St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 23rd June 2022
Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Psalm 51: 10
Let us worship God
The lesson is Hebrews 7: 1-3
This “King Melchizedek of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him”; 2and to him Abraham apportioned “one-tenth of everything.” His name, in the first place, means “king of righteousness”; next he is also king of Salem, that is, “king of peace.” 3Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews reaches deep into the sacred Jewish scriptures to construct interpretations of the nature of Jesus. The nature of priesthood in the Judaism of that time was that it was inherited through the branch of the family of Levi. Jesus was not of this family yet the writer finds in Genesis the story of Melchizedek, one known as a high priest but not of the Levite branch. Jesus, the writer says, is of such a situation – priest but not Levite.
The argument may seem complex but it lifts up the New Testament understanding of Jesus’ three functions; Prophet, Priest and King.
When we read this in the light of another ‘priesthood passage’ 1 Peter 2 we hear the proclamation to the church that “you are a royal priesthood, God’s own people.”
It is from such passages that the Reformers developed the concept that the church did not need individuals set apart as ‘priests’ to intercede with God and preside at the ‘sacrifice of the mass.’
Rather they spoke of the priesthood of all believers – what we might call today, the ministry of all of God’s people.
Not by birth family or by special training are we called to be servants of God and each other, but by our baptism, as God claims us for God’s own.
We give you thanks, O God, that by our baptism into Christ, once we were no people but now we are God’s people. Amen.
We pray for the church throughout the world, that it would be the bright lamp of faith, true to your calling as God’s own people.
For the world we pray, a world struggling in the face of economic recession and acts of war. Bring hope to those affected and wisdom to those who seek peace.
Hear our prayers for peace between peoples, and for the promotion of tolerance, justice and equality in our world.
For ourselves we pray, in all our celebrations and disappointments.
Grant your hand of healing on the sick, your embrace of presence to the dying, the promise of victory to those who have gone before us in the faith, and with whom we pray we will be reunited in the fullness of your eternal light.
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.
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.
William Russell Voluntary VII in A