Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Tuesday, November 24, 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

A Non-traditional Blessing

May God bless you with discontent with easy answers, half-truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equality, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.

May God bless you with the foolishness to think you can make a difference in this world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.

If you have the courage to accept these blessings, then God will also bless you with:

happiness—because you will know that you have made life better for others

inner peace—because you will have worked to secure an outer peace for others

laughter—because your heart will be light

faithful friends—because they will recognize your worth as a person.

These blessings are yours—not for the asking, but for the giving—from One who wants to be your companion, our God, who lives and reigns, forever and ever. Amen.

Sister Ruth Marlene Fox, OSB

There is a host of variations of this prayer including how people title it. It has been called “A Franciscan Blessing” and “The Four-Fold Benedictine Blessing”. But despite all variations, the author is Sister Ruth Fox. In the 1980s, Sister Ruth was invited to offer a prayer at the Graduation Breakfast for the senior class at Dickinson State College (now Dickinson State University) where she was a chaplain. Not finding a prayer to her liking for the occasion, she set pen to paper, blessing not only a religiously diverse gathering of students some thirty years ago, but many since then with her prayer (and versions that her original prayer inspired). Bishop Doug Fisher included Sister Ruth’s prayer in his sermon to Grace Church this last Sunday.

Sister Ruth currently resides at the Sacred Heart Monastery in Richardton, ND.

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 Hurricanes in Central America: 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, Chris, Theresa, Emily.

For those who are homebound: 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 emeritus 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, Ruth, Jean, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  Santiago (Chile), Santiago (Philippines).

For all who have died:  especially Porter, Thomas, Carol, Jane, Rossman, Helbert,  Stephen.

For one another.

Something to share

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

Linda Ellis

News and Updates

The Stewardship campaign is underway with the mailing of pledge materials, which you should receive last week. Please read these materials carefully and prayerfully reflect on your contribution. If you have not received the mailing, please let us know. We need the participation of all members if we are to sustain our ministries, meet unexpected expenditures and continue to provide support for others in our community. You can mail us your pledge or drop it off at the church.  If possible, we hope you can submit your pledge before Thanksgiving. Thank you.

Double Your Generosity This Holiday Season – Sow seeds of resilience this Christmas season with a donation that doubles! Until 12/31, your tax-deductible donation will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $765,000. Now, you can do even more to spread hope and sow seeds of resilience and lasting change when the world needs it most.

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 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/. Most other parish meetings and gatherings are canceled and postponed until further notice.

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.

Peace,