Sunday prayers continue across the Church of Scotland

This Sunday (8 August), Christians across the country, as well as further afield, will join together in prayer and reflection at 7pm in response to the pandemic.

A cross at dawn

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.

"As the statistics appear to move in a hopeful direction, 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:

"Beware of Imitations!" We are, no doubt, aware of the saying and the implication that we should steer clear of that which is a copy of the real thing. Indeed, in many cases that is wise advice as certain imitations are but a pale shadow of the real thing. On the other hand, we see how a child learns by example and by imitating the behaviour of others. If the example is a good one, the behaviour that follows as a result of imitation will likewise be good.

In the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians, we are urged to become imitators of the good. Indeed, we are urged to 'be imitators of God'. As those who, by the grace of God, have received the gift and seal of the Holy Spirit, we are called to 'live in love, as Christ loved us'. As we do so, we become 'imitators of God' by the way in which we forgive others, 'as God in Christ has forgiven' us. (Ephesians 4: 25-5:2)

We pray:

Gracious God,
In Christ you offer to us forgiveness
And you seal us by your Spirit.
Grant to us that we might become
True imitators of the way of love revealed in Christ
And so represent you to the world.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
In Christ you offer to us forgiveness
And you seal us by your Spirit.
Grant us strength
To put aside all that does not reflect your life
And to learn the ways of kindness and forgiveness.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
In Christ you offer to us forgiveness
And you seal us by your Spirit.
Grant us wisdom
To always build up that which is good
And to bring healing in a broken and divided world.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
In Christ you offer to us forgiveness
And you seal us by your Spirit.
Grant us integrity
To always speak the truth
And to offer words that are gracious to those who hear.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
In Christ you offer to us forgiveness
And you seal us by your Spirit.
Grant to us that, at the last,
We have become true imitators of the way of love revealed in Christ
And so represented you to the world.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.