Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Thursday, April 23, 2020

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,

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

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Today’s Prayer

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

Oh, may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And guard us through all ills in this world, till the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given,
The Son, and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven—
The one eternal God, Whom earth and Heav’n adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Martin Rinckart, 1649

Martin Rinckart, the son of a poor coppersmith, studied at the University of Leipzig, where he supported himself through hard work and his musical gifts. He was later ordained and at the age of thirty-one became Archdeacon at his native town of Eilenburg in Saxony. He went there just as the Thirty Years War began, and died just after the peace.

Throughout his 31 year tenure he stood by his flock and helped them to the utmost under every kind of distress. The plague of 1637 ravaged the area of Eilenburg – thousands died, including a terrible number of school children and most of the clergy. Rinckart ministered to the sick and the dying and buried more than 4,000 persons.

A famine quickly followed the plague. Rinckart gave away everything he owned, saving only the barest rations for his family. His door was surrounded by the poor and the starving, who found it their only refuge. So great were Rinckart’s own losses and hardship that he suffered tremendous difficulty in finding bread and clothes for his own children, and was forced to mortgage his future income for several years.

And yet, given all these calamities, how little his spirit was broken is shown clearly through his best known hymn: Now thank we all our God. Despite all he experienced and all he suffered, Rinckart’s was a spirit of unbounded trust in God and a readiness to always give thanks.

From Our Prayers of the People

Today, let’s pray:

For the just and proper use of your creation; for the victims of hunger, fear, injustice, and oppression.

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 all essential workers; for 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:  Ted, Mia, Wim, Hugh, Debby, Sylvia and Ian.

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: Cindi, Peter, Mary Frances, Debbie and Joe.

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: Moray, Ross & Caithness (Scotland), Windward Islands (West Indies), Wondurba (South Sudan)

For all who have died:  especially Jennifer, James, Lorraine, George, Ronald Jr., John and Sarah.

For one another.

Something to share

When it seemed there was no hope
you showed us new ways forward, O God.
When it seemed there were only endings
You showed us new beginnings.
Strengthen our belief in the power of life over death.
Strengthen our belief in the force of truth over falsehood
that we may be bearers of hope in the world,
that we may be bearers of hope.

J. Philip Newell from “Celtic Treasures”

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

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+