Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Thursday, December 17, 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

O Sapientia (O Wisdom)

O Wisdom

You came forth from the mouth of the Most High,

And reaching from the beginning to end

You ordered all things mightily and sweetly

Come, and teach us the way of prudence.

The first of the “O” Antiphons

December 17th marks the beginning of the “O” Antiphons”, an ancient rite dating back to the fourth century, one for each day until Christmas Eve. These antiphons address Christ with seven magnificent Messianic titles, based on scriptural passages. The antiphons implore God with mounting impatience to come and save the people. The order of the antiphons move through the history of Redemption.

In today’s antiphon, O Sapientia, we take a backward flight into the recesses of eternity to address Wisdom, the pre-existent Word of God.

As you may recognize, the “O” Antiphons are the verses for the ancient hymn O Come, O come Emmanuel. The first letter of the Messianic titles, in reverse order, spell out the Latin words “Ero cras”, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.”

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

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  South Ankole (Uganda), Eldoret (Kenya).

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

For one another.

Advent Meditation

Winter Snow

You could’ve come like a mighty storm

with all the strength of a hurricane

You could’ve come like a forest fire

with the power of heaven in your flame                 

But you came like a winter snow

quiet and soft and slow

Falling from the sky in the night

to the earth below

–          Audrey Assad 

Suppose we did our work

like the snow, quietly, quietly.

leaving nothing out.

–          Wendell Berry

Something to share

The Praise of Wisdom

I came forth from the mouth of the Most High,

           and covered the earth like a mist.

                        –  Sirach 24:3

The Nature of Wisdom

She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other,

     and she orders all things well.

                      –  Wisdom 8:1

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,

who orderest all things mightily;

to us the path of knowledge show,

and teach us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

                       –  Hymnal 1982, #56 v. 2, Latin, ca. 9th cent.

News and Updates

Rabbi Spitzer wrote:

Joyfully, and with immense gratitude to Hashem, we are delighted to announce the arrival into the world of our son. Ellie is so excited to be an older sister!

Born at 2:25 am on Wednesday 16 December, Rosh Hodesh Tevet, the 6th day of Hanukkah, weighing 8lbs 9ozs, our baby and his mother are healthy and well.

Feel free to share the good news.

Information about the ritual of welcoming into the covenant is forthcoming. 

And we say:   Mazel Tov!

 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.