Midweek Devotion 30/9/21

St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

Midweek Devotion 30th September 2021

Led by Rev Professor Kenneth Boyd


Welcome to online devotion with St Giles’ Cathedral, today, Thursday the 30th of September 2021

Scripture Reading            Psalm 19. 7-11

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
    and drippings of the honeycomb


What is the ‘law of the LORD’ that the psalmist delights in?  In the New Testament, the Law of the Old Testament often seems anything but delightful, a deadly burden that Christians no longer need to bear. If we read the words of Jesus and St Paul more carefully, however, it’s not as simple as that. Jesus said he had come not to destroy but fulfil the law, and Paul never advocated lawlessness. Perhaps the simplest way to understand what Jesus and Paul were against, is just to remember the times in our own country’s history, when some of the Reformers behaved like the Taliban, or when some of the Victorians behaved like scribes and pharisees, losing the spirit in the letter of the law and straining at the gnat of social decorum, while swallowing the camel of social injustice.  

If we look back at Old Testament times in the light of these more recent ones, the law that the psalmist delights in may not seem so different from what Jesus and Paul taught, or what countless ordinary Christians in our own and other countries have always understood.  As the Old Testament prophets often say, what matters most is the law written in human hearts and minds, the traces, however faint and mixed up with cultural conventions, of the creator’s image in the human conscience. And it is in listening quietly to conscience, our own and what others tell us of theirs, that we begin to hear the law of the LORD. It is in listening to conscience, while often failing to hear and often stumbling, but again and again returning our faces to the light of God’s unconditional love and unending forgiveness, that we begin to understand a little better how our lives should be lived and we are given courage to go on trying to live more nearly as we pray.

Let us pray.

So shine the Lord’s commandments
to make the simple wise;
more sweet than honey to the taste,
more rich than any prize,
a law of love within our hearts,
a light before our eyes.So order too this life of mine,
direct it all my days;
may meditations of my heart
be innocence and praise,
my rock and my redeeming Lord,
in all my words and ways.                         CH4 10: 3 & 4

God only wise, who created us in love,
and in whose image we are made:
enlighten our fallible consciences,
to see more clearly and freely choose
what gives abundant life;
help us to be more honest with ourselves,
kinder to one another,
and attentive to you in the needs of others,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Let us pray not only for ourselves but for others:
for our families, friends, and fellow citizens;
for all who maintain the fabric of our daily lives,
lorry drivers and supermarket workers, teachers,
doctors and nurses, police and refuse collectors,
administrators, councillors and parliamentarians;
for those who are ill or dying,
especially those we know;
for the church and all faith communities:

O God, who has bound us together in this bundle of life,
give us grace to understand how our lives depend upon
the courage, the industry, the honesty, and the integrity
of our fellow men and women,
that we may be mindful of their needs,
grateful for their faithfulness,
and faithful in our responsibilities to them;
through Jesus Christ our Lord   Amen.

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 in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them 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


And now may the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
bless, preserve and keep us and all God’s children,
in the joy, simplicity, and compassion of the gospel.         Amen

Organ Music