Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Friday, October 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!

Today’s Prayer

Grant, O God, that, following the example of your servant

James the Just, brother of our Lord, your Church may give

itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all

who are at variance and enmity; through Jesus Christ our

Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one

God, now and for ever. Amen.

 Book of Common Prayer, p.245

Today is the Feast of St. James of Jerusalem

Saint James, who is also known as James, The Lord’s Brother, (died AD 62, Jerusalem), was a Christian apostle, according to St. Paul, although not one of the original Twelve Apostles. He was leader of the Jerusalem Christians, who with Saints Peter and John the Evangelist is one of “the pillars of the church.”

Confusion has arisen over his identity because he has often been mistaken for St. James, son of Alphaeus. Exactly what the biblical Galatians 1:19 means by designating him “the Lord’s brother” is also uncertain, although he is mentioned elsewhere in the Gospels as one of Jesus’ four brothers (Mark 6:3; Matthew 13:55). Various theories have been forwarded that James and Jesus were brothers (after Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria), stepbrothers (after Origen, among others), or cousins (after St. Jerome).

James evidently was not a follower of Jesus during his public ministry. Paul attributes James’s later conversion to the appearance of Christ resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:7). Three years after Paul’s conversion, James was an important leader in the Jerusalem church (Galatians 1:18–19), where he assumed even more significance after King Herod Agrippa I of Judaea in about AD 44 beheaded the Apostle St. James, son of Zebedee, and after Peter fled from Jerusalem (Acts 12:1–17). He was the chief spokesman for the Jerusalem church at the Council of Jerusalem regarding Paul’s mission to the Gentiles (Acts 15:13) and final visit to Jerusalem (Acts 21:18).

Later tradition records that James was called “the Just” and was noted for his maintaining of Jewish law. Though opposing those Jewish Christians who demanded that Gentile Christians submit to Jewish Law, including circumcision, he believed Jewish Christians should continue loyalty to Jewish practice and piety, as he did himself. Tradition holds that James suffered a martyr’s death, either by stoning or by being thrown from a Temple tower. The early church designates him the first bishop of Jerusalem, though the title is not used in the New Testament.

James is the patron saint of the dying; pharmacists; fullers, those who clean, shrink, and thicken cloth; and hat-makers.

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 and Hurricane Delta in the south: 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:  Charles, Joe, Debbie, Cindi, Doug, Hugh, Debby, Joan, Hank, Joan, Craig, Charles and Audrey, Stephanie, Joan, Budd.

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,  Jean, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  Recife (Brazil) The Rt Revd João Cancio Peixoto.

Cuttack (North India).

For all who have died:  especially Marilyn, Winifred, Norman, Sidney.

For one another.

Something to share

Let all mortal flesh keep silence

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,

And with fear and trembling stand;

Ponder nothing earthly-minded,

For with blessing in His hand,

Christ our God to earth descendeth,

Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,

As of old on earth He stood,

Lord of lords, in human vesture,

In the Body and the Blood;

He will give to all the faithful

His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven

Spreads its vanguard on the way,

As the Light of light descendeth

From the realms of endless day,

That the powers of hell may vanish

As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six-winged seraph,

Cherubim with sleepless eye,

Veil their faces to the presence,

As with ceaseless voice they cry:

“Alleluia, Alleluia,

Alleluia, Lord Most High!”

Hymnal 1982, #324; Liturgy of St. James

A Season of Prayer: For an Election

O Lord our Governor, bless the leaders of our land, that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth. Lord, keep this nation under your care.

To the President and members of the Cabinet, to Governors of States, Mayors of Cities, and to all in administrative authority, grant wisdom and grace in the exercise of their duties.  Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

To Senators and Representatives, and those who make our laws in States, Cities, and Towns, give courage, wisdom, and foresight to provide for the needs of all our people, and to fulfill our obligations in the community of nations. Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

To the Judges and officers of our Courts give understanding and integrity, that human rights may be safeguarded and justice served. Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

And finally, teach our people to rely on your strength and to accept their responsibilities to their fellow citizens, that they may elect trustworthy leaders and make wise decisions for the well-being of our society; that we may serve you faithfully in our generation and honor your holy Name. For yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Amen.

–    The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations

Bruce Tatge wrote:

For the past ten years we have enjoyed a bird bath with a pump that makes a little fountain. My health is such that I cannot properly care for it and we would like to offer it free to someone in the parish. The pump requires an electrical outlet. For more information, anyone interested can call me on 518-243-6227.

News and Updates

Interfaith Pre-Election Vigil – No matter our politics, we all know this year’s presidential election has been perhaps the most divisive in our lifetimes. Fears of violence and disputed results abound and sometimes, even the closest of families and communities have been fractured by political differences. That’s why Schenectady Clergy Against Hate are calling all members of our local faith communities, as well as all those of goodwill, to join us for a multi-faith and non-partisan evening of lamenting divisions, praying for nation and sharing word of hope. All interested can either join us “in the room” on Zoom or watch on Facebook at 

www.facebook.com/clergyagainsthate

Our new office email is: office@st-stephens.church.

Messenger articles are due.  Please send anything to our Administrative Assistant at: office@st-stephens.church.

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: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.

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. 

Our church campus is closed, except for our Eucharistic and Church School Ingatherings 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.