Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayer, Friday, October 30, 2020

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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

May the Holy Ghost distilling,

           Down from heaven forth to ground,

Grant me aid and goodness filling,

           That my prayer be firmly bound,

The King of life’s great throne around.

May the Holy Ghost with blessing

           Wing the prayer I send as dove

In the fitting state and gracing

           Of thy holy will above,

O Lord my God of life and love.

Be I in God’s love, God’s dearness,

           Be I in God’s will, God’s sight,

Be I in God’s choice, God’s nearness,

           Be I in God’s charge, God’s might,

And be I in God’s keep aright.

As thine angels fair, untiring,

           As thy saints, household entire,

They in heav’n above desiring,

           So on earth may I desire,

With Holy Ghost aflame in fire.

 Poems of the Western Highlanders

The poetry of the Western Highlands of Scotland has its origins in the very earliest days of Celtic Christianity, and is imbued with profound religious experience and feeling. These ancient of prayers can resonate strongly with many today. They are rooted in the petitions of those who are at home with God and welcome God into every area of their lives. Here we encounter the encircling love of God as we dwell in God and God in us.

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, 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: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Davao (Philippines).

For all who have died:  especially August, Helen, Earl.

For one another.

Something to share

I happened to be standing

I don’t know where prayers go,

           or what they do.

Do cats pray, while they sleep

half-asleep in the sun?

Does the opossum pray as it

crosses the street?

The sunflowers? The old black oak

growing older every year?

I know I can walk through the world,

along the shore or under the trees,

with my mind filled with things

of little importance, in full

self-attendance. A condition I can’t really

call being alive.

Is prayer a gift, or a petition,

or does it matter?

The sunflowers blaze, maybe that’s their way.

Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing

just outside my door, with my notebook open,

which is the way I begin every morning.

Then a wren in the privet began to sing.

He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,

I don’t know why. And yet, why not.

I wouldn’t persuade you from whatever you believe

or whatever you don’t. That’s your business.

But I thought, of the wren’s singing, what could this be

if it isn’t a prayer?

So I just listened, my pen in the air.

Mary Oliver

A Season of Prayer: For a Civil 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

News and Updates

All Souls Remembrance – St. Stephen’s will remember in a special way the departed. On Monday, November 2nd, we will post a slideshow of the names of the departed. We invite you to share this time of remembrance with us by emailing office@st-stephens.church the names of friends and loved ones who have died. Names received by 12:00 today will be included.

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.

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 Becky Holder for the link:   becky.holder@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 only partially open due to the current pandemic.  Please see our website for further information: https://st-stephens.church/. All other parish meetings and gatherings are canceled and postponed until further notice on our website.

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

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.