Scottish churches issue call for Sunday prayer

This Sunday (9 May), Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

Bible

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 Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part alongside them.

"Too often, different parts of the Christian Church have allowed themselves to become distant from one another. They've looked at certain doctrinal or liturgical matters in different ways and have allowed those differences to become divisive," Dr Fair said.

"But we can, and should, all pray together. And when we do, we find that some of these differences that seemed important begin to diminish in significance.

"Through the pandemic we have prayed each Sunday evening at 7pm and we've done it together. We've been united in praying for the country and in praying for the life and mission of the whole Church.

"Jesus' final prayer when with his disciples was, ‘My prayer for all those who believe in me is that they shall be one.'

"We've demonstrated that by our shared prayer. Let it continue to be so."

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

"In the Gospel of John, the ‘new commandment' to ‘love one another' transforms the idea of a ‘commandment'. In fulfilling the ‘new commandment', we are called to give of ourselves in order that we might follow the pattern and example of Jesus. We love because we have first of all been loved, and to do so is a mark that we are a disciple of Jesus. (John 13: 34-35)

"The ‘commandment' to ‘love one another' is taken up again in the Gospel and we see that the love of Jesus expressed to us is a love that flows from God: ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.'

"As an illustration of the ‘commandment', Jesus says: ‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.' To be loved by God, though Jesus, is to be changed by the experience of being loved. As we are embraced and affirmed, we are changed and called a ‘friend' of the One who has loved us and given His life for us. (John 15: 9-17)

"In our fragile world, we are called to follow the pattern of Jesus and to love because we ourselves have first been loved."

We pray:

Living God,
You call us to love because we have first of all been loved.
May we know that love abides in you
And is expressed in your love for the world.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
You call us to love because we have first of all been loved.
May we know the depth of your love
In the contemplation of the life and death and resurrection of your Son.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
You call us to love because we have first of all been loved.
May we hear the call to live by a new commandment
And so bear the mark of a disciple.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
You call us to love because we have first of all been loved.
May we know what it is to be embraced and affirmed
And called a friend of the One who has given his life for us.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
You call us to love because we have first of all been loved.
May we, who have been embraced and affirmed,
Reach out to the lonely that they might know true friendship.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Living God,
You call us to love because we have first of all been loved.
May we know the abiding presence of your love
In the life we share in the community of the Risen and Ascended Lord.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Signed by:

  • Rt. Rev. Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
  • Most Rev. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Roman Catholic Church
  • Most Rev. Mark Strange, Primus, on behalf of the College of Bishops, Scottish Episcopal Church
  • Rev. John Fulton, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Donnie G. MacDonald, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland
  • Rev. Paul Whittle, Moderator, United Reformed Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Martin Hodson, General Director, Baptist Union of Scotland
  • Rev. Mark Slaney, District Chair, Methodist Church (Scotland)
  • Rev. Thomas R. Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland
  • Lt. Col. Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
  • Adwoa Bittle, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Rev. Claire Fender, District Superintendent, British Isles North District, Church of the Nazarene
  • Pastor Chris Gbenle, Provincial Pastor, Province of Scotland, Redeemed Christian Church of God
  • Bishop Francis Alao, Church of God (Scotland)/Minority Ethnic Churches Together in Scotland (MECTIS)
  • Rev Fred Drummond, Director, Evangelical Alliance (Scotland)