Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayer – Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today’s Prayer

Give us grace, almighty Father, to address thee with all our hearts as well as with our lips. Thou art everywhere present: from thee no secrets can be hidden. Teach us to fix our thoughts on thee, reverently and with love, so that our prayers are not in vain, but are acceptable to thee, now and always; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jane Austen, 1817

Jane Austen was an English novelist, best known for her six major novels, which interpret, critique, and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen’s plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favorable social standing and economic security. What kind of Christian was Jane Austen? She was the daughter and sister of clergy. She grew up in a family that practiced their faith through regular worship and by helping people in need. From her surviving letters, one learns that she and her sister often sewed or provided clothing for her father’s parishioners. When she died at the age of 41, she was given the honor of a burial at Winchester Cathedral not because she was a novelist – her authorship was still anonymous at that time – but because of her exemplary life in her little corner of the world. This prayer is her only prayer that has survived. There may have been others. Jane Austen’s faith may not call attention to itself in her novels, but it is “everywhere present” in her work, just like the love of God.

From Our Prayers of the People

Today, let’s pray:

Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they have access to medical care and regain their strength and health; grant them your healing grace. Give strength to all who are caring for loved ones.

For our Government Leaders: Donald Trump, President of the United States; Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State; Gary McCarthy, Mayor of Schenectady

For those on the frontline:  police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety.

For those on the Parish Prayer Chain:  Mary Frances, Clark, Jim, Eunice, Mason, Jane and Bruce.

For those who are homebound: Stephen, Pauline, Joan, Janet and Marilyn.

Those who are imprisoned: especially the women in the Schenectady County Jail.

For those in need of healing: Cindi, Peter, Mary Frances, Debbie, Budd and Joe.

For all the blessings of this life.

For Paul D and Harper G –  today is their birthday!

For Vicki H –  today is her baptismal anniversary!                            

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: Mbhashe (Southern Africa) and Wernyol (South Sudan).

For all who have died:  especially Sara, William, Emma, Dorothy, Glenn and Clark.

For one another.

Something to share

And the people stayed home. And read books
and listened, and rested and exercised, and
made art and played games, and learned new
ways of being and were still. And listened more
deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some
danced. Some met their shadows. And the
people began to think differently. And the
people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in
Ignorant, dangerous, mindless and heartless
ways the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people
joined together again, they grieved their losses,
and made new choices, and dreamed new
images, and created new ways to live and heal
the earth fully, as they had been healed.

Kitty O’Meara

Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern.  Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise.

Rabbi Yosaf Kanefsky

Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!

Kalidasa

There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmer light, a hidden wholeness. . .
There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fountain of action and of joy.
It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being.

John Howard Griffin, A Hidden Wholeness, The Visual World of Thomas Merton

News and Updates

Count Each Person in Census 2020!  Our divinely granted dignity demands equal recognition of our belief that , “We believe that all people, regardless of race, religion, or immigration status, are made in God’s image…” When we participate in the Census, we claim our God-given dignity and declare that we are here. The Census only happens once a decade and it is our opportunity to declare that we are here. Unfortunately, too many of us are not counted which results in less funding for our local schools and hospitals. $800 billion of federal funds are distributed based on who is counted in the Census, so there’s a lot at stake! Our political representation is determined by how many people in our community are counted in the Census. When our neighbors are not counted it weakens our collective voice to make change.

Reminders                                 

If you did not receive a phone call this last week from a member of the Vestry and you would like to be added to the communication list, please let me know (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com) and share with me the best telephone number(s) where we can reach you. We will add you to the list right away.

If you have an update/news, a prayer or poem or something inspirational you would like us to share with the congregation, please send it to us. Please also send us any prayer requests. We will incorporate these into the Morning Prayers as best we can.

Our church campus is closed. All parish meetings and gatherings are canceled and postponed until further notice.

Be careful what you read online. There are reports of false information circulating in an attempt to create fear and confusion. And, God forbid, always remember – any online or texted-based solicitation from me for money is A SCAM. Do not reply to such messages. Delete them.

Our goal is for all of us to stay in touch and connected in this time of isolation.

Share this news, and spread some love, not the virus!

Be of good courage. We are in this together, and we will be together again soon. God bless you and may God be with us in the days ahead.

Peace,

James+