Midweek Devotion 29/10/20

St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 29th October 2020
Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod

Praise the Lord!
Happy are those who fear the Lord,
who greatly delight in his commandments.

                                                  Psalm 112: 1                                                 

Let us worship God.

The lesson is written in the Letter to the Romans chapter 8

12So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

The Word of the Lord; thanks be to God.

Reflection
I’m not sure about you, but for me reading Paul’s letters can sometimes be like entering a labyrinth where you set out with a phrase or a concept, which seems perfectly accessible, but then you find yourself a few verses on wondering how you got there and where the thread is to get you back to the start! Law and grace, flesh and spirit, sin and righteousness, death and life – these oppositions Paul sets up can sometimes be very confusing to the modern ear and need expanded, thoughtful expositions to help us to grasp what Paul is saying to the church.

And then sometimes Paul delivers a fast ball that makes it straight down the middle and stuns you with its force and simplicity.

“Faith, hope and love abide and the greatest of these is love.” (I Cor 13)

“God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5)

And in this complex passage so central to the letter to the Romans:

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”

In my experience, one of the concepts which people today find particularly difficult about the Christian Church is what they perceive to be the exclusive nature of our God. Perhaps this is because of ignorance of the modern church, or old prejudices; but perhaps it is because the church in its varied forms seeks still to identify itself over and against ‘the other’ (whomever that may be in a particular context.) and limit the reach of the grace of God through the Spirit of the living Christ.

Not Paul!

Prayer
Let us pray.

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in God’s justice, which is more than liberty.

We pray for the church throughout the world,
that it would be the bright lamp of faith,
true to your calling as God’s own people.
Where the Church is persecuted, Lord, bring deliverance;
where it is divided bring healing;
where it sides with the powerful, challenge it;
where it cares for the poorest, bless it.

For the world we pray, a world struggling in the face of a pandemic.
Bring hope to those affected
and wisdom to those who seek a vaccine.

Hear our prayers for peace between peoples,
and for the promotion of tolerance, justice
and equality in our world.

For ourselves we pray,
in all our celebrations and disappointments.

Grant your hand of healing on the sick,
your embrace of presence to the dying,
the promise of victory
to those who have gone before us in the faith,
and with whom we pray we will be reunited
in the fullness of your eternal light.

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
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive 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 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.

(Amen)

Organ Music
Nicolas de Grigny Duo – Hymne Ave maris stella