Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
I offer myself as a living sacrifice;
I dedicate myself to your service.
Let me not conform to the standards of this world;
but transform me inwardly,
that I may know your will –
what is good and pleasing and perfect.
Let me not think of myself more highly than I should;
but let me be modest in my thinking,
and judge myself according to the amount of faith you have given me.
May my love be completely sincere;
may I hate what is evil,
and hold on to what is good.
May my hope keep me joyful;
may I be patient in troubles,
and pray at all times.
Help me to bless those who persecute me,
to be happy with those who are happy,
to weep with those who weep.
Help me to have the same concern for everyone,
to be humble and peaceful,
and never take revenge.
Let me not be defeated by evil;
but let me conquer evil with good.Romans 12:1-3, 9-21 (adapted)
This passage is the beginning of the second part of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, which in this section addresses aspects of the Christian life. Here Paul lists a series of imperatives for all Christians, drawing on the wisdom tradition and focusing on social relations. Apparently there were tensions and deep divisions between the Gentile Christians and the newly returned Christian Jews whom Emperor Claudius had previously expelled from Rome in the year 49. Paul’s sage advice is as relevant today as it was in 56 – 57 A.D. when Paul wrote this letter to a divided Christian community in Rome.
From Our Prayers of the People
For the special needs and concerns of our congregation.
We remember people throughout the world: in places of war and strife, especially refugees and all victims of violence and oppression.
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 Eta 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 perpetrated 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: Mary Frances, Jim, Eunice, Jane, Bruce, Pauline, John, Audrey, Bill, Stephanie, Hank, Nancy.
For those who are homebound: Stephen, Joan, Janet and Marilyn.
Our Government Leaders: Donald Trump, President of the United States; Joseph Biden, President-elect 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: The Free State (Southern Africa).
For all who have died: especially Helen, Louville, Ernest.
For one another.
Something to share
Humanity, you are all One.
You are one beloved community,
and you are one global sickness.
You are all contagious—and always have been,
unconsciously infecting and yet able to also bless one another.
There are no higher and lower in this world.
There is no smart or stupid; no totally right or totally wrong.
The only meaningful division is between those who serve
and those who allow themselves to be served.
All the rest is temporary posturing.
Many to whom you look for power and leadership
have shown themselves to have empty hands, minds, and hearts.
We are bereft of all satisfying explanations,
all ledgers of deserving and undeserving.
There are no perfect answers or absolute heroes.
We must all wear a mask to protect the other from “me.”
Don’t play the victim!
Victimhood is always a waste of time—God’s time and yours.
Instead, try to learn the important lessons.
We are all in the same elementary school now.
Here, we must learn to stand in two different places
and to change places often.
The served must also be the servants,
and the servants must also be the served.
Just stay in the eternal circle of the Suffering and the Servants.
Christians call it the Body of Christ.
We are not the first or the last generation
that gets to suffer and to serve on this earth.Richard Rohr
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 for the link: email@example.com)
If you need a prayerbook, and are not in a position to purchase one, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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/. Most other parish meetings and gatherings are canceled and postponed until further notice on our website.
Our new office email is: email@example.com.
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,
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.