St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 2nd July 2020
Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13
Let us worship God.
The lesson is written in the Book of Psalms. Psalm 74 vv 10 – 16
10How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
11Why do you hold back your hand; why do you keep your hand in your bosom?
12Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the earth.
13You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.
14You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
15You cut openings for springs and torrents; you dried up ever-flowing streams.
16Yours is the day, yours also the night; you established the luminaries and the sun.
How long, O God?
It seems like an apt question as we mark 100 days of ‘lockdown’ in Scotland due to the coronavirus spread.
How long, O God?
It is the cry of the downtrodden and the oppressed throughout the too often bloody history of the human race.
It is to be heard in the pages of the bible, in the arenas of Roman torture of Christians, in the Viking ravaged communities of dark ages Scotland, in the song of the enslaved African; on through the death camps of Stalin and the gas chambers of Hitler – yes, even today in the parts of our world where power seeks to wield its authority over people it deems expendable or a nuisance because of ethnicity or social status.
The presence of the cry here is a part of the deep sense of the human condition that is inherent in the Psalms and that keeps these ancient writings immediate to our life experience. For the cry, How long? is not heard only in the headline making acts of terror and horror
throughout the historical record, but in the heart of anyone who has watched a loved one experience long term illness or agonized as a friend slowly, inexorably descends into the depths of addiction.
We do not necessarily know who the enemies are who have caused the terrible destruction the psalmist laments, but even in the midst of this darkest of the Psalms is the lamp of faith, and trust that even in long suffering there is hope of God’s redemption :
Yet God my King is from of old
working salvation in the earth.
Let us pray
My Christ, my shield, my encircler,
each day, each night, each light, each dark,
be near me, uphold me, my treasure, my triumph.
We pray for our nation and our world,
giving thanks for good health where we have it
and asking for strength and protection
where we do not.
Continue to guide our leaders, Lord,
locally, nationally, internationally,
that they would make wise decisions
benefitting the world and its people.
Give wisdom to the scientists and researchers;
courage and fortitude to health care workers;
strength and safety to essential workers
who keep food supply lines open
and who staff our supermarkets.
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.
Mendelssohn Andante (Sonata Op 65 No 6)