Midweek Devotion 17/2/22

St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

Midweek Devotion 17th February 2022

Led by Rev Sigrid Marten

Welcome to our Midweek Devotion from St. Giles, the High Kirk of Edinburgh, on the 17th of February. This is a moment when we can extract ourselves from our daily living, and be still and know that we are in the presence of the living God, surrounded by God’s love in Jesus Christ, and upheld by God’s Spirit.

“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it.” (Psalm 96:11&12)

Our reading today is from Psalm 104, starting at verse 24 (to 34).

Reflection

I was having ‘one of those days’ last Saturday: I was trying to set up a new printer and to get it to cooperate with my computer because I needed to print something for worship on Sunday. So, there was a certain sense of urgency to the task. The instruction leaflet made it all sound so easy, but even though I was using all the tricks I could think of, installed and un-installed, phoned a friend, contacted the computer helpline, still the two machines were not communicating. After several hours of heightened stress levels and exasperation I found a temporary solution, but the problem was still not solved. By that time it was late afternoon and I was exhausted. So I decided I needed to walk away from it all and get some fresh air.

At first I just marched along the paths to work off some of the stress and frustration, hardly noticing anything or anybody on the way. But, as always, eventually I started noticing the world around me again. I could breathe more freely, and I slowed down to marvel at the catkins that are already well in bloom. I noticed the snowdrops and the first daffodils and the buds on the trees which offer hope of warmer and brighter days, and I listened to the birdsong around me.

And just as I reached a path along the Water of Leith I saw an electric blue light flash past me along the river and settle on a branch down near the edge of the water. And then it came back again my way: a kingfisher looking for the best place to perch. I haven’t often had the good fortune to spot a kingfisher. But when I do, it always feels like a real gift, a glimpse of something other-worldly, a flash of heavenly brightness breaking through from another place and transforming the ordinariness of my day into something breathtakingly beautiful. It is one way I am taken to that place where I can sense the beauty of God’s creation, the sanctity of it, and my place in it. This is when gratitude floods in, and joy. It is also when a sense of perspective can come back to me at those times when I am feeling exasperated or dejected or just plain sad.

So, on that day, I came home with a skip in my step and a real sense of having been blessed with the gift of a reminder that God is good, that life is good, that we are part of God’s good creation.

I was reminded of words from the 14th century mystic Meister Eckhart:

“Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things. Every single creature is full of God and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God.
If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature – even a caterpillar – I would never have to prepare a sermon. So full of God is every creature.”

Amen to that!

Prayer

In words from a modern psalm by Joy Cowley from New Zealand we pray:

“You big, bright, beautiful God, this is my day for flying! I reach out to the bigness of you. I touch the brightness of you and I feel the beauty of you in the centre of my living. Today you bear me up, up, past my doubts about both of us, to the certainty of your love… And if tomorrow I am grounded by a weight of anxieties, if my feet are heavy and there are clouds between me and the sun, then let me keep hold of the warm place in my heart, reminding me that today I flew and was kissed by God.”

Loving God, we pray for each other today, especially for those of us for whom life is tough: for people who are in pain, for those who live with loss, for all who don’t have what they need for living well, for our sisters and brothers whose lives are in danger, for all who can’t see light at the end of the tunnel. May they know your presence in their lives. We ask this in Jesus’ name who taught us to pray together:

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, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.

Blessing

Now may God who brought us into the joyous light of this new day bring us to the guiding light of eternity. The blessing of the God of life be ours, the blessing of the loving Christ be ours, the blessing of the Holy Spirit be ours, to cherish us, to help us, to make us holy. Amen

Organ music

Louis-Nicolas Clérambault Flütes (Suite du 2eme ton)