Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayer Saturday, April 11, 2020

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,

Today is Holy Saturday

What Happened This Day?

Jesus’ body lay in the tomb.

The authorities reached out to Pontius Pilate and requested that a guard of soldiers be posted at the tomb to prevent anyone from stealing Jesus’ body. They feared people falsely claiming that Jesus had been raised from the dead. Pilate agreed with this request and sent a guard of soldiers to make the tomb as secure as possible. They secured the tomb by sealing the stone.

It was also the Sabbath. The women, who followed Jesus and had witnessed everything that had happened to him, observed the sanctity of the Sabbath according to the commandment.

Saturday’s events are recorded in Matthew 27:62-66 and Luke 23:56b.

Today’s Prayer

In the midst of life we are in death;
of whom may we seek for succor,
but of thee, O Lord,
who for our sins art justly displeased?
Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty,
O holy and most merciful Savior,
deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.
Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts;
shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer;
but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty,
O holy and merciful Savior,
thou most worthy Judge eternal.
Suffer us not, at our last hour,
through any pains of death, to fall from thee.

Book of Common Prayer, p.484

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, 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

God Speaks: Night, You are Holy

Night, you are holy, Night, you are great, Night, you are beautiful,
Night of the great mantle.
Night, I love you and I greet you, and I glorify you, and you are my big daughter and my creature.
O beautiful night, night of the great mantle, daughter of the starry mantle,
You remind me, even me, you remind me of that great silence there was
Before I had opened up the floodgates of ingratitude,
And you announce to me, even me, you announce the great silence there will be
When I will have closed them.
O sweet, o great, o holy, o beautiful night, perhaps the holiest of my
daughters, night of the long robe, of the starry robe,
You remind me of that great silence there was in the world
Before the beginning of the reign of man.
You announce to me that great silence there will be
After the end of the reign of man, when I will have resumed my scepter.
And at times I think of it beforehand, for that man really makes a lot of noise.
But specially, Night, you remind me of that night,
And I shall remember it eternally:
The ninth hour had struck. It was in the land of my people Israel.
All was over. That enormous adventure.
From the sixth hour, there had been darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.
All was over. Let us not mention it any more. It hurts me.
That unbelievable coming down of my son among men,
In the midst of men,
When you think what they made of it,
Those thirty years during which he was a carpenter among men,
These three years during which he was a kind of preacher among men,
A priest,
Those three days during which he was a victim among men,
In the midst of men,
Those three nights during which he was a dead man among men,
In the midst of dead men,
Those centuries and centuries when he is a host among men.
All was over, that unbelievable adventure
By which I, God, have tied my arms for my eternity,
That adventure by which my Son tied my arms,
For eternally tying the arms of my justice, for eternally untying the arms of my mercy,
And against my justice inventing a new justice,
A justice of love, a justice of Hope. All was over.
That which was necessary. In the way that was necessary. In the way
my prophets had announced it. The veil of the temple was
rent in twain from top to bottom;
The earth did quake; the rock rents;
The graves were opened; and many of the bodies of the saints which slept arose.
And about the ninth hour, my Son uttered
The cry that will never be still. All was over. The soldiers returned to their barracks,
Laughing and joking because that duty was over,
One more guard duty they would not have to stand.
Only one centurion remained, with a few men,
A very small post to guard that unimportant gallows,
The gallows on which my Son was hanged.
A few women only had remained.
The mother was there.
And perhaps a few disciples too, and even so, one is not sure of that.
Now every man has the right to bury his son,
Every man on earth, if he has had the great misfortune
Not to have died before his son. And I alone, I, God,
Arms tied by that adventure,
I alone, at that moment, father after so many fathers,
I alone could not bury my son.
It was then, o night, that you came,
O my daughter, beloved among all, and I still see it, and I shall see that in my eternity.
It was then, o Night, that you came, and in a great shroud you buried
The centurion and his Romans,
The Virgin and the holy women,
And that mountain, and that valley on which evening was descending,
And my people Israel and the sinners, and together him who was dying, who had died for them,

And the men of Joseph of Arimathea who already were approaching,

Bearing the white shroud.

Charles Péguy

Pause and Breathe 

While this is a global event like most of us have never experienced before, it’s not the only global disaster in the history of humankind.  And yet, this is a crisis. It’s a crisis about breath – that’s what people with COVIC-19 struggle and some die from – the inability to breathe.  In Hebrew, there are two words for breath: ne-shema and ruach, which is often used to describe God’s breathe of spirit.
Perhaps, as painful as this global crisis is for many of us, and as sacrificial as this pandemic will be for some of us, COVID-19 is imposing a necessary pause so that humanity, along with the rest of creation, can catch our collective breath as we reconnect to God’s breath. 

The Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke recall that at the crucifixion, “Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.”  Today, Christ is crying aloud as our brothers and sisters with COVID-19 take their last breaths. And what might the beloved child of God be saying to us?  People of earth, humankind, you need to slow down, you need to pause, your old way of life is dying so that you may be born into a new life.  The good of this will be the new life that you, and I, and other around the globe decide to live.

excerpt of Good Friday Video for The American Cathedral in Paris, The Very Rev. Tracy Lind

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)

Today – The Great Vigil of Easter – 9:00  pm  In the absence of the Great Vigil of Easter, all are invited to ring bells, wherever you are, to proclaim vigorously and boldly the beginning of the Easter season and to give thanks for the Lord’s Resurrection.

Reminders                                

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.

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+