Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
Today is Good Friday
What Happened This Day?
Jesus endured false accusations, condemnation, mockery, beatings, and abandonment. Eventually he was sentenced to death by crucifixion, one of the most horrible and tortuous methods of capital punishment known at the time.
Before Jesus was led away, soldiers spit on him, tormented and mocked him, and pierced his head with a crown of thorns. Jesus initially carried his cross alone, but eventually was aided by Simon of Cyrene who was compelled to carry the cross for him to Calvary where, again, Jesus was mocked and insulted as Roman soldiers nailed him to the cross. He was crucified with two bandits, one on his right and one on his left.
The evangelists record Jesus saying various things from the cross. At the point of death, his final words were:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Matthew 27:46b; Mark 15:34b
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. Luke 23:46
It is finished. John 19:30
Later Jesus was taken down from the cross and hastily buried in a new tomb which had been hewn out of the rock. A stone was rolled against the tomb. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.
Friday’s events are recorded in Matthew 27:1-62, Mark 15:1-47, Luke 22:63-23:56, and John 18:28-19:42.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to setBook of Common Prayer, p. 282
your passion, cross, and death between your judgment and
our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and
grace to the living; pardon and rest to the dead; to your holy
Church peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life
and glory; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you
live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
“Way of the Cross” for Saint Stephen’s Congregation – Click on the following link to view the “Way of the Cross” presentation
Way Of the Cross
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.
For public health and government officials in our nation; grant them the strength and will to act swiftly and decisively, with wisdom and compassion in service to all. We pray especially for Donald, President of the United States, the Congress, Governors, elected officials in local municipalities, and Gary McCarthy, Mayor of Schenectady
For those on the Parish Prayer Chain: Leah, Kevin, Guiles Family, Nick, Joe.
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: Mark, the Guiles family, Cindi, Peter, Mary Frances, Debbie, and Joe.
For all the blessings of this life.
For Ruth T – today is her birthday! – 96 years!!
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: Medak (South India) & West Lango (Uganda)
For all who have died: especially Robert, Charles, Julia, Adele, Glenn and Clark.
For one another.
Something to share
Allison shared two off her poems for this day. Thank you Allison!!
Stations IAllison de Kanel
“Give us the father’s son,” we cried
and so the Son of the Father died.
The Lion of Judah picked up his cross
and went to his death like a man.
The Lamb of God picked up his cross
and went to his death as a man.
The Son of God picked up his cross and went to his death
as Adam did once, but this once, once for all.
So Lion and Lamb and God and Man lay down
(Is this the Peaceable Kingdom come at last?)
and stretched out his hands for the nails.
Not since Noah’s day has wood upheld
such a menagerie.
The raven was sent out and stayed away
unlike the dove who, flighty, like the wind,
came back to Noah twice, but then, the third time,
spurned his offered hand.
Perhaps she joined the raven then,
and circled with him overhead
until they saw the stretched out pierced hands
that waited for them both
upheld by different wood, upon a leafless tree,
while higher still above an eagle watched them all
with its keen eyes, then spiraled out of sight
of those below.
No leafy gift to bear back to the ark,
no cheery rainbow armistice with God,
but thorns and spear and rough cut wood
and women crying underneath this tree,
and gasping breath, and thunder overhead.
The raven and the dove were sent away
in hope of finding hope, and so they have.
God’s grace and mercy fruited on that tree
and bear us up like eagle’s wings, while
His breath breathes us in and out
with love and life.
He gives to us for us to give away.
“It is finished!”
So You say.
It has hardly begun.
Stations IIAllison de Kanel
Cold, this place, but dry
and airless, till the flurry
of activity and winding cloth
stirs air and dust both into motion.
Strong odors, too, of myrrh and spices,
itching at the nose while masking other,
all too human, scents.
(Doubtless through the tears
some poor soul tries to press away
a sneeze.) How many fail to hide their
trembling – fear and deep exhaustion from
the night and day now passing?
No one lingers. Now the men are pushing
at the stone, while women watch in silence,
save for groans from one who groaned before,
when pushing that poor body into life.
Then slip away, for soon those under orders
will approach in boredom, yawning
from a long and brutal day,
and take up station (there to fall asleep),
resenting an assignment meant to stop a pointless theft.
So too will they approach, unseen,
unseeable, those hosts of wondering angels
once again, not to sing Gloria – not just yet, at least –
but waiting for the earthquake still to come.
And it will come to wake the sleeping and the dead.
But not just yet.
There is a really deep well inside me. And in it dwells God. Sometimes I am there too. But more often stones and grit block the well, and God is buried beneath. Then he must be dug out again.From Etty: The Letters and Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941-1941, written during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Hillesum was killed at Auschwitz
One ought to be able to live without books, without anything. There will always be a small patch of sky above, and there will always be enough space to fold two hands in prayer. For once you have begun to walk with God, you need only keep on walking with him and all of life becomes one long stroll.
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)
Worship for Good Friday
Click on this post to view the National Cathedral live stream, Children’s Bible story and Fr. James’ Homily for Good Friday.
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.