Midweek Devotion 25/11/21

St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

Midweek Devotion 25th November 2021

Led by Rev Craig Meek

Welcome

Welcome everyone to online worship with St. Giles’ Cathedral – and to my friends in the United States: Happy Turkey-day. My name is Craig Meek, I’m one of the Assistant Ministers at St. Giles’, and I’m delight that you’ve joined me today for a few moments of reflection and prayer together. Wherever you are; whatever you might be doing, may you know well the peace of Jesus Christ and the love of God, as we listen together for a word from our Lord.

Scripture

Our Scripture lesson today is written in Psalm 136 – Friends, hear the word of the Word.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever.
O give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who alone does great wonders,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who by understanding made the heavens,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who spread out the earth on the waters,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever;
who made the great lights,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever;
the sun to rule over the day,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever;
23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever;
25 who gives food to all flesh,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever.
26 O give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures for ever.

A Reflection

Thanksgiving in America means different things to different people. For some it’s a time to gather around a table with family and friends; for others it’s a day to watch American football and look for deals in various stores; still, for others it’s simply a few days off from work – or an opportunity for holiday pay. For me, it’s a day to remember the people in my life for whom I’m grateful: for various family members and friends; for the people who keep me on my toes and keep me in order; and for those whom God brought into my life at one point or another to help me along the way to where I am now. There are all sorts of people – both past and present – for whom I’m grateful, and for whom each of us can be grateful. And even if thanksgiving isn’t part of your culture and tradition, my hope is that you have a few names or faces floating across your mind at the moment for whom you are grateful.

Giving thanks is an important spiritual discipline. It reminds us that there’s more to our lives than the daily grind and cultural toxicities that overtime wear us down and makes us content with the world in which we live. Giving thanks is a way of pushing back against the cynicism and resignation of our world; a way of fostering hope in a society that could always use a few more expectant and optimistic individuals and communities rather than discouraged pessimists.

And so – today – we join together to celebrate and give thanks for the ways in which God continues to influence and shape our lives and the world around us – even if at times God’s hand can be difficult to discern. Today we give thanks for the helpers – the teachers – the justice seekers and care givers. Today we give thanks for the friend who calls just to check up on us – the strange whose kindness makes our day a little brighter – and anyone who runs towards tragedy rather than away from it in order to love their neighbour. Today we give thanks for life – for love – for grace – and for mercy – both divine and human. Today we give thanks as an act of resistance; as a way of blessing those whom we love – and perhaps our enemies too. Because giving thanks is a discipline. A way of seeing the world a bit differently and in the hope that all is not lost – but merely on its way to being fulfilled.

And so, thanks be to God, indeed. Amen.

Prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you are always ready to hear more than we can pray, and to give more than we could ever desire or deserve. Pour out upon us your mercy and blessing; forgive us of those things which our conscience is afraid; and give us all the more in abundance those things for which we are too afraid to ask. Teach us, Lord, to honour all of your children, and to cleave to the goodness in our world as a sign of your eternal love still yet at work. Help our unbelief, Lord; teach us again that love can change the world – if we would just give it chance.

In the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord, we pray – with thanksgiving and in gratitude – joining together our hearts and minds in those words that he taught his friends to say together:

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is heaven. Given us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever. Amen.

A Blessing

Friends, I hope that this brief devotion has been an encouragement to your today, and that you’ll join us again another time. Until then, may the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace, both this day and for evermore. Amen.

Organ Music

Felix Mendelssohn Prelude in G Op 37