Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
“My soul magnifies the Lord,Luke 1:46-55
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Today is the Feast of the Visitation of Mary
Immediately following the Annunciation, Mary leaves Nazareth and “went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country.” (Luke 1:39) She visits her relative Elizabeth and her journey may have been 100 miles. Mary is to be the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth is to be the mother of John the Baptist. When the two expectant mothers meet, Luke portrays their encounter like something out of an opera. It is the height of drama. Elizabeth, overcome with the Holy Spirit, exclaims praise for Mary and her unborn child. Mary, in reply, sings the Magnificat, the prayer above. Mary stays with Elizabeth for three months, presumably until John the Baptist’s birth, and then returns home.
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: 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 and Bruce.
For those who are homebound: Stephen, Pauline, Joan, Janet and Marilyn.
Our Government Leaders: Donald Trump, President of the United States; Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State; Gary McCarthy, Mayor of Schenectady
Our Church Leaders: Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, William Love, and Daniel Herzog our bishops; James and Dennie our priests; Pat our deacon and Allison our Lay Reader
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, Joe, Matt and Lisa.
For Bill – today is his birthday!
For Frank – today is his baptismal anniversary!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: Nebraska (The Episcopal Church, (South Sudan), Irele – Eseodo (Nigeria).
For all who have died: especially George, Carl and Elizabeth.
For one another.
Something to share
About 1000 years before Mary, her ancestor Hannah prayed for a child. Her prayer was heard and she became the mother of the prophet Samuel. On the day she dedicated and left her son to the Lord at the Temple of Shiloh, Hannah prayed the following prayer, perhaps Mary knew by heart:
“My heart exults in the Lord;1 Samuel 2:1-10
my strength is exalted in my God.
There is no Holy One like the Lord, no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed.”
News & Updates
A Time To Mourn – I invite you to come together this noon. If you are able and if you are willing, please gather in front of St Stephen’s, wearing masks and maintaining appropriate spatial distancing. At noon our bell will ring 6 times for the 6 minutes George Floyd was conscious under the police officer’s knee, pleading for his life. Then, we will switch and toll the bell to mark the death of 100,000 people in the U.S. from COVID-19. After the bell tolling, our organist, Susan Lohnas, will play music of lament with all church windows open. That’s it. Then we leave in silence.
Community Discussion – Racially charged issues never go away; every now and then it makes the news. But it is time to learn how to be an ANTIRACIST. Schenectady Clergy Against Hate invites you to read Ibram X. Kendi’s book “How To Be An Antiracist” and then join us for a community discussion on Monday June 15 at 7 pm. Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 974 9629 2939
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: firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you did not receive a phone call in the last few weeks from a member of the Vestry and you would like to be added to the communication list, please let me know (email@example.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!
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.