St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 17th September 2020
Led by Rev. Craig Meek
Welcome and Opening Sentences
Welcome to worship online with St. Giles’ Cathedral. Today is Thursday, the 17th of September, and my name is Craig Meek; I am the Assistant Minister here at the Cathedral and I’m delighted that you’ve joined us for this time of reflection together. The psalmist tells us that the word of the Lord is upright, and that all his work is done in faithfulness; that the Lord loves righteousness and justice, and that the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. Reminded again of the unchanging goodness of the Living God towards both ourselves and the world, we join together our hearts and minds for worship as we listen again for a word from the Lord.
A Reading from Luke 10:21-24
21 At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
23 Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’
‘Blessed are the eyes that see!’ – says Jesus. For not everyone is given the gift of seeing the Kingdom of God among them, and even those who are given the opportunity to see it sometimes have a hard time doing so. To be sure, Jesus has a bit more in mind here than merely seeing the ordinary and the mundane. What he has in mind is more of a seeing the ordinary and mundane as purposeful and beautiful; a world fit-for-purpose and directed towards divine ends in such a way as to demonstrate God’s loving kindness and goodness towards all of creation – us included.
In this way, the words of Jesus function metaphorically. The true blessing is not merely seeing, but also an understanding and participating in those strange rhythms of grace that permeate and preserve both creation and our lives, rhythms by which God shapes who we are and guides our paths forward. Like the disciples in the story within which our text falls today, we sometimes stumble through life without paying much attention to what God is up to. And as I’ve said many times before – when we fail to pay attention to what God is up to, it becomes awfully difficult for us to see the ways in which God’s is inviting us to join in the mischief of the redemption that characterizes God’s Kingdom.
It seems to me, then, that today’s text has both an exciting and a challenging word for us. The exciting word is that God refuses to give up on the world and its people. For though we may find ourselves easily dismayed at any number of the injustices or difficulties observed in the world today, our text reminds us that God isn’t a quitter; that divine love wins and will win, even when our world bids us to believe otherwise. However, the challenging word in our text is that this divine love invites us into the mischief of redemption. It bids us to see our lives as a useful tool in the handiwork of God – a tool that blesses those who have been cursed, or perhaps seen as a curse, and brings life to those whose lives have been oppressed or taken away from them. For the world needs more followers of Jesus who not only see, but who see and join in the mischief of redemption. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Together in Prayer
Holy and Almighty God, the great lover of humankind and the created world, hear the prayers of your people today as we seek again justice for the oppressed and peace for those who are troubled. For those on the margins of our societies – the refugee, the migrant, and the asylum seeker; for people of color and anyone subjected to unfair laws and systemic oppression; for anyone without a safety net or community to encourage and support them – for these do we make our prayer today. Reminded of the privileges that many of us enjoy, burden our conscience and soften our hearts for others so that our lives would be a little more open to serving and supporting better our neighbors in the days coming ahead.
So too, hear our prayers for those whom we love and about whom we deeply care. Give our friends and family members peace and keep them safe from harm as they go about their daily lives. Bless and encourage them, lift up those who are facing difficult times, and draw near to those who need to know more intimately your presence. Lord God, have mercy on your people everywhere, we pray, and hear us now as we continue together, saying that which Jesus taught his friends to say:
Our Father, who 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. 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.
Friends, I hope that you’ve enjoyed this devotion and that you’ll join us again another time. Until then, may the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace, both this day and for evermore. Amen.
François Couperin Chromhorne sur la taille (Gloria, Messe pour les couvents)