St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
MIDWEEK DEVOTION: 30 April 2020
Led by Rev Douglas A O Nicol
Now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
Let us worship God.
John 15: 12-17
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
Earlier this week the London briefings on the current Coronavirus crisis introduced a question from the public, and the first one to be taken was from a Grandmother, asking simply yet profoundly when she would be able to give her grandchildren hugs again. She was missing them … as doubtless they were missing her hugs.
The question came as a vital reminder that to live life to the full involves living with others in community. Indeed, William James has written: ‘The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community’.
Over recent weeks we have all witnessed incredible acts of devotion by individuals as our communities respond to the crisis we are facing. Responses to all these loving acts have come by way of clapping and by minutes of silence. At a time when we can’t offer a warm handshake, or the affirming touch of a friend, or a grandparents’ hug it’s good to sense that the two-way relationships that make up supportive communities are as strong as ever.
Such two-way relationships of love lie right at the heart of our Christian faith, and they are expressed in words by Jesus Himself: ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you’. We all have our part to play in ensuring that the communities to which we belong have Christian love at their heart, and the words of the hymnwriter, Richard Gillard, can be our guide:
‘Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you:
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.’
Let us pray
we give You thanks for the communities to which we belong,
among them our family, our neighbourhood, our friendship circle, our country.
Remind us always, we pray, of the debt we owe to others,
and guide us in the service we can offer.
Most merciful God,
bless, we pray, all who support others at this time of pandemic,
medical, care and social work staff,
those who serve others in shops and public services,
our Armed Forces,
and those who make decisions on future policy.
in our land and throughout the world may faith, hope and love ever abide.
We ask 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,
Now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you this day and always, Amen.
J.S.Bach Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 649