Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Everliving God, who strengthened your apostle Thomas with
firm and certain faith in your Son’s resurrection: Grant us so
perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our
Lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting
in your sight; through him who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.Book of Common Prayer, p. 237
Today is the Feast of St. Thomas
Thomas’s character is outlined in John’s Gospel. His devotion to Jesus is clearly expressed in John 11:5–16: when Jesus planned to return to Judea, the disciples warned him of the religious authorities (“now seeking to stone you”), to which Thomas soon replied, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” At the Last Supper (John 14:1–7) Thomas could not comprehend what Jesus meant when he said, “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas’s question “How can we know the way?” caused Jesus to answer, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
Perhaps the best-known event in his life is the one from which the phrase “doubting Thomas” developed. In John 20:19–29 he was not among those disciples to whom the risen Christ first appeared, and, when they told him, Thomas requested physical proof, fulfilled when Christ reappeared and specifically asked Thomas to touch his wounds. His sudden realization of truth (“My Lord and my God”) made Thomas the first person to explicitly acknowledge Jesus’ divinity.
Thomas’s subsequent history is uncertain. According to Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History, he evangelized Parthia (modern Khorāsān). Later Christian tradition says Thomas extended his apostolate into India, where he is recognized as the founder of the Church of the Syrian Malabar Christians, or Christians of St. Thomas.
In art, Thomas is commonly depicted as a young man holding a scroll, or as a young adult touching the resurrected Christ’s wounds. He is the patron saint of architects, builders, construction workers, surveyors, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and theologians.
The “O” Antiphons (continued)
O Oriens (O Rising Dawn or Morning Star)
O Rising Dawn
Radiance of the Light eternal
And Sun of Justice
Come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
– The fifth of the “O” Antiphons
The order of the antiphons move through the history of Redemption. In today’s antiphon, the fifth antiphon, O Oriens, the line of David is elevated so that the people may look on a rising star in the east.
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: 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 all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: South West Tanganyika (Tanzania), Esan (Nigeria).
For all who have died: Samone, Clifford, Gladys, Jeffrey, Margaret, Suzanne.
For one another.
Something to share
St. Thomas the Apostle
“We do not know… how can we know the way?”
Courageous master of the awkward question,
You spoke the words the others dared not say
And cut through their evasion and abstraction.
Oh doubting Thomas, father of my faith,
You put your finger on the nub of things
We cannot love some disembodied wraith,
But flesh and blood must be our king of kings.
Your teaching is to touch, embrace, anoint,
Feel after Him and find Him in the flesh.
Because He loved your awkward counter-point
The Word has heard and granted you your wish.
Oh place my hands with yours, help me divine
The wounded God whose wounds are healing mine.
– Malcolm Guite
The “O” Antiphons (continued)
The Prophet’s Prayer
His glory covered the heavens,
and the earth was full of his praise.
The brightness was like the sun;
rays came forth from his hand,
where his power lay hidden
– Habakkuk 3:3b-4
The Great Day of the Lord
But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise,
with healing in its wings
– Malachi 4:2
O come, thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadow put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
– Hymnal 1982, #56 v. 6, Latin, ca. 9th cent.
If you are coming to Christmas Eve Service, please fill out this form. This will help us to make sure we have socially distant seating available for everyone who would like to come.
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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you need a prayerbook, and are not in a position to purchase one, please contact me: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.