St. Giles’ Cathedral
Devotion for the First Sunday after Easter
Sunday 19th April 2020
This service is also available to listen to, click the player below to listen.
John 20: 19-23
19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
Hymn: All my hope on God is founded
All my hope on God is founded;
he doth still my trust renew.
Me through change and chance he guideth,
only good and only true.
calls my heart to be his own.
Pride of man and earthly glory,
sword and crown betray his trust;
what with care and toil he buildeth,
tower and temple, fall to dust.
But God’s power,
hour by hour,
is my temple and my tower.
God’s great goodness aye endureth,
deep his wisdom, passing thought:
splendour, light, and life attend him,
beauty springeth out of nought.
from his store
new-born worlds rise and adore.
Daily doth the Almighty Giver
bounteous gifts on us bestow;
his desire our soul delighteth,
pleasure leads us where we go.
Love doth stand
at his hand;
joy doth wait on his command.
Still from earth to God eternal
sacrifice of praise be done,
high above all praises praising
for the gift of Christ his Son.
Christ doth call
one and all:
ye who follow shall not fall.
Tune: Michael Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
Text: Robert Bridges (1844-193
based on Joachim Neander (1650-1680)
CCL Licence No 980930
How are you feeling as we enter another 3 weeks of staying at home – anxiety, loneliness, uncertainty? Or perhaps for some a sense of relief that they and their loved ones have not had symptoms of the virus and stay well and safe.
Into this situation comes the first Sunday after Easter and the words of the risen one to his followers.
It is the regular greeting. It’s the same as saying, “Hello” or “How are you.” The word is “Shalom”. Peace be with you. But this is no ordinary day, therefore no ordinary greeting.
The scholars help us in this by pointing to this text in John’s gospel as being a climax to the story that’s told in the Gospel. Now, however you approach or understand the Gospel – whether as biography or as a kind of history – the gospels are certainly story. The Evangelists, the writers of the gospels, are imaginative people weaving together a narrative and using different types of literary devices.
At this point, the scholars tell us, we are to go back and hear Jesus’ words in the middle of the Gospel, at the 14th chapter of John. We call this section “Farewell Speeches” when Jesus is saying to his disciples that he will be leaving them in the future. Many of the words are familiar to us: “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” “I am going away and I am coming to you.” Then, these words, “Peace, I leave with you. My peace I give to you.”
When Jesus comes and says, “Peace be with you,” this is a fulfillment of the promise of God’s presence with us in Christ. The peace greeting is at the heart of the Easter experience, and of the experience of the disciples – and us – with the risen Jesus. May you know Christ’s peace in these times.
Anthem: Ecce vicit Leo
Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
the root of David,
hath prevailed to open the book
and to loose the seven seals thereof.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
to receive power,
Peter Philips 1561-1628
Make me a channel of your peace, living Lord.
We pray for our world, the world you made and love.
In these fretful days, grant your blessing
to those at the front lines of dealing with this contagious illness.
Give strength to all healthcare workers;
good health to the essential workers;
comfort to people mourning a lost loved one,
wisdom to the scientists searching for cure and vaccine.
May your Easter light shine into the darkness of these times.
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
Ancient Scottish Gaelic Blessing
J.S.Bach Concerto in A minor BWV 593 (1st movement)