Midweek Devotion 3/3/22

St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

Midweek Devotion 3rd March 2022

Led by Rev Douglas A O Nicol

The Psalmist wrote: ‘Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers: but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all they do, they prosper.’ (Psalm 1: 1-3)

Let us worship God.

Scripture Reading

The Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 9, verses 22 to 25:

Jesus said: ‘The Son of Man must undergo great suffering and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.’

Then he said to them all, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?’

Reflection

There will be very few, if any, of those sharing in our Midweek Devotion who do not have a deep concern for the people of Ukraine at the heart of their thoughts! That such a conflict that we are now witnessing could be reality in 21st Century Europe would have been unthinkable just weeks ago. Yet the horrors of war have become all too real for our Ukrainian sisters and brothers … and to us as we witness through our media indiscriminate bombing and consequent loss of life, as well as the mass migration of people away from the conflict.

And as these thoughts are prepared there are no sign at all of a solution to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces … indeed many professional commentators seem resigned to this being a lengthy conflict with much loss of life.

In our Gospel reading today we find Jesus prophesying the events that are now central to our marking of the Christian Season of Lent – namely the disgrace and pain that He had to suffer for our salvation. And with an uncanny relevance to the emerging situation in Ukraine Jesus highlights the profits and losses of life … and offers a stark warning to those who would seek to ‘gain the whole world’.

Though we may feel powerless to change for good the situation in Ukraine, Jesus does offer us a task to influence our world for good – for He calls us to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him. And surely with the backdrop of the horrors of war in our minds, our focus on following Him today must revolve around seeking peace in our spheres of influence in life … in family, friendship circle, and community. For every ripple of peace can touch for good the lives of others, and maybe in due course even influence the life of the whole world!

May God bless us all as we take to the path of peace!

Prayer

Let us pray:

Prayers for peace:

Almighty God,
your Son came to be the Saviour of the world
and the Prince of peace.
Give us grace to follow in his ways
and to fulfil our calling
as peacemakers in his name.
May His Holy Spirit
so move in the hearts of all people
and among the nations of the world,
that the barriers of fear, suspicion, and hatred
which separate us may crumble and fall,
and the peoples of the world
be united in justice and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayers for Ukraine:

Most merciful God,
We pray especially today for the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine:

  • for all seeking bravely to defend their homeland
  • for the injured and bereaved
  • for all seeking to bring aid to the country
  • for those who commit the violence, especially young soldiers drawn into a conflict that they do not fully understand.
    through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayers for the World:

Give, we pray, loving God, the nations of the world the courage and the wisdom to stand up for justice, and the courage too to dare to care – generously.

Take from us all the tendencies in us that seek to lord it over others:
take from us those traits that see us pursuing our own needs and wants before those of others:
teach us all the way to live in peace and dignity and respect – following your example of love.
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Personal Prayers:

We commend to You now, our Father God, those for whom we have a special concern,
whose names and places are in our hearts and minds,
may know your peace and love,
and spend their years in fulfilment and hope,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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.

Benediction

The guarding of the God of life be on you,
the guarding of the loving Christ be on you,
the guarding of the Holy Spirit be on you
to aid you and enfold you
each day and night of your lives.
Amen.

Organ Music

J.N.Hanff Erbarm dich mein, o Herre Gott