Midweek Devotion 9/6/22

St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh

Midweek Devotion 9th June 2022

Led by Rev Calum I MacLeod

Arise, shine for your light has come.

Let us worship God

The lesson is Acts 3: 1-10

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. 2And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. 3When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. 4Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” 7And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.8Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Reflection

Reflecting on the story in Acts 3 as I am in these days after Pentecost, I am struck by the character of Peter and what it speaks to us about the meaning of the resurrection. Remember this is the same Peter who in Luke’s telling (who also wrote the Acts of the Apostles) emphatically and repeatedly denies any knowledge of the tortured and imprisoned Jesus:

“Man, I do not know what you are talking about” (Luke 22: 60)

In Acts the weak, cowardly Peter has been transformed into a leader of the early church, preaching eloquently and boldly, doing “wonders and signs” and carrying on the ministry of Jesus in ways which imitate his master like the healing of the beggar in our text.

Resurrection, for Peter, is not an abstract theological concept but the life changing event by which he knows God’s love for him in Jesus Christ and how that love offers new life to him and to the world. That is true for the church in every age and in our time.

The British writer and theologian, Janet Morely, describes Pentecost in this way,  “Pentecost is the outpouring of the sudden power of God to transform a wounded and disillusioned band of strugglers into a community that changed the world.”  Wherever the Holy Spirit, the wind of the spirit moves, we find transformation happening.

As we open ourselves to the same spirit of Jesus given at Pentecost we too are called out of the dark and broken parts of our lives to be the body of Christ loving and healing in our world.

“Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.” (from the hymn by Daniel Iverson.)

Amen

Let us pray.

Almighty God, by your Spirit, you brought order from chaos.
By your brooding Spirit, hovering over the void, you spoke and there was … something rather than nothing.
Create and recreate in and through us, we pray.

Almighty God, by your Spirit, you equipped and gifted and led our ancestors to know you and to serve you and to glorify you.
Continue to equip and enable us, we pray.

Almighty God, in these turbulent and uncertain times, send us the Comforter, that we might know you to be near. Grant us your healing touch and help us to know the rest that comes from resting in you.
For the loving touch of your Spirit, we pray.

Almighty God, by what seemed as a rushing wind and as tongues of fire you brought your Church to life.
Come to your Church now, we pray, that by the same Spirit we might be renewed and refreshed and remade and revived.
Yes, Lord, grant us a fresh outpouring of your Spirit, we pray.

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, 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, 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.

Organ Music

Felix Mendelssohn Fuga (Sonata VI)