Midweek Devotion 28/5/20

St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

Midweek Devotion 28 May 2020

Led by Rev Douglas A O Nicol

Words of the apostle Paul: ‘Now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.’
(1 Corinthians 13: 13)

Let us worship God.

Scripture Reading

The Gospel according to St. Matthew, chapter 25, verses 31 to 46:

Jesus said: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it for one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it for me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’

Reflection

We are drawing close to the end of another month when life as we knew it has changed in so many ways – all because of Covid-19!

A neighbour said to me recently that what she had missed most this month was Edinburgh’s annual Christian Aid Book Sale. For years now she has enjoyed a rummage around the vast quantity of second-hand books, all being sold for a good cause. And she will not be alone, for we all have missed Christian Aid Week 2020 with its door-to-door collections, specials services, and a myriad of other fund-raising events.

It is important for us to remember that even though many of our activities have temporarily ceased, that the work of Christian Aid continues with some of the world’s most vulnerable communities in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean. In all these settings Christian Aid works in partnership to support communities to thrive, tackling in them the roots of poverty so that women, men and children the world o’er are strengthened against future knocks. And if disasters do happen, Christian Aid gets people the help they need straight away.

To support this essential work in this most unusual year Christian Aid Week 2020 moved online, with I understand around £8 million being raised to support the fight against poverty and injustice. Thanks to all for continued support!

In the parable we read earlier Jesus reminds us our responsibility as his followers to care for those with needs around us. In response, may the words of the hymn writer, Fred Kaan, be our prayer:

‘For the healing of the nations,
Lord, we pray with one accord;
for a just and equal sharing
of the things that earth affords.
To a life of love in action
help us rise and pledge our word.’

Prayer

Let us pray:

Teach us, good Lord,
to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost:
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek for rest;
to labour and not to ask for any reward
save that of knowing that we do your will;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Most merciful God,
we pray for your guidance and strength for all working for others in our land and around the world at this time of coronavirus crisis:
medical, care and social work staff,
scientists seeking cures and vaccines,
those who serve others in shops and public services,
all who volunteer to help their neighbours,
and politicians and advisers making decisions on future policy to combat the virus and restore some normality to life.

Most gracious God,
today we remember all who are ill with Covid-19 in hospitals, care homes, and at home, and all those who are grieving the loss of ones they loved dearly. We name now in quietness any known to us.

We ask all these prayers in Jesus’ Name.

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.

Benediction

May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to himself,
may the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in his service;
may the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our souls;
and may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with you and abide with you always.
Amen.

Closing Thought

Friends, my closing thought is to say that as a retired Minister who enjoys sharing in the life and worship of St. Giles’ Cathedral it has been my privilege to have you with us at Midweek Devotion today. I’d like to take this opportunity of explaining that St. Giles’ has taken the decision to keep a number of its paid staff working off-site during the Cathedral’s closure amidst these strange and uncertain days. If today you have enjoyed your time with us I’d encourage you to consider making a donation through our webpage. Your giving will assist us in contributing all that we can to God’s mission of bringing His love to the world and its people. May I thank you in anticipation of your response!

Organ Music

Samuel Scheidt Hymnus: Veni creator spiritus SSWV 152