Daily Devotional reflections

As we journey through these uncertain times, each day Sean will to seek post a thought or reflection, a Bible verse or a prayer.

Saturday 2nd May 2020

Martin Luther and Covid19


Glorious Trinity
make your presence
known in this time ,
through our worship, our prayer,
the reading of your Word,
and in the fellowship we shall enjoy.


One of the hardest issues I have had to face as a Christian minister is social distancing. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been delivering flowers on behalf of the church to members who are ill at home or confined due to disability. On some of these visits the folk concerned have been desperate for me to enter their homes and visit. There are numerous pastoral issues here such as loneliness, isolation and anxiety. On each occasion I have resisted the invitation. This goes against all I believe about ministry. My calling from God is to teach and preach, administer the sacraments and care for his people. And yet my presence in their home could have potentially serious consequences, with me carrying in a highly virulent and contagious virus or taking it away to pass on to the next person I meet.

Writing almost 500 years ago, the Reformer Martin Luther wrote about responding to pandemics and offers advice for how Christians should react to the current situation. this is what he wrote.

“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash no foolhardy and does not tempt God.”
(Luther’s Works, Volume 43 p. 132 - edited)

The plague of which Martin Luther writes is of course the Black Death, also known as a Bubonic Plague. It was spread by fleas infected with the bacteria ‘Yersinia pestis’ and in certain places wiped out up to 60% of the local population. Here Luther’s advice is good, solid and practical. But Covid19 is very different. It is not bacterial but viral. It is much more virulent and can be spread by sneeze or cough or human touch. Like many viruses it can survive for several hours depending on the type of surface. This is the cruel irony of the current situation. People separate and isolated from those whom they love.


Matthew 25: 31-46

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Psalm 23

A Psalm of David.(in the King James Bible)

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


Faith has to be accompanied by works – if our faith is authentic then we will naturally live a life of service accompanied by good works. This includes being alongside people, especially when they are hurting, in pain or feeling alone.
What do you most miss during the lockdown?
In what ways do you feel the current situation has challenged your faith?


Remember the people isolated from loved ones.
Remember the people who yearn for human contact.
Remember the people who cannot visit loved ones in hospital or residential homes.
Remember the people who cannot attend funerals of a close friend or family member.
Remember all who serve in Jesus name for courage and insight in these troubling days.

Let us pray.

Lord, we are those who journey.
And who find that journey hard today.
We are those who journey.
And long to find our hope renewed.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Lord, whether in our own company or with companions beside us,
We journey on.
Whether sure, or unsure, as to our journey’s end,
Come beside us through the risen Lord.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for others;
For carers of the living and of the dying;
For the bereaved and for the anxious;
For those fearing loss of work and of business.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for scientists and researchers;
For those seeking to understand the challenge we face;
For those creating potential vaccines;
For those advising decision-makers.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for those who shape our common life:
In local Councils and in Scottish Government.
And in the Government of the United Kingdom.
Grant to them wisdom, compassion and understanding.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for your Kingdom to come.
And for your will to be done,
On earth. As it is in heaven.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

A prayer for hard times

I feel lost. Find me Lord, pull back the wreckage of my life so that I can breathe again. I feel abandoned. Embrace me Lord, cover my wounds with your healing love so that I might stand restored. I feel trapped. Cut the chains Lord, release me from the weights that drag me down. Come bring your freedom and hope. I am desperate, yet I seek you God, the one who conquered the darkness, The one who rose from death, the one who said, “follow me”! I will follow the brightness of your love. Even when it is all but a distant glimmer I will fix my eyes open it. I feel lost, yet I am found in that light. I feel abandoned, yet you are besides me. I feel trapped, yet you call me to freedom. I feel desperate, yet you lead me to peace. I draw near to you Lord Jesus.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. You will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.


May the grace of God uphold you,
the peace of God surround you,
the love of God flow from you
and the strength of God protect
and bring you safely through this day.

