Sunday prayers continue in response to the Covid-19 pandemic

This Sunday (19 September), Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

Man's hands praying

As with previous weeks during lockdown, 15 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Church of Scotland, have co-signed the letter calling for prayer.

Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Lord Wallace, is taking part alongside them.

“We should always be mindful for the wisdom handed down to us from past generations; much of it learned the hard way, from mistakes made and consequences suffered,” Lord Wallace said.

“So, too, we are grateful for the richness that comes to us from living alongside people of other traditions. In our day and generation we must surely allow our minds and hearts to be open so that we can risk getting to know them and learning from them.

“In this pandemic, our responsibility is to come together and offer our prayers for all the many diverse expressions of our Christian faith that enrich life, as we have done for many months now.

“Let us not forget that behind each death there will be grieving family and friends; behind each hospitalisation there will be a suffering patient, an anxious family and a caring and skilled medical team.

“And behind each vaccination, let us recognise, with thanks, the skill of the scientists’ research and those who make distribution and vaccination possible. Let us remember, too, those in countries who still wait anxiously for vaccines to arrive. May our leaders respond imaginatively and generously to that challenge.

“A pattern has been set for us, lived out in Jesus Christ, made possible by the Spirit. May we follow in His way, and be guided by the one over-riding rule of love in all that we say and do.”

This week’s letter accompanying the prayer, which is also available in Gaelic, states:

“‘Now, do you all understand what I have been saying?’ We might just recall these words, or similar, when in school, whether recently or a very long time ago.

“The teacher has led the class through a lesson and then turned to ask if everyone has understood. No one wants to admit that they did not follow the lesson and that they do not understand.

“In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus begins to teach His disciples about His forthcoming betrayal, death and resurrection. None of the disciples wishes to admit that they do not understand. Their response is one that we can identify with.

“Instead, the disciples turn to discussing something else: Who is the greatest among them? Jesus hears their discussion and, in response, declares: ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.’

“Further, Jesus invites a child to stand amongst them and declares that whoever ‘welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me’. (Mark 9: 30-37)

“The response of the disciples is not recorded in the Gospel. Our response is to seek to follow the lesson in order that we might more fully understand the way of the Cross.”

We pray:

Living God,
Whose way we discern
Through the Cross and the Resurrection of Your Son,
We hear the call to take up the Cross
And to live in the light of the Resurrection.
Grant us faith to do so
And courage to confess when we do not understand.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Whose way we discern
Through the Cross and the Resurrection of Your Son,
We recognise that we turn too easily
To that which distracts and displaces.
Renew our focus that we might fix our eyes
On the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Whose way we discern
Through the Cross and the Resurrection of Your Son,
We hear the call to become servants,
As Christ Himself became on our behalf.
May we learn the lesson of servanthood
From the One who gave His life as a ransom for many.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
Whose way we discern
Through the Cross and the Resurrection of Your Son,
We recognise the children in our midst
Whose lives are a gift from Your Hand.
May we receive them within the community of faith
And so receive Christ in our midst.
Lord, in Your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

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