Daily Devotions - Thursday, 6 August 2020

DAILY DEVOTIONS

Thursday, 6 August

(The video version is available by clicking HERE )

Call to Prayer

Jesus said, Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28 : 19 & 20a)

Welcome to Daily Devotions from Cramond Kirk on Thursday, 6 August 2020.

Prayer

Lord, this morning

grant us the power,

through newly-awakened senses,

to respond to the beauty in our lives today –

whether within the familiar frame of household chores,

at our places of work or through the majesty of Nature’s changeful moods.

Amen 

Introduction

The worldwide church is the theme of our devotions this week.

I have been asked to speak about Sri Lanka, where a key election took place yesterday.

Our reading finds Jesus unafraid to challenge the leaders of his day.

Matthew 23 : 23 – 24

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. 

You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!

Comment

Sri Lanka is at a crisis point. It is generally agreed to have been caused by the politicians who served after independence. Unlike India, Ceylon (it didn’t become Sri Lanka until 1972) did not have to fight for the right to be free from colonial rule. A period of conflict can have benefits as those leading the struggle have to clarify what they plan to do with the constitution, health systems, the judiciary, education and so on. This struggle did not happen in Sri Lanka and the democratically elected leaders tended to keep what was in place without decisions regarding necessary reform. Gradually a lack of direction and rigour led to corruption at every level of government and in the police. In 1948 South East Asia and particularly Singapore wanted to become like Ceylon, stable and economically strong.

In 2020 Sri Lanka is now in severe financial difficulty with unserviceable debt. Thirty years of civil war, which ended in 2009, did not help this situation and the country is becoming more dependent on China for loans, with the long-term consequence of this being unclear.  Yesterday’s election was crucial. If the President’s party receives 2/3rds of the vote it will mean more power to the President and his allies and they will be able to reshape the constitution to best serve their own needs and not the needs of the populace. This is not a healthy situation and is deserving of our prayers for this very beautiful though troubled island at a key moment in its long story.            

Prayers

Loving God,

open our hearts and minds

to our sisters and brothers

in every corner of the world,

today especially in Sri Lanka.

 

Lord give to all people, who have the authority 

the wisdom to govern well

and the grace to know in their hearts

that nothing is firm which is not just

and that the test of justice

is to turn people from following after evil

to seek what is good.

 

Accept these prayers for our sisters and brothers in Sri Lanka

as we join our hearts and minds with the whole church in heaven and on earth praying together…  

 

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 debts as we forgive our debtors

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom

The power and the glory

For ever

Amen

 

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May the Lord make his face to shine upon you

and be gracious unto you.

May the Lord look kindly on you

and give you peace. 

Amen