St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 24th March 2022
Led by Rev Douglas A O Nicol
‘O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise.’ (Psalm 95: 1-2)
Let us worship God.
Our lectionary reading for today comes from the Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 11, verses 14 to 23:
Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, ‘He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.’ Others, to test him, demanding from him a sign from heaven. But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? – for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. Now if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armour in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
During His ministry on earth, there were those who saw Jesus as the devil’s agent, despite the transparent goodness of his work. If they had been right, Satan would be set on a suicide course – as indeed are all who, like the Pharisees of old, call good evil. Jesus words were plain: ‘Whoever is not with me is against me’.
In our Midweek Devotion today I invite you to reflect on all the good work being undertaken around the world in Jesus’ Name … for organisations such as Christian Aid meeting human need around the world, and ones such Crossreach – offering care in Jesus’ Name throughout Scotland.
Let’s reflect too on what more we might do individually to offer Christian care … in our neighbourhood, in our country, in the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine – is there a donation we’ve always meant to make, or a card we’ve meant to send, or a kind action we’ve meant to perform? Let’s delay no further … and do it today – in Jesus’ Name!
May the words of hymnwriter, Charles Wesley, be our inspiration:
Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go,
my daily labour to pursue,
thee, only thee, resolved to know
in all I think, or speak, or do.
The task thy wisdom hath assigned
oh, let me cheerfully fulfil,
in all my works thy presence find,
and prove thy good and perfect will.
Thee may I set at my right hand,
whose eyes my utmost substance see,
and labour on at thy command,
and offer all my works to thee.
Give me to bear thy easy yoke,
and every moment watch and pray,
and still to things eternal look,
and hasten to thy glorious day;
For thee delightfully employ
whate’er thy bounteous grace has given,
and run my course with even joy,
and closely walk with thee to heaven.
Let us pray:
To you, merciful God,
we commend ourselves
and all who need your help.
Where there is hatred, give love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is sadness, joy;
where there is darkness, light.
Grant that we may not seek so much to be consoled as to console.
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
For in giving we receive,
in pardoning we are pardoned,
in dying we are born to eternal life.
We pray today for the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine:
- for all working for peace through diplomacy
- for all seeking bravely to defend their homeland
- for the injured and bereaved
- for all seeking to bring aid to the country
- for those who commit the violence, especially young soldiers drawn into a conflict that they do not fully understand
We ask all our prayers in Jesus’ Name.
Now we pray for those for whom we have a special concern,
whose names and places are in our hearts and minds,
may they know your peace and love,
and spend their years in fulfilment and hope,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
The guarding of the God of life be on you,
the guarding of the loving Christ be on you,
the guarding of the Holy Spirit be on you to aid you
and enfold you each day and night of your lives.
Joseph Jongen Petit Prélude