St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 3rd June 2021
Led by Rev Craig Meek
Welcome everyone again to another daily devotion with St. Giles’ Cathedral. My name is Craig Meek, I’m one of the Assistant Ministers at St. Giles’ and I’m delighted that you’ve joined me today for a few moments of reflection and prayer together. My hope is that you’ll hear an encouraging word from our Lord today, and perhaps know something of that divine and eternal love of the Living God that refuses to give up on both us and our world – even if sometimes that love can be difficult to see.
Our time together will begin first with the reading of Psalm 138, a wonderful meditation upon God’s faithfulness and the confidence this produces in those who tread the sometimes turbulent paths of faith. Our second reading today is taken form the Letter of First Peter in the New Testament, an epistle written to a group of Christians suffering through some sort of persecution or uncertainty. Believing the end of all things was near, the writer implores those facing trials and tribulations to persevere and entrust themselves to the Living God, while never forgetting to continue to do what is Good.
Again, my hope is that you’ll hear a good word from our Lord today, friends, and so let us listen together as contemplate the goodness of God in the reading of Holy Scripture.
1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down towards your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
for you have exalted your name and your word
3 On the day I called, you answered me,
you increased my strength of soul.[b]
4 All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth.
5 They shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.
6 For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly;
but the haughty he perceives from far away.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The Lord will fulfil his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures for ever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
New Testament Reading: 1 Peter 4:7-19
7 The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 11 Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice in so far as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, a criminal, or even as a mischief-maker. 16 Yet if any of you suffers as a Christian, do not consider it a disgrace, but glorify God because you bear this name. 17 For the time has come for judgement to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, what will be the end for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And
‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinners?’
19 Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator, while continuing to do good.
Perhaps the most important thing worth noting in our readings today is the way in which our texts centre on the faithfulness of the Living God. For the Psalmist, this idea brings peace to a troubled mind or heart, while for the readers of First Peter it brings confidence and perseverance. For us today, these texts remind us of that which we must never tire of hearing: that whether we face good times or bad; peace or dismay; good will or disruption, our lives are claimed by the Living and Eternal God by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Holy and Merciful Father, hear the prayers of your people today and remind us again of all the ways that your love never quits on us. Give us the strength, Lord, to do better by one another – to act rightly, love humbly, and walk gracefully with both neighbours and strangers alike. We pray especially for the dismay in Palestine and Israel; for COVID’s continued rampage in India and South-eastern Asia; and for the many people displaced in our world, whether they’re driven from their homes by violence and destruction or alienated from themselves and others by hate and prejudice. Teach us to do, better, Lord; to love as you love, and to be kind with all whom we meet. Have mercy on us, Lord; Have mercy on your people, everywhere – especially the least of these.
We pray also for those whom we love and dear to us, committing them to your care and mercy in days ahead. May they know something of the peace that surpasses all our knowledge and comforts all our anxieties in Christ Jesus, and the freedom that bids each of us to serve in humility and with empathy for those who differ from us. For these things we ask in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord – who lives and reigns with you in the fellowship of the Spirit: One God – eternally gracious and merciful. Amen.
Friends, I hope that this brief devotion has been of some encouragement to you and that you’ll join us again another time. Until then, may the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace – both this day and forevermore. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Nicolas de Grigny Hymne: Pange lingua – Récit de tierce en taille