The Lord's my Shepherd (Stuart Townend)


Friday 1st May 2020

‘Our daily routine’


This is your day
and we shall praise you!
This is your day
and we shall declare your name!
This is your day,
and we shall worship
a risen Saviour and our King!


Today is the first of May, which in many countries is a public holiday. May Day is a spring festival – a reminder of the turning of season. The days are still getting longer and warmer. The birds are well into their nesting season. Whilst you can still glimpse snow on the northern corrie of Longnagar (if you are in the right location), the summer is almost upon us. (Will there be summer holidays this year?) Down in England, the May Day spring festival was celebrated with May Poles and Morris Dancing. Here is Scotland it was closely associated with the ancient festival of Beltane, recently resurrected as the Beltane Fire Festival on Carlton Hill in Edinburgh, which starts on the evening of April 30th and continues into the early hours of May Day.

Also associated with May Day is International Workers Day – a celebration of the working classes and labourers. In the Communist World this marked with massive military parades. Within the Roman Catholic tradition, 1 May is dedicated to "Saint Joseph the Worker". Joseph was of course Jesus ‘legal father’ and worked as a carpenter – a trade which we assume Jesus followed. Joseph is the patron saint of workers and craftsmen, among others.

Due to the pandemic caused by Covid19, most of these activities will not be taking place this year. Whilst the changing of the seasons continues unabated the routines of human life are stalled and hindered. Even the most routine aspects of our lives are mired in social distancing. No visits to hospitals or nursing homes. Grandparents unable to have contact with grandchildren. Bars, restaurants, pubs and cafes all closed. No wandering around the shops or garden centre. No communal activities. No golf or other sport. No going out for coffee. And no church. No personal pastoral visits, but phone calls. No communal worship. There isn’t even the sound of children playing in school playground or local park.


Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
John 2:1-11 - Jesus Changes Water Into Wine
2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[b]
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him

James 5:16

16 Therefore, make it your habit to confess your sins to one another and to pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.


One things I especially like about Jesus is the way he indulged in the daily routines of life. He wasn’t a religious ascetic who hid in the wilderness. He was an everyday Jesus – earthed and rooted in the lives of common people. He enjoyed socialising and chilling out with friends and joining celebrations like a wedding. The Bible records many extraordinary events in Jesus’ life, but must not forget that he too had his routines.

There are certain routines that are central to the Christian Life. Worship, prayer, reading and studying the Bible (so that our understanding of God increases and faith deepens) and loving our neighbours. The absence of these routines leads to a malnourished discipleship. As a consequence, we do not benefit from the ‘life in all its fullness’ that Jesus promised and the church becomes further weakened and enfeebled.

What are the routines of your faith?

Do you need to restore the place of Jesus in your daily life?
What routines do you miss the most?

Don’t forget, the lockdown will come to pass. Routines will be restored. Communal life will begin again. In a little while the Kirk will reopen and will resonate with the worship and prayers of God people and the preaching of God’s work!


A Prayer of lament

Let us lament with all those who are touched by Covid19
Let us lament the cruelty of social isolation
Let us lament the fear and anxiety
Let us lament the social injustice in our land Let us lament the decline of the church and loss of faith Let us lament the loss of routine
Let us lament with the hearts broken by loss today
Let us lament all the lives cut short today
Let us lament, O God, and then let us rise from our knees to work for change.
In the name of Christ, the prince of peace. Amen.

Father God,

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.

May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those children who will go hungry with no school meals.

May we who have to cancel our trips remember those with no place to go.

May we who are merely losing some money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no money at all.

May we who settle in for quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country let us choose love. During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbour.

Through Jesus Christ our Saviour, whose arms of love embrace us all.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. You will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.


May the love of Jesus Christ
bring us wholeness,
the grace of God the Father
grant us peace,
the breath of Holy Spirit
instil passion
and the unity between them
give us strength
for this and every day.

Morning has broken