Midweek Devotion 31/12/20

St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

Midweek Devotion 31st December 2020

Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.

Let us worship God.

The lesson is written in the Letter to the Galatians in chapter 4

4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

The word of the Lord; thanks be to God.

 

Reflection

I love W.H. Auden’s post-Christmas poem entitled “Well, so that is that” with its underlying theme of the feeling of deflation after ‘the big day:’

Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes –
Some have got broken –

The poem contains a sense of missed opportunity that can be a part of this stage in the festive season;

As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility.

It is good, then, to remind ourselves that Christmas isn’t over. Christmas is not a day, despite our culture’s emphasis on December 25. We are right bang in the middle of the season of Christmas, so while everyone’s moved on to New Year plans and the radio stations revert back to Lady Gaga from “all Christmas music all day,” we in the Church are still listening to and reflecting on the ancient carols of the nativity.  And we will keep doing that until Epiphany!

This is a good day then to hear Paul’s Christmas sermon to us in Galatians – that the coming of the child ‘born of a woman’ is for the purpose that we recognize we are God’s children and heirs.

Now that is certainly not a ‘one-day-wonder.’

Prayer
Let us pray.

Bless this Christmas season to us, Lord God, and grant us the patience to linger a little longer at the manger.

God of compassion,
we remember before you all people who struggle with poverty of means
and poverty of opportunity,
the sick and the dying,
all who are lonely, homebound and isolated;
victims of war, injustice and inhumanity,
all who know suffering in their daily lives.

We pray for all nations and peoples.
Take away the mistrust and lack of understanding
that divides your children,
and increase in us the recognition that we are all your children.

Grant that the sick and lonely would know something of your loving presence – comfort those who are close to death.

Endow fortitude and wisdom on those at the front lines of dealing with the pandemic we face.

Author of grace and God of love,
send your Holy Spirit’s blessing on your children
that we may live your gospel of love,
grace and hope in your world.

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
Dieterich Buxtehude In dulci jubilo