St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 22nd October 2020
Led by Rev Douglas A O Nicol
Jesus said: ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’ (St. John 14: 23)
Let us worship God.
The Letter of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians 3: 14-21:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
The French philosopher and priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once wrote: ‘Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in history, we will have discovered fire’.
Writing from prison centuries before the Apostle Paul reminded the young church at Ephesus of the power of God’s love. Earlier in his epistle, Paul had prayed that Christians from both Gentile and Jewish traditions might have understanding, but now he prays more urgently:
- that they may have love
- that they may be strong
- that Christ may make his home in their hearts
- and that God may fill them completely.
As the passage closes Paul reminds us that God can do all this and even more!
We live today in the most challenging of times:
- as Coronavirus continues to bring ill health and death around the world
- as travel to other lands to see loved ones has become impossible
- as ever-changing restrictions in our own country make what we would call normal life increasingly difficult
- as families face being separated from their relatives in hospitals and care homes
- and as many individuals – some who will be known to us – find the worry and the stress of it all too much to bear.
During our midweek devotion today we are invited to see that focussing on the wonder and generosity of God’s love can give us both strength in difficult times and hope for the future. To use the analogy of the French priest, God’s love can bring comfort and companionship like that of living flames.
Such has been the experience of followers of Jesus across the centuries!
One was the Scottish hymn writer, George Mathieson, who challenged with both the loss of sight and spurned romance, was moved to write:
O love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee:
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.
May these words complement those of the Apostle Paul in giving us peace of mind today and hope for the future!
Let us pray:
God of all goodness and grace,
you are worthy of a greater love
than we can either give or understand.
Fill our hearts with such love for you,
that nothing may seem too hard for us
to do or to suffer
in obedience to your will.
And grant that, loving you,
we may daily become more like you,
and finally obtain the crown of life
which you promised
to those who love you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
we pray for all who are ill,
especially those suffering with Coronavirus
ease their pain and breathing, calm their restlessness;
give them such trust in you
that they may know
they are always in your keeping.
Bless all who care for them:
give them such trust in you
that they may win new strength;
and may their love and tireless patience
bring your grace and comfort
to those who suffer.
Remember the nations of the world
at this time of pandemic.
Bring to an end all war and strife;
break down the barriers of race and creed,
that we may all live
as members of one family of God.
We commend ourselves to your keeping.
Grant that our hearts may find
their peace and rest in you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,
be glory, for ever and ever.
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,
May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to himself;
may the power of the Lord Jesus
strengthen us in his service;
may the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our souls;
and may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with you and abide with you always.
Joseph Jongen Petit Prélude