Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Wednesday, May 13, 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

From all lame defeats and oh! much more
From all the victories that I seemed to score;
From cleverness shot forth on thy behalf,
At which, while angels weep, the audience laugh;
From all my proofs of thy divinity,
Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver me.

Thoughts are but coins. Let me not trust, instead
Of thee, their thin-worn image of thy head.
From all my thoughts, even from my thoughts of thee,
O thou fair silence, fall, and set me free.
Lord of the narrow gate and the needle’s eye,
Take from me all my trumpery lest I die.

C.S. Lewis, 1963

“You must make your choice,” C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity. “Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up as a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.”

Lewis did not always believe this. Early in life he rejected Christianity, but after serving in World War I, as he started a long academic career in medieval and renaissance literature at Oxford and Cambridge, he also began an inner journey that led him from atheism to agnosticism to theism and finally to faith in Jesus Christ.

He became widely known through his radio talks and popular books as one who could explain traditional Christian beliefs in a simple, rational way; they helped many to come to faith and strengthened the faith of new Christians. His Narnia books for children use the extended metaphor of Aslan the lion to represent Christ, and the space-travel collection also uses fiction to convey Christian truth.

Regarding his own conversion Lewis wrote: “I know very well when, but hardly how, the final step was taken. I was driven to Whipsnade one sunny morning. When we set out, I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo, I did.”

From Our Prayers of the People

Today, let us 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:  Mary Frances, Jim, Eunice, Jane, Bruce, Pauline, John, Sabrina and Jim.

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, Mary Frances, Debbie and Joe.

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: Zaria (Nigeria).

For all who have died:  especially Harry, Gwendolyn, Grant, Donald, John H. and David.

For one another.

Something to share

Footnote to All Prayers

He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable name, murmuring thou,
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing thou art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
Worshiping with frail images a folk-lore dream,
And all men in praying, self-deceived, address
The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
Thou in magnetic mercy to thyself divert
Our arrows, aimed unskillfully, beyond deserts;
And all men are idolators, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if thou take them at their word.
Take not, oh Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in thy great,
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.

C.S. Lewis

News and Updates

We came through! During Lent and Easter, St. Stephen’s raised $930 for Episcopal Relief & Development for a Children’s Care Package.  Thank you for your wonderful support! 

COVID-19 Response:  Episcopal Relief & Development is providing financial and technical support to partner organizations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The organization continues to be in close contact with partners in 44 countries, including the United States, to provide assistance for communities affected by the novel coronavirus.  If you would like more details on what they are doing, ask Richey W to send you their latest disaster response update or check out their website at episcopalrelief.org.

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.

Prayerbook Parish Morning Prayer in Zoom – each morning.  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: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com)

If you did not receive a phone call in the last few days 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.

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!

Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be at your back,
May the sun shine upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

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+