Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent
The Collect for the Day
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke 1:26-38:
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
The Gospel of the Lord
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, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.
For Shirley – today is her birthday!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain (Extra-Provincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury).
For all who have died: Vera, Dora, Katherine, Hiola, Gertrude.
For one another.
Something to share
The “O” Antiphons (continued)
O Clavis David (O Key of David)
O Key of David
and Scepter of the house of Israel;
You open and no man closes;
you close and no man opens.
Come, and deliver him from the chains of prison who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.
– The fourth of the “O” Antiphons
In today’s antiphon, the fourth antiphon, O Clavis David, we are now in the reign of David.
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.”
God Calls God’s Servant
I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David;
he shall open, and no one shall shut;
he shall shut, and no one shall open.
– Isaiah 22:22
Balaam’s Fourth Oracle
I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near –
a star shall come out of Jacob,
and a scepter shall rise out of Israel.
– Numbers 24:17a
O come, thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
– Hymnal 1982, #56 v. 5, Latin, ca. 9th cent.
A Prayer in this time of our Eucharistic Fast
My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. I love you above all things, and long for you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though you have already come, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.
– St. Alphonsus de Liguori, 1696-1787
News and Updates
Kid’s Christmas video – traditionally the fourth Sunday of Advent is when our children share their Christmas Pageant with us. This is how they did it this year. What an awesome group! Thank you Church School.
If you plan to attend the Christmas Eve service, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/xsbYG6aVmdtVKRnT8. This will help us make sure we have socially distant seating available for everyone who would like to come. All individuals on site need to wear a mask that conforms to ASC standards (covering both nose and mouth, well fitted, and not a bandana/gator/scarf).
To watch the rector’s homily or for service information for today, click here.
Intro to Old Testament – We all might be spending much more time at home in the first few months of 2021. Why not use that time for a Bible Study? Announcing a Zoom Bible Study on Wednesday mornings 10:30 – noon beginning January 6th. (don’t worry if you can’t make all the classes). Contact me at email@example.com for the Zoom link.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com).
If you need a prayerbook, and are not in a position to purchase one, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: email@example.com.
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!
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.