St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
Midweek Devotion 8th April 2021
The Thursday of Easter Week
Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod
The Lord is risen; he is risen indeed.
Let us worship God
The lesson is Psalm 40
1I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
3He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
4Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods.
5You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.
6Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
7Then I said, “Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
8I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Amen
“Death, be not proud.”
With this exclamation the poet John Donne begins one of his most famous poems in the series known as the Holy Sonnets. It is a good sentiment to frame our reflections for this Easter Season.
The long fast of Lent is over; we have journeyed through Holy Week; we have listened to “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”; we have heard the Solemn Reproaches of the Cross on Good Friday, each one ending with the phrase,” you have prepared a cross for your Savior” and now, finally we are able to celebrate the victory of life over death, of light over darkness which is at the heart of the mystery that is Easter.
Like the psalmist we have ‘waited patiently for God’ and like the psalmist we have been given a ‘new song’ to praise God with – a song of hope and life which comes to us as the gift of the God who is Love.
It is now for us to go into the future as (in that felicitous phrase) ‘Easter People.’ People who see resurrection not in abstract theological terms, but as the defining moment which brings life meaning and which calls us to the Easter work of finding life and hope and love in a world which more readily tends toward fear, division and death.
Death, be not proud, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
Christ is alive, let Christians sing.
The cross stands empty to the skies.
(From the hymn by Brian Wren)
Son of God, source of life, we invoke your goodness upon us
and upon the entire human family.
Allow us to live by your life
and to walk as children of light in the joy of Easter.
Increase the faith of your church;
may it faithfully bear witness to your resurrection.
Give strength to the sick, O Lord, support the infirm
and reassure the dying by your saving presence.
O Lord hear our prayers for ourselves and others as we join together in the Lord’s Prayer:
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 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,
the power and the glory
for ever and ever, Amen.
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.
J.S.Bach Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 649