Midweek Devotion 28/7/22

St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

Midweek Devotion 28th July 2022

Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod

I lift up my eyes to the hills –
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.                                    
Psalm 121

Let us worship God.

The reading is Colossians 2: 1-7

I want you to know how much I am struggling for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face. 2I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

4I am saying this so that no one may deceive you with plausible arguments. 5For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, and I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ.6As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Reflection

Seeing and not seeing; revelation and hidenness – these are themes which arise throughout our scriptures. As God’s people have sought to articulate their encounter with the God who cannot be seen or represented or ‘imaged’, the paradox of seeing the invisible and revealing by hiding finds its way into many of the expressions of individual and community relationship with God. From the earliest books in the Old Testament – like God ‘appearing’ to Moses but ‘hiding’ in the burning bush (Exodus) – to the last book of the New Testament – an elusive, metaphor laden word picture named (ironically for us!) ‘Revelation’ – the struggle to understand the God who is wholly other takes us beyond human logic and rationality to a different kind of wisdom.

This comes up often in Paul’s writings and those attributed to him. Remember the familiar text from 1 Cor 13, ‘…now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.’

For Paul it is essentially simple – the mysteries and barriers surrounding this invisible God are offered and explained to us in Jesus “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (v. 3) As one commentator says: we are to be “assured that true wisdom and knowledge are ‘hidden’ in Christ and, therefore, are also paradoxically no longer hidden but revealed to all who believe in the gospel.”

In other words God is known to us as we follow Christ by loving God and our neighbour. As Jesus was to point out often, a child can grasp this.

Prayer

Let us pray.

God of compassion, we remember before you all people who struggle with poverty of means and poverty of opportunity, the sick and the dying, all who are lonely, homebound and isolated; victims of war, injustice and inhumanity, all who know suffering in their daily lives.

We pray for all nations and peoples. Take away the mistrust and lack of understanding that divides your children, and increase in us the recognition that we are all your children.

Grant that the sick and lonely would know something of your loving presence – comfort those who are close to death.

Author of grace and God of love, send your Holy Spirit’s blessing on your children that we may live your gospel of love, grace and hope in your world.

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.

The Benediction

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.

Organ Music

Louis-Nicolas Clérambault Flûtes (Suite du 2eme Ton)