Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Friday, November 27, 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

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,

a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.

If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,

this is the best season of your life.

Wu Men, 1260

In many respects, Wu Men was the classical Chan (Zen) master. In China, he wandered from temple to temple for many years, wore old and dirty robes, grew his hair and beard long and worked in the temple fields. He was nicknamed “Huikai the Lay Monk.” The importance of “Great Doubt” was one of his central teaching devices. Wu Men said, “Understanding Zen is just a matter of rousing the mass of doubt throughout your body, day and night, and never letting up.”

At age 64, he founded Gokoku-ninno temple where he hoped to retire quietly, but visitors constantly came looking for instruction.

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 Hurricane Eta 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, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For Carolyn – today is her baptismal anniversary!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  Saskatoon (Canada), Eastern Himalayas (North India).

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

For one another.

Something to share

Becky prayed this at Morning Prayer yesterday morning:

God Almighty, this has been a terrible year.

So much death. So much illness. So much misery, all around the world, for every human being. I can hardly believe it. And I certainly don’t understand it.

It breaks my heart to think of how many people have lost family members, spent hours worried about sick friends in the hospital, not been able to attend funerals, been laid off from their jobs, seen their businesses closed and agonized over whether to send their children to school or not. Sometimes the only prayer I can say is the prayer of the psalmist: “How long, O Lord?”

And now it’s Thanksgiving, when I’m supposed to be thankful. How, O Lord?

Maybe the only prayer I can utter this Thanksgiving is: Teach me to be grateful.

Teach me to be grateful for what I still have. Help me to see where you are blessing me, even in the midst of this pandemic. Give me a new pair of eyes, so I can more clearly see your grace:

Let me see the generosity of health care workers on the front lines as a sign of your love.

Let me see the care that I have for my family as a sign of your compassion within me.

Let me see my sadness over the virus as a sign of your sorrow for those who suffer.

Help me to give other people something to be thankful for:

By being generous to them when I am sad.

By being patient with them when I am tired.

By encouraging them when I am feeling low.

Most of all, draw me closer to your Son. During his time on earth, Jesus saw people who were hungry, visited people who were sick and wept over the death of his friend Lazarus. He entered a world of illness, suffering and death, so he understands what we are going through—not only because he is divine and knows all things, but because he is human and experienced all things.

So on Thanksgiving this year, teach me to be thankful, Almighty God.

And one more thing, God:

Hurry up with those vaccines.

James Martin, S.J.

News and Updates

Rector’s Thanksgiving homily:

The Stewardship campaign is well underway. 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.  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