Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Monday, December 7, 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 know that when the stress has grown too strong, you will be there.

I know that when the waiting seems so long, you hear my prayer.

I know that through the crash of falling worlds, you’re holding me.

I know that life and death are yours eternally. 

Mother Janet Stuart, 1914

Janet Stuart was a Roman Catholic nun in England who lived from 1857 to 1914. She entered into the Society of the Sacred Heart in Roehampton and became its superior in 1894. She went on to become the superior general of the society, which led her to travel and meet with other Society of Sacred Heart communities around the world. Throughout her life, she was dedicated to education – improving teaching at Sacred Heart schools through training of nuns and enabling them to get higher education. Stuart published a number of writings, but one of her most well-known publications is the book The Education of Catholic Girls.

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:   Mary Frances, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Budd, Cheryl, Marissa, Melanie, Kathy, Joe, Debbie T, Donald, Nick, Roberta, Beth.

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 Mildred – today is her birthday!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  Shyira (Rwanda), Edmonton (Canada).

For all who have died:  Albert, George, Fred, Frances, Helen.

For one another.

Advent Meditation

“While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child” (Luke 2:6).

In Advent, God starts to show. Of course, it was Mary who was pregnant with Jesus, who carried the Incarnation within her. But God, somehow, was involved in the daring vulnerability and massive strength that came into the world through the baby Jesus.

What was God thinking about? Someone had to feed him because he couldn’t feed himself. Someone had to clothe him because he couldn’t clothe himself. God pierced the world with extraordinary dependency and declared that we had to take care of the Messiah or the Messiah would die. Mary was our agent.

The poet and environmentalist Wendell Berry says, “What we need is here.” That is how God snuck up on the world with a baby, to show us that what we need is here. Something bigger would have scared us.

Why does God use the small and the natural to show us what God wants us to see?

               – Donna Schaper

Something to share

Later Life: A Double Sonnet of Sonnets (XI)

Lifelong our stumbles, lifelong our regret,

 Lifelong our efforts failing and renewed,

 While lifelong is our witness, “God is good:”

Who bore with us till now, bears with us yet,

Who still remembers and will not forget,

  Who gives us light and warmth and daily food;

  And gracious promises half understood,

And glories half unveiled, whereon to set

Our heart of hearts and eyes of our desire;

  Uplifting us to longing and to love,

Luring us upward from this world of mire,

  Urging us to press on and mount above

  Ourselves and all we have had experience of,

Mounting to Him in love’s perpetual fire.

Christina Rossetti

News and Updates

Mass Food Distribution – Volunteers Needed!  Catholic Charities is looking for volunteers to help in the packing and distribution of food items on December 10th at Crosstown Plaza, Watt Street, Schenectady. Masks and gloves will be provided and volunteers can take a box of food items as needed.  Volunteers are asked to arrive at 8:15 AM.  Interested volunteers can RSVP at volunteer@ccrcda.org.

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 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.