Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Saturday, December 5, 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

I never lie down at night without reflecting that – as young as I am – I may not live to see another day. Yet no one of all my acquaintances could say that in company I am morose and disgruntled. For this blessing I daily thank my Creator and wish with all my heart that each one of my fellow-creatures could enjoy it.

 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1791

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was, arguably, the greatest classical composer of all time. Was he also some kind of saint? Judging by his personal piety and character the answer would probably be “not quite.” Although he was baptized and wrote much of his music for liturgical occasions, he was also attracted to the philosophy of Freemasonry and was inclined to a fairly cynical attitude toward the church.

But then there is his music. The writer George Bernard Shaw, hardly noted for his piety, once called Mozart’s music “the only music yet written that would not sound out of place in the mouth of God.” The Protestant theologian Karl Barth, only one of the modern theologians to take a professional interest in Mozart, wrote of his certainty “that when the angels go about their task of praising God, they play only Bach.” But he was sure “that when they are together en famille they play Mozart and that then too the good God listens with special pleasure.”

Barth once had a dream in which he was given the task of examining Mozart on various points of theology and dogmatics. Although Barth deliberately tried to pitch easy questions, Mozart gave him no answer. The great theologian offered no interpretation of this dream. But perhaps it says something about Mozart as a religious artist. For him the Holy Mysteries were a reality best conveyed not in dogmas but in music. In any case, Barth confessed that if he ever arrived in heaven he would “first of all seek out Mozart” before inquiring after his fellow theologians.

On this day, in the year 1791, Mozart entered paradise.

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 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:   Janet, Marilyn, Joan, Bridget, Marissa, Zeta, Paul, Karen, Kevin, Ruth, Claudia, Britney, Mary Alice, Mia, Wim, Andrew .

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: Tom, Budd, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For Louise  – today is her birthday!

For Linnea – today is her baptismal anniversary!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  Gasabo (Rwanda), Edinburgh (Scotland).

For all who have died:  Bertha, Irene, Raymond, Rudolph.

For one another.

Advent Meditation

Matthew 2:13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

Every person around you has their Herod—that terrifying and persistent thing that assails them, the relentless fear-bringer that will not let them rest. With a listening ear or an act of simple kindness, step into their urgency and unrest today.  Bring the hope that offers them escape and helps them see a day beyond this one—and find a way to get them to Egypt.

 John Pavlovitz in Low: An Honest Advent Devotional

John Pavlovitz worked for nearly a decade as youth pastor, in a program serving several hundred students at the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, a “megachurch” in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He began a blog Stuff That Needs To Be Said in 2012 and was fired from a Raleigh, NC church in 2013, in response to “provocative” articles he’d posted. He later became a youth minister at North Raleigh Community Church. His blog has gained a large following and he is the author of several books.

Something to share

Bennacht (Blessing)

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.
And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets in to you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green,
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow

Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

John O’Donahue

News and Updates

Sunday Eucharist Live stream – tomorrow morning —- Just  visit:  https://www.facebook.com/SaintStephensSchenectady/ before 9am on Sunday the 6th and wait for the live stream to be posted. If you cannot watch at 9, the video will be posted once the service is complete.

If you plan to attend in person tomorrow morning, December 6th at 9:00am, for the celebration of Holy Eucharist, to help you understand what to expect, please watch the video below: 

And/or, tomorrow morning, join us for the celebration of Holy Eucharist live-streamed from the National Cathedral at 11:15am.  This is another way in which we can worship together albeit remotely. All you have to do is click on the link below, and it should take you to the service.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – tomorrow morning and every morning.  Join our parishioners 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).

Share a Christmas Picture –  Since Christmas is going to look very different this year from most Christmas’ past, many of us may not get a chance to see each other.   We want to find a way to stay connected with one another and “see” each other, in some capacity, at the holidays.  If you would like to participate please send a picture and a brief description (including name(s)) of one of the following:

·          Yourself or your family getting ready for Christmas  

·         A special decoration that you’ve put up 

·         A Christmas tradition 

·         Any other creative ideas preparing for Christmas

Pictures and descriptions can be sent to Office@St-Stephens.Church and should be received by 12/13.

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/. 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.