The Second Sunday after Trinity

St. Giles’ Cathedral

Online Devotion

Sunday June 21st 2020

2nd after Trinity Sunday

Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.

Isaiah 43: 1

Let us worship God.

The lesson is written in the gospel according to St Matthew in the 10th chapter. The words of Jesus:

32“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

The Word of the Lord; thanks be to God.

Hymn

Praise to the Holiest in the height,
and in the depth be praise:
in all his words most wonderful,
most sure in all his ways.

O loving wisdom of our God!
when all was sin and shame,
a second Adam to the fight
and to the rescue came.

O wisest love! that flesh and blood,
which did in Adam fail,
should strive afresh against the foe,
should strive and should prevail;

O generous love! that he, who smote
in Man, for man, the foe,
the double agony in Man
for man, should undergo;

And in the garden secretly,
and on the Cross on high,
should teach his brethren, and inspire
to suffer and to die.

Praise to the Holiest in the height,
and in the depth be praise:
in all his words most wonderful,
most sure in all his ways.

Text: John Henry Newman 1801-90

Tune: Gerontius CH4 378 (i)
J.B.Dykes 1823-76

Reflection

These difficult words of Jesus are part of the narrative in which he sends the disciples out to “proclaim the good news…cure the sick, cleanse the lepers.”

Inherent in this sending is a radical act of relying not on self but on God’s providence through the hospitality of others on the journey of faith. They are to take nothing else with them – but sandals, staff and tunic.

To undertake such a journey then is to be reliant not on self but on God.

It is to engage in that most difficult spiritual exercise: refocusing the centre of our lives away from self – to die to self – and place God at the centre.
Do you remember that scene in Hamlet where Hamlet creeps up on Claudius who is kneeling in prayer in the chapel and as Hamlet thinks about killing Claudius, which he’s indecisive about, he rationalizes to himself why not to do it then, because Claudius is praying and therefore if he is killed his soul would go to heaven. As Hamlet slinks off Claudius gets up from his position, and says wearily:

“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below,
Words without thoughts never to heaven go”.

The words that were spoken were not heaven focused, were not God focused, but Self-focused.

William Sloane Coffin, one of the great Protestant leader of the 20th Century, describes true religion as “that which strives to convert people from self-preoccupation to the whole-hearted giving of oneself in love for God and for others.” Isn’t that an extraordinary description? For Coffin that’s not just about Christianity, although it is true for Christianity, but also about Islam and Buddhism and Hinduism and Judaism in their fullest expressions of truth.

I remember welcoming a youth group to the church I served in Chicago where they were doing an urban ministry outreach programme refurbishing houses for the poorest in the community. Each of the participants wore an identical T-shirt which had on the front, in big black letters the word “Loser.” On the back was the verse from our reading today – “those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” Amen

Anthem

Listen sweet dove unto my song
And spread thy golden wings in me;
Hatching my tender heart so long
Till it get wing and flie away with thee.

Such glorious gifts thou didst bestow
That the earth did like a heaven appear,
The starres were coming down to know
If they might mend their wages and serve here.

The sunne which once did shine alone,
Hung down his head and wisht for night
When he beheld twelve sunnes for one
Going about the world and giving light.

Lord though we change thou art the same,
The same sweet God of love and light;
Restore this day for thy great name,
Unto his ancient and miraculous right.

Text: George Herbert 1593-1633
Music: Grayston Ives b.1948

Prayer
Excerpts from the prayer to be said across Scotland this evening at 7 p.m.

Let us pray.
Faithful God, we thank you
That you are present with us now
As we share in the life of the Risen Christ.
Continue to be present with us we ask.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
God who inspires faith, we thank you
That you have been with us
In times of anxiety and uncertainty.
Keep watch over our memories of the past.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Faithful God, we thank you
That you will be with us
In the days that are to come.
Journey with us in the days that lie before us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Faithful God, we thank you
For the reassurance that you are merciful and gracious
And that your love abounds.
In your compassion, remember us and those whom we love.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Let us 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
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.

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 Voluntary
William Faulkes Grand Choeur in D

CCL Licence No 980930
Streaming Licence 57837

The service was conducted by Rev Calum I MacLeod
The lesson was read by Marjory Lobban

The hymn was recorded in 2008 by the Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral, Peter Backhouse, Assistant Organist, Michael Harris, Organist and Master of the Music
The anthem was recorded by members of the Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral, with Michael Harris, organ, remotely in lockdown, June 2020.