The Seventh Sunday after Trinity

St. Giles’ Cathedral

Online Devotion

Sunday July 26th 2020

7th Sunday after Trinity

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy.

Psalm 30: 11

Let us worship God.

The lesson is written in the gospel according to St. Matthew in the thirteenth chapter.

31He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” 33He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” 34Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. 35This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.”

The word of the Lord; thanks be to God.

Hymn

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.
God unknown,
he alone
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.
Evermore,
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 (1844-1930)
based on Joachim Neander (1650-1680)

Reflection

“It is the smallest of all the seeds/ it is the greatest of shrubs.”

The paradox of the parable of the mustard seed is often interpreted as Jesus pointing to how a small thing (like a halting faith) can become massive (a tree.)

It strikes me that in the light of our current predicament with the coronavirus pandemic we might see our situation as a cruel parody of Jesus’ teaching. How something so small (the virus) can have such monumental effects on lives and livelihood across the globe.

The anxiety which has come with the spread of the disease is something not to be minimized. Articles are already being written about the impact of lockdown on our mental health. What are we to do then?

The popular writer Max Lucado tells this story:
“How can a person deal with anxiety? You might try what one fellow did. He worried so much that he decided to hire someone to do his worrying for him. He found a man who agreed to be his hired worrier for a salary of 200,000 per year. After the man accepted the job, his first question to his boss was, “Where are you going to get 200,000 per year?” To which the man responded, “That’s your worry.”

But simply ignoring our anxieties – or passing them on to someone else – does not help to deal with the roots of our fears in this tragic circumstance.

For some it is difficult to avoid the temptation to see a tragedy as being ordained by God as if part of a hidden (from us) strategy God is undertaking for humanity. “Don’t worry, it’s part of God’s plan,” someone says to another. Or, “Don’t worry, God never gives us more than we can handle.” Or, “God’s purpose for this will reveal itself in time.” This is false teaching.

I believe that God would never want God’s children to suffer. According to Paul, “God works for the good in all things” for those God loves.

What God promises is that if we find ourselves in circumstances of fear and anxiety that the presence of God, through the Holy Spirit, will never leave us and will bring about transformation.

As the psalmist says God will turn our “mourning into dancing.” Amen.

Anthem

Richte mich, Gott

Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.
For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Text: Psalm 43
Music: Felix Mendelssohn 1809-47

Prayer
The prayer to be said throughout Scotland at 7pm this evening.

Let us pray.
Most High God, you are far above us and beyond our knowing. And yet in Jesus you came among us and you are here.
With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.
Ever faithful God, when waves threaten to overwhelm us and when fire is burning all around us, still you are with us. There is no point at which you run for cover or leave us to manage on our own.
With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.
Guiding God, you are a lamp for our feet, a light for our path. In uncertain times, with so much that is unknown and unknowable, go before us, we pray, that being attentive to your voice we might sense your leading.
With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.
Eternal God, there is much that is transient in our experience; we ourselves flourish as flowers and then are gone. But You, Lord, are without beginning or end; the same yesterday, today and forever. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on you and to lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven which shall not be subject to decay or destruction.
With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.
Loving God, in all things we marvel at your goodness and long only to see you more clearly and to know you more nearly. Put salt on our lips, then, that we might thirst for you more.
With glad and grateful hearts, we praise you.
In Christ’s name, Amen.

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
Felix Mendelssohn Sonata IV in B flat Op 65 (4th movement)

CCL Licence No 980930
Streaming Licence 57837

The service was conducted by Rev Calum I MacLeod
The lesson was read by Susanne Horsburgh

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
The anthem was recorded in 2008 by the Choir of St Giles’ Cathedral, Peter Backhouse, Assistant Organist, Michael Harris, Organist and Master of the Music