Daily Devotional reflections

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

Tuesday 21st July 2020

 ‘The high places’


Last week, I took full advantage of the easing of the lockdown and headed to the hills, although it appeared that many thousands of other people had the same idea! I have never seen Braemar so busy. Even the Linn of Dee was crowded. Wild campers filled the nearby meadows and there was not a single parking place to be found. Undaunted and with a couple of good friends from Edinburgh, we still ascended to the high places. Glas Maol and Creag Leacach being the first two Munros completed by Melville my eighteen-month old Golden Retriever. Hopefully the first of many!


Psalm 121
A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.


Psalm 121 is one of the most popular in the Psalter. It is one of fifteen psalms which have the title ‘A Song of ascents.’ In their original context it is thought it is though these psalms were sung by the Levites at the Temple in Jerusalem. It is also possible that it was sung by pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem for the three pilgrimage festivals. Psalm 121 is one of the best example. At the beginning of the pilgrimage, in the mountainous region of the Judean Hills, the pilgrim makes sure the Lord's help. The one who trusts in the Lord is certain that He will bring him protection day and night. Prayer moves from the first to the second person in verse 3, and even takes the form of a blessing in verses 7 and 8. This will conclude the prayer of different singers by the prospect of change.

Over the next few days we are going to gradually explore this psalm in some detail. As I write these words, I have no clear thoughts in my mind as to where these reflections will take us. Perhaps this is as it should be. In the same way as the pilgrims meandered through the hills and mountains of ancient Israel on their way to worship in the temple, may God enrich and nourish our faith and maybe even throw up one or two surprises on the way!

Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church


The solace and hope of Psalm 121 sometimes seems elusive.
Let us pause and reflect on the help our Lord offers.

I lift up my eyes to the hills –
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
Lord, help us to lift our eyes up to you that we would look to you for help and strength. When we focus our eyes on ourselves or on the comforts of this world, draw our eyes back to you.
God in your mercy: Lord, hear our prayer.

God will not let your foot be moved;
God who keeps you will not slumber.
God who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
Even as we grow weary, Lord, we know that you do not. Sometimes the help you offer us is an invitation to rest. Too often we refuse this gift saying, “There is no time!” May we not forget that like the heaven and the earth, time is also your creation.

The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
Lord, you are always with us, and all of our circumstances are under your control and authority. When the sun seems too hot please lead us to the shade you offer. When the night-time seems too dark, help us find the light by which you guide us.

The LORD will keep you from all evil;
the LORD will keep your life.
Lord, you protect our soul and our eternity belongs to you. You were I AM before us and you will be I AM after we are no longer here. There is nowhere we can go that you are not. Help us to trust. Help us to be faithful. Help us to truly know you.

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in
from this time on and forevermore.
In the entirety of our lives and the briefness of our moments; in our living and our dying; in our joy and our sorrow; in scarcity and abundance may we always lift our eyes to you, O Lord.

Lord… our help, maker of heaven and earth.
Lord… who does not sleep.
Lord… who provides both shade and light.
Lord… keeper of our life: our going out, our coming in.
Lord… who keeps us.
I lift up my eyes to the hills –
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

(Rev Michelle Henrichs)

In times of weakness and hour of need,
yours is the strength by which we carry on,
the shoulder we rest our head upon.
When our load is heavy and too much to bear,
yours are the arms stretched out to help us
the grace that we depend on.
In times of weakness and hour of need,
your voice is heard,
‘Come… find rest.’
This is grace divine,
the path we tread to wholeness
of body and spirit,
the path that leads to you,
and for which we offer our offering of praise

In our prayers today, let us remember…

The people we love, especially those going through difficult times.
The people we do not know, whose suffering is silent and unknown.
The church - as we begin prepare and plan to reopen that it will not be a return to buisness as usual, but a time of spiritual renewal.
Ourselves – for a closer walk with Jesus

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
you will be done,
on earth as 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.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
now and forever.


So now we leave this space of worship
And while so much of the road ahead is uncertain,
the path constantly changing,
we know some things that are as solid and sure
as the ground beneath our feet,
and the sky above our heads.
We know God is love.
We know Christ’s light endures.
We know the Holy Spirit this there,
found in the space between all things,
closer to us than our next breath,
binding us to each other,
until we meet we again,
Go in peace.