Moderator of the General Assembly delivers prayer for harmony to the nation on Sunday

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will lead the nation in a prayer appealing for harmony this Sunday morning, whatever the outcome of next Thursday's independence referendum.

The Rt Rev John Chalmers will deliver his sermon live on BBC Radio 4's Sunday Worship which will be broadcast from St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh. He will say it is time for the people of Scotland to make their choice, but remember we must continue to live with each other once the result is known.

Quoting Elijah in the Book of Kings, the Moderator will say it is time for the undecided to come down from the fence no matter how difficult they may find it to make their choice. Mr Chalmers will tell the congregation, and those listening at home, to join him in making their own decision on Scotland's "Yes/No question" the subject of their prayers, just as all important life decisions should be decided upon.

The Moderator will say "It will be hard, because I'm one of those people who has spent a lifetime trying to see both sides of every argument, trying to work out complicated "middle ways" that keep as many people as possible content, but I'm not going to get away with that this week. On this issue like the people of Israel standing before Elijah I need to come off the fence."

Reflecting upon St Paul's prayer for harmony in Jesus Christ, he will say it is a prayer also for the nation. He will urge people to be part of shaping their future, always guided by love, knowing then that they have much less to fear even if the outcome does not reflect their choice. He will say that for people of faith, it should be enough to know that God will go with us into that future.

Speaking of the neutral voice the Church of Scotland has maintained throughout the referendum campaign, Mr Chalmers will praise the tremendous engagement in the referendum debate of the Church's 400,000 members and the wider population. He will say:

'The real success of next Thursday will be that, whatever the outcome, every voice will continue to play its part in shaping the kind of Scotland that people in Scotland vote for. We cannot afford to lose the momentum and interest in Scottish civic life which this campaign has generated.'

More information on the Moderator's thoughts on achieving unity following the vote can be found on the Church of Scotland website.

The service, which is already full and not open to the public, will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 0810 on Sunday 14th September.

The full text of the Moderator's sermon will be available on the Church of Scotland website.

St Paul's prayer for harmony will be heard in a reading during the service this Sunday
"May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ".

Rt Rev John Chalmers will preach at the 11.30am publicservice in St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh on Sunday Sept 21stwhere he will call for commitment to unity of purpose. Theservice will be attended by leading political figures from the Yes and No campaigns.

The Church of Scotland is supporting an ecumenical initiative to encourage prayer, reflection and fasting before the referendum. It includes a call for churches to participate in a mass ringing of bells at noon this Sunday. You can read the letter setting out key messages for Sunday 14thand Wednesday 17th.

Your Kingdom Come letter