Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Monday, December 14, 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

Loving God, for the salvation of all you gave Jesus Christ as light to a world in darkness: Illumine us, with your daughter Lucy, with the light of Christ, that by the merits of his passion we may be led to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. 

Holy Women, Holy Men, p. 115

Today is the Feast of St. Lucy, transferred from December 13th 

Most of the details of Lucy’s life are obscure. She is remembered for the purity of her life and the gentleness of her spirit. She was martyred at Syracuse, in Sicily, during Diocletian’s reign of terror of 303-04. Because her name means “light,” she is sometimes thought of as the patron saint of those who suffer from diseases of the eyes.

In popular piety, Lucy is perhaps most revered because her feast day, December 13, was for many centuries the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. (The reform of the calendar in 1582 shifted the shortest day to December 21/22. It was on Lucy’s day that the light began gradually to return and the days to lengthen.

Lucy’s altars are often adorned with thousands of miniature eyes, and the faithful pray to preserve or gain the gift of sight. In Venice, her name echoes through the canals as gondoliers sing “Santa Lucia.” In Scandinavian countries, particularly Sweden, Lucy’s day has long been a festival of light that is kept as both an ecclesiastical commemoration and a domestic observance. In the domestic celebration of Lucia-fest, a young girl in the family dresses in white (a symbol of Lucy’s faith, purity, and martyrdom) and wears a crown of lighted candles upon her head (a sign that on Lucy’s day the light is returning) and serves her family special foods prepared especially for the day.

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, 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, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For Evan – today is his birthday!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  Sodor & Man (England), El Camino Real (The Episcopal Church).

For all who have died:  Vera, Dora, Katherine, Hiola, Gertrude.

For one another.

Something to share

Poem on Saint Lucie’s Day

Lucy, whose day is in our darkest season,

(Although your name is full of light,)

We walkers in the murk and rain and flesh and sense,

Lost in the midnight of our dead world’s winter solstice

Look for the fogs to open on your friendly star.

We have long since cut down the summer of our history;

Our cheerful towns have all gone out like fireflies in October.

The fields are flooded and the vines are bare:

How have our long days dwindled, and now the world is frozen!

Locked in the cold jails of our stubborn will,

Oh, hear the shovels growling in the gravel.

This is the way they’ll make our beds forever,

Ours, whose Decembers have put out the sun:

Doors of whose souls are shut against the summertime!

Martyr, whose short day sees our winter and our Calvary,

Show us some light, who seem forsaken by the sky;

We have so dwelt in darkness that our eyes are screened

and dim,

And all but blinded by the weakest ray.

Hallow the vespers and December of our life,

O martyred Lucy:

Console our solstice with your friendly day.

Thomas Merton

 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.