Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Saturday, October 3, 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

Eternal God, spread over us your sheltering peace. Surround us with your radiance, and open our hearts that we may feel your abundance. Let there be food and drink for all who hunger and thirst.

To this meal we summon sublime guests, our symbolic companions in this festival meal. Welcome Abraham and Sarah! May we be strengthened by your spirit of adventure and by the courage of your convictions. AMEN.

You shall observe the festival of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year. 

 Exodus 34:22

You shall live in booths for seven days; all that are citizens in Israel shall live in booths,  so that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.       

Leviticus 23:42-43

Today begins Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles or the Festival of Shelters, and known also as the Feast of Ingathering!

Sukkot is a biblical Jewish holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month, Tishrei (varies from late September to late October). The holiday lasts seven days in Israel and eight elsewhere. A sukkah, i.e. a “booth” or “tabernacle” is the name of the temporary dwelling in which farmers would live during harvesting. There is a double significance to this holiday. According to Exodus 34:22 it marks the end of the harvest time. Leviticus 23:42-43, however, provides for an elaborate religious significance, commemorating the Exodus and the dependence of the Israelites on the will of God.

Throughout the week meals are eaten in the Sukkah to which heavenly guests, such as Abraham and Sarah are invited to attend, and qualities of these guests which you wish to embody are named in their honor as part of the prayers.

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 wild fires in the west: 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:  Sylvia, Irene, Jeanne, Chris, Theresa, Emily, Bridget, Josh, Amy, Sid, Edwina and her husband, Donald, Mark.

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: Budd, Sid, Jean, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For Harry & Kabby– today is their birthday!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  Peshawar (Pakistan), Chotanagpur (North India), Koforidua (West Africa).

For all who have died:  especially Ronald, Robert, Harry, Lawrence, Ralph.

For one another.

Something to share

Succoth

After the last blast of the shofar
and the hard fast, the promises
and prayers for a good year,

it takes us by surprise
when we are in the season
of apples and honey cakes
and wine, when we eat in huts
open as birds to the stars,

it takes us by surprise
to see a swastika
drawn on the wall of the shul,
painted red and razor sharp
the women whisper,
there can be no mistake.
They know the sign.

It makes me think
we have been found out
although we’ve been here
for years, our candles shining
at the windows, the smell of challah,
the bittersweet sounds of Shabbos songs
escaping from out the windows and doors
and into the streets between the bridge
and the old brick church.

It takes us by surprise
and yet the trouble is so old
it echoes in my blood
with the sound of my grandfather
climbing the stairs of a building
on the lower east side
and pressed against the wall
by someone with a knife
who held the blade
against his neck and said,
“Swear, swear you are not a Jew,
and I will let you free!”
And from my grandfather who refused
just as they were both surprised
by an angel in disguise who opened a door
in that long, dark hall,
I learned never to be too much in love
with a roof over my head,
that houses are made of sticks and glass,
that they break like the works of our hands,
and that we should be ready to fly
up into the night with parcels and children
and scrolls under our arms
on the back of the wind.

Roberta Chester from Light Years (Puckerbrush Press, 1982)

News & Updates

Tomorrow morning October 4th at 9:00am, join us for the celebration of Holy Eucharist at Saint Stephen’s Church.  To help you understand what to expect please click on this link:

Tomorrow morning, October 4th  at 11:15am, join us for the celebration of Holy Eucharist live-streamed from the National Cathedral.  This is another way in which we can worship together albeit remotely. All you have to do is click on the link below, and it should take you to the service.

Keeping with our tradition of blessing our best friends, this Sunday, October 4th at 1pm, we are going the dogs (and cats and any other of God’s creatures who participate) on the church front lawn. All are welcome. Masks and distancing will be maintained.

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.