Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Thursday, September 24, 2020

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,

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

Today’s Prayer

Show me what the attachments and cravings are, which hold me down below your level of total self-surrender, real love. Show me the things that lumber up my heart, so that it cannot be filled with your life and power. What are they? People? Ambitions? Interests? Comforts? Anxieties? Self-chosen aims?

Evelyn Underhill, 1941

Evelyn Underhill was an English Anglo-Catholic writer and pacifist known for her numerous works on religion and spiritual practice, in particular Mysticism and Worship. Her most valuable contribution to spiritual literature must surely be her conviction that the mystical life is not only open to a saintly few, but to anyone who cares to nurture it and weave it into everyday experience, and also that modern psychological theories and discoveries, far from hindering or negating spirituality, can actually enhance and transform it. Evelyn Underhill was conferred with an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Aberdeen University and made a fellow of King’s College. She was the first woman to lecture the clergy in the Church of England as well as the first woman to officially conduct spiritual retreats for the Church.

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 those affected by the wildfires in the west and hurricanes in the Gulf : for those who are grieving the loss of homes, possessions and loved ones, that their safety and security may be restored.

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 all historical acts of injustice and oppression: especially those perpetuated against native, Black, Hispanic and various Asian Americans in this abundant land, that we may recognize racism in ourselves, in our church, in our society, and the times we have failed to take action.

For those on the Parish Prayer Chain:  Luca, Brittney, Mary Alice, Mia, Wim, Corrie, Doris, Judy, Anne, Louise, Gertrude, Laurel and Greg.

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.

Members who request our prayers for strength and healing: Sid, Jean, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie and Joe.

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  Panyana (South Sudan), Central Solomons (Melanesia), Central Tanganyika (Tanzania).

For all who have died:  especially Kathryn, Reuben, Timothy, Dennis, Elsie, Rober, Dorothy and Helen.

For one another.

Crown of Pain

We wear it like a scar
often hidden from public view
as though a mark of shame.

We wear it with a stoic smile
we hardly feel our own, for even
a simple smile is not without effort.

It erodes our countenance
like the rush of scouring waters
on a hillside; it claws

at our peace of mind
until it tears the skin of our patience
and draws blood from our despair.

It is, for reasons that still elude us,
the co-conspirator with the night, asserting
its presence with greater insistence.

It turns each day into
an unwanted journey rather than
a pleasant walk.

It is warfare for which we have
no protective armor, no defenses,
no allies, except endurance.

It is an endless encounter
bravely fought, never won,
never conquered. It is that

unwanted heroism we grudgingly
condescend to wear –
more a crown of thorns than laurel.

Maurice Rigoler

News & Updates

Carole Merrill-Mazurek gives an update concerning SICM:

The pantry is in desperate need of volunteers, duties would include sorting food and packing food boxes. They have strict guidelines in place to protect guests and volunteers. Anyone interested can call and ask to speak to Laura, the volunteer coordinator.

The pantry is in need of feminine hygiene products.

St. Joseph’s House cannot distribute sandwiches at this time, but expressed appreciation for the lunch ministry that St. Stephen’s offered. I spoke to Sr Anne & Sr Lynn yesterday & they need assistance in providing help for their guests, warm gloves, thermal shirts & grocery gift cards will help them get through the cold months.

Donations for either SICM or St. Joseph’s Place can be individually dropped off: 839 Albany St, Schenectady, NY 12307  call first:  (518) 346-4445

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.

If you need a prayerbook, and are not in a position to purchase one, please contact me: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com. I will make sure you have your own Book of Common Prayer. 

Prayerbook 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 linkjames.ross.mcd@gmail.com)

Our church campus is closed, except for our Eucharistic Ingathering on Sundays at 9:00 am.  Please see our website for further information: https://st-stephens.church/. All other 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,
he 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+