There is something powerfully defiant and intensely faithful in saying (singing!)
Therefore although the earth remove
We will not be afraid.
And let that be our hopeful prayer for these days.
Let us pray.
God of love,
your Son brought healing to the sick
and hope to the despairing.
We lift up to you all who are suffering from illness
and those who are mourning the loss of one they loved.
Bless those who share with Christ
a healing ministry,
researchers, doctors, nurses, care home workers.
Use their sympathy and skill
for the relief of suffering,
the conquest of disease
and the restoration of health
in our land and in our world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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.
Louis-Nicolas Clérambault Flûtes