Midweek Devotion 17/6/21

St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

Midweek Devotion 17th June 2021

Led by Rev Douglas Nicol

The Psalmist wrote: ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who practise it have a good understanding. His praise endures for ever.’ (Psalm 111:10)

Let us worship God.

Scripture Reading

The Gospel according to St. Luke 14: 1-11

On one occasion when Jesus was going into the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely. Just then, in front of him, there was a man who had dropsy. And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, ‘Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?’ But they were silent. So Jesus took him and healed him, and sent him away. Then he said to them, ‘If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a sabbath day?’ And they could not reply to this.

When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. ‘When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, “Give this person your place”, and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, “Friend, move up higher”, then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’

Reflection

‘In Jesus the service of God and the service of the least of the brethren were one’ – the words of the theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

These powerful words offer a reflection on our Gospel reading today – one in which we found Jesus challenging the rules of the Pharisees by healing on the Sabbath, and by reminding us through the parable that we should not be pushing ourselves forward but accepting the place we are given. Be assured however that it is not a false sense of modesty that Jesus is advising – rather He is advocating that we possess a genuinely humble spirit.

Our Midweek Devotion this week falls during ‘Refugee Week’ with the theme: ‘We cannot walk alone’. Throughout this week we are invited to undertake ‘simple acts’ to stand with refugees by making connections in our communities … maybe through our reading, maybe through our giving, maybe through practical engagement in supporting refugees seeking a new life in our country. To hear the stories of refugees our eyes can be opened to the challenges they have had to face, and in humility we can recognise their commitment in doing the best for their loved ones.

Let us then in humility discover the true sense of Sydney Carter’s memorable words:

When I needed a neighbour, were you there, were you there?
When I needed a neighbour were you there?
And the creed and the colour and the name won’t matter, were you there?

When I needed a healer, were you there, were you there?
When I needed a healer, were you there?
And the creed and the colour and the name won’t matter, were you there?

Prayer

Let us pray:

Teach us, good Lord,
to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek for rest;
to labour and not to ask for any reward
save that of knowing that we do your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God of faithfulness,
your generous love supplies us
with the fruits of the earth in their season.
Give us grace to be thankful for your gifts,
to use them wisely,
and to share our plenty with others;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We commend to your generous goodness
all those who are in any way
afflicted and distressed,
especially at this time by Coronavirus.
Comfort and relieve them
according to their individual needs;
give them patience under their sufferings,
and a happy release out of all their afflictions.
all this we ask for the sake of Jesus Christ.

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.

Benediction

The guarding of the God of life be on you,
the guarding of the loving Christ be on you,
the guarding of the Holy Spirit be on you
to aid you and enfold you
each day and night of your lives.
Amen.

Organ Music

Felix Mendelssohn Andante con moto (Sonata V)