St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 25th March 2021
Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod
I waited patiently for the Lord;
God inclined to me and heard my cry.
Psalm 40: 1
Let us worship God
The lesson is Acts 3: 17-21:
17 ‘And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. 19Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, 20so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, 21who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.’
A favourite story as a child was the folktale ‘Dick Whittington and His Cat,’ about the young boy, Dick, who goes to London believing that ‘the streets are paved with gold.’ Finding only poverty and hunger, and having a cat as his only companion, he is eventually taken in by a wealthy Londoner but is badly treated by the cook. Dick decides to leave London but as he departs the city he hears the sound of the famous Bow church bells. To him they seem to be saying, ‘Turn again Whittington, Lord Mayor of London, turn again…” So he turns back, and finds that by chance his cat has been sold to a rich foreign ruler who has a problem with rats and he is a wealthy man. He does, of course, marry the beautiful daughter, make a fortune and become (thrice) Lord Mayor of London.
Now it’s not particularly the happy ending that I find of interest; rather it is that crucial moment on which the story hinges. “Turn again Whittington, Lord Mayor of London, turn again…” In the sermon that is our text today Peter uses that word ‘turn’ because it is the definition of the word ‘repent’ (v. 19) To repent, then, is not to say something, or think something – it is to do something; to turn to God. The result of such a turning is much happier than Dick Whittington’s material happy ending. It is that ‘times of refreshing will come.’ (v.20)
So listen today as you walk in the city, during this season of Lent – listen for that word from the loving God who says ‘turn, that you may be refreshed.’
Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mould me, fill me, use me,
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
We pray for our nation and our world,
giving thanks for good health where we have it
and asking for strength and protection
where we do not.
Guide our leaders, Lord,
locally, nationally, internationally,
that they would make wise decisions
benefitting the world and its people.
Give wisdom to the scientists and researchers;
courage and fortitude to health care workers;
strength and safety to essential workers
who keep food supply lines open
and who staff our supermarkets.
O Lord hear our prayers for ourselves and others as we join together in the Lord’s Prayer:
which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done
on 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.
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.
Louis Vierne Légende