St. Giles’ Cathedral
Online Devotion for the Fourth Sunday after Easter
Sunday May 10th 2020
Welcome to today’s online devotion with St. Giles’ Cathedral; on this, the fourth Sunday after Easter. My name is Craig Meek and I am the Assistant Minister of the Cathedral. I’m delighted that you’ve tuned in today as we join together our hearts and minds in a few moments of prayer and reflection. Wherever you are today, friends, may the peace of Christ be with you and with those whom you love.
Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow in his ways and embrace the eternal life that he so freely gives; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
A Reading from the Gospel according to John, beginning in the 14th chapter at the first verse:
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe[a] in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way to the place where I am going.’[c] 5 Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ 6 Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know[d] my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’
8 Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ 9 Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me[e] for anything, I will do it.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
The Church’s one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation
by water and the word:
from heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her
and for her life he died.
Elect from every nation,
yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses,
and shares one holy food,
as to one hope she presses
with every grace endued.
In toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation
of peace for evermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blest,
and the great Church victorious
shall be the Church at rest.
Yet she on earth has union
with God the three in One,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
like them, the meek and lowly,
on high may dwell with thee.
Text: Samuel John Stone 1839-1900
Reflection – Friends, I offer you this reflection in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’, says Jesus – a timely word for those of us stirring about our living spaces, anxious for some kind of return to normalcy after weeks of lockdown and social distancing. But perhaps more than this, it’s a word of comfort offered to anyone whose control has been taken from them; whose fear about what’s next has set in; or whose desire for life in its fullness has begun to wane. To any and all of us – no matter how today’s circumstances might be affecting us – Jesus offers us a word of comfort and peace: ‘Do not let your hearts be trouble. Believe in God, believe also in me.’
The irony, however, is that we fail to do just that – to believe and to trust in the one who is greater than either ourselves or our circumstances. Like both Thomas and Philip, we constantly need assurance about both ourselves and about tomorrow. In the end, however, this assurance has never been ours to possess; we were never asked – as followers of Jesus – to know the way forward. We were merely asked to trust in the one leading the way.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, friends. Trust in the one who not only leads but is the way. For whatever our anxieties may be and no matter what tomorrow might hold, our lives still belong to the Living God, to whom all honor, and praise, and glory is due both now and for evermore. Amen.
Beati quorum via
Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
who walk in the law of the Lord.
Text: Psalm 119 1
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford 1852-1924
Holy and Almighty God,
our only comfort in both in life and in death,
our shield and protector, our defender to the end of days,
draw near to your people, we pray,
and kindle peace both in our hearts and in our world.
Hear our prayers, Lord, for the least of these in our midst,
for those without a place to go or food in their bellies.
For any and all who are anxious about tomorrow or
worried about their future. Bless and strengthen those
who have been caring for others, and guide our leaders
with integrity, reason, and science, that they would make
wise decisions for the people you’ve entrusted to their care.
Hear our prayers, Lord, for our friends and family members,
both near and far away. May you protect and guide them
in days ahead, keeping them always near to your side. May
you comfort those who grieve and give strength those whose
bodies fail, Lord, and draw near to each of us in our time of need.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy on your people we pray,
Joining together in the prayer that he’s taught his friend to say:
which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
lead us not into temptation
but deliver us for evil;
for thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory
For ever and ever, Amen.
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
may the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;
may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.
In the name of the Father, Son,
and the Holy Spirit.
Friends, I want to say that it has been a privilege to share a few moments with you today and that I’m grateful for your participation. I’d also like to add that St. Giles’ has taken the decision to keep a number of its paid staff working off-site during the Cathedral’s closure amidst these strange and uncertain days, and so if you enjoyed your time with us today, I’d like to encourage you to consider making a donation through our webpage, so that we can continue contributing all that we can to God’s mission of bringing peace to the world and its people.
Robert Schumann Sketch (from Four Sketches for Pedal Piano) Op 58 No 1
CCL Licence No 980930
Streaming Licence 57837
The anthem was recorded by members of the Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral remotely in lockdown May 2020.
The hymn was recorded in 2001 by the Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral, Peter Backhouse, Assistant Organist, Michael Harris, Organist and Master of the Music