Midweek Devotion 22/7/21

St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

Midweek Devotion 22nd July 2021

Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod

My soul magnifies the Lord, 
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour
Luke 1: 46/7

Let us worship God.

The lesson is written in the gospel ofMatthew 19: 23-30

Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’

Then Peter said in reply, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.

Reflection

Church of Scotland minister Leith Fisher calls the episode of Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man, and his subsequent pronouncement about camels and needles, an “’Ouch’ story.” It is supposed to engender a reaction of shock and pain from us as Jesus baldly deflates the hopes of rich people having a place in the kingdom with the hyperbolic metaphor of a laden camel trying to squeeze through the eye of the needle.

We see the ‘Ouch’ reaction among the disciples (“they were greatly astounded”) and feel that reaction ourselves as readers of the story. Indeed our ‘Ouch’ may be felt more deeply for, as dwellers in the affluent west in the 21st century, so many of us fall into the category of ‘rich’ in relation to the majority of the world’s population.

Is it hopeless, then? Of course not. Jesus himself reminds the disciples (and us) that “for God all things are possible.” This goes to the very heart of our faith that being in right relationship with God (or to be saved) is not about our actions – how good we are or how religious we seem to be – but is rooted in God’s action of love towards humanity. That is a love which calls us to be transformed in our relationships such that nothing – riches, power, position – can come between us and our journey with Jesus.

Prayer

Let us pray.

God whose love endures,
May we hear the words of your Son
That echo down the ages:
I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is generous,
You gift to us your Holy Spirit,
The very giver of Life.
Renew our lives and the life of the community in which we share.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is steadfast,
You know us as we are for you have made us.
In your compassion, be with all who struggle and grieve at this time.
Remember them and hold them safe in your keeping.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

God whose love is from everlasting to everlasting,
Give strength to the weary and power to the weak,
That we might renew our strength
And soar on wings like eagles.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

O Lord hear our prayers for ourselves and others as we join together in 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.

The Benediction

Go in peace and 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.

(Amen)

Organ Music

François Couperin Cromhorne sur le taille