Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
Today is Monday in Holy Week
What Happened This Day?
The next morning (the Monday following Palm Sunday), Jesus returned with his disciples to Jerusalem. Along the way, he cursed a fig tree because it had failed to bear fruit.
When Jesus arrived at the Temple, he found the courts full of corrupt money changers. He began overturning their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.” (Luke 19:46).
On Monday evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Monday’s events are recorded in Matthew 21:12–22, Mark 11:15–19, Luke 19:45-48, and John 2:13-17.
Though the fig tree does not blossomHabakkuk 3:17-19a
and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails,
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold,
and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength
The Book of Habakkuk, composed probably in the late 7th century BCE, provides little direct information about the prophet, although in later Jewish tradition Habakkuk is identified as a Levite. The book is shaped by the powerful images of justice and injustice, confidence and doubt, salvation and judgment, God and humanity. Its message centers on the question of how can the violence and evil of the world possibly serve God’s purposes. Habakkuk, unlike most prophetic books, confronts God rather than presents the Divine confronting the people. In the concluding prayer (chapter 3) the prophet sees God’s intervention portrayed in cosmic terms. Habakkuk’s repeated complaints and questions find their answer in the affirmation “God, the Lord, is my strength” (3:19a).
From Our Prayers of the People
Today, let’s pray:
For the peace and unity of the Church of God; for all who proclaim the Gospel, and all who seek the truth.
For all affected by the coronavirus around the world. For comfort and healing for all who are affected by the Coronavirus, and for physicians, nurses, and all others who minister to the sick and the suffering, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.
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 Parish Prayer Chain: Mary Frances, Jim, Eunice, Jane, Bruce, Pauline.
For those who are homebound: Stephen, Pauline, Joan, Janet and Marilyn.
Those who are imprisoned: those particularly vulnerable at this time, especially the women in the Schenectady County Jail.
For those in need of healing: the Guiles family, Cindi, Peter, Mary Frances, Debbie, Budd and Joe.
For all the blessings of this life.
For Joanne F – today is her baptismal anniversary!
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: Meru (Kenya), West Malaysia (South East Asia), Idaho (The Episcopal Church)
For all who have died: especially Robert, Charles, Julia, Adele, Glenn and Clark.
For one another.
Something to share
The MiracleBoris Pasternak
He was walking from Bethany to Jerusalem,
Brooding over sad premonitions.
The sun scorched the slope’s prickly shrubs.
No smoke was rising over a nearby hut,
The air was hot and the reeds motionless,
And the calm of the Dead Sea lay still.
And with a bitterness rivaling the sea’s,
He walked with a small throng of clouds
Along a dusty road, to somebody’s backyard,
On His way to a gathering of disciples.
And so immersed was He in His thoughts,
That the field, dejected, sent off a wormwood smell.
All was still. He stood alone in the midst of it,
While the land lay prostrate in swoon.
All became muddled, the heat, the desert,
The lizards, the springs, the streams.
A fig tree rose not too far off,
Fruitless, nothing but branches and leaves.
And He said to it: “Of what use are you?
What joy does your stupor bring me?
“I thirst and hunger, yet you stand barren,
My meeting you is joyless as granite.
O, how offensive and ungifted you are!
Remain as you are, then, till the end of time.”
A tremor of condemnation ran through the tree,
Like a spark of lightning down a rod.
The fig tree was reduced to ashes.
If only a moment of freedom had been given
To the leaves, the branches, roots, trunk,
The laws of nature could have intervened.
But a miracle is a miracle, and a miracle is God.
When we’re in confusion, in the midst of disorder,
It overtakes us instantly, by surprise.
News and Updates
Parish Morning Prayer in Zoom – each morning of Holy Week join Dennie and me for an inter-active service of Morning Prayer at 9 am. Time to bring your prayer concerns will be provided. (contact me for the link)
If you did not receive a phone call in the next few days from a member of the Vestry and you would like to be added to the communication list, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.