Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Wednesday, December 23, 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 Emmanuel

O Emmanuel,

our King and Lawgiver,

the Expected of the nations

and their Savior.

Come, and save us, O Lord our God.

The seventh of the “O” Antiphons

Last Thursday we began 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, the seventh and final antiphon, O Emmanuel, approaching the town limits of Bethlehem, we salute Christ with the last Great O, O Emanuel, God-with-us.

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.”

Emmanuel

Rex Gentium

Oriens

Clavis David

Radix Jesse

Adonai

Sapientia

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: Evo (Nigeria), Exeter (England).

For all who have died:  Samone, Clifford, Gladys, Jeffrey, Margaret, Suzanne.

For one another.

Something to share

Isaiah Gives Ahaz the Sign of Immanuel

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.

           Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son,

And shall name him Immanuel.

            –   Isaiah 7:14

The Sovereignty of Judah

The scepter shall not depart from Judah,

     Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet

               –  Genesis 49:10

The Majestic King

For the LORD is our judge,

     the LORD is our ruler,

the LORD is our king;

     He will save us.

             –  Isaiah 33:22

O come, O come, Emmanuel,

and ransom captive Israel,

that mourns in lonely exile here,

until the Son of God appear.

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

          – Hymnal 1982, #56 v. 8, Latin, ca. 9th cent.

Advent Meditation

O GOD, WE LONG FOR BETTER DAYS

O God, we long for better days when we can be together,
to celebrate your love and grace in Jesus Christ our Savior.
We long for Silent Night in crowded pews, by candlelight.
May we who stay at home now find your Christmas blessing.

We long to come and Deck the Halls this year — like many others.
Yet all around we hear the calls of countless, hurting neighbors.
This year, in quiet ways, we’ll pray and serve and fill our days.
May we who stay at home now find your Christmas blessing.

We’ll still, with Christian Friends, Rejoice, by phone, or by our zooming.
We’ll ponder here: What Child is This?— and seek A Rose, E’er Blooming.
We’ll love and serve and give; we’ll live as Christ taught us to live.
May we who stay at home now find your Christmas blessing.

We long to feast and celebrate with family, friends, and neighbors.
Yet this can be our gift— to wait, until the times are better.
Still, Still , you give us joy— a love that death cannot destroy.
May we who stay at home now find your Christmas blessing.

             – Carolyn Winfrey Gillette – Can be sung to the traditional English melody (“What Child Is This?”)

News and Updates

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). 

CHRISTMAS EVE

9:00 a.m.  Morning Prayer on Zoom

7:30 p.m.  Eucharist Festive Candlelight (LED) – also live streamed on facebook

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CHRISTMAS DAY

9:00 a.m.  Morning Prayer on Zoom

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FEAST OF ST. STEPHEN

Saturday, December 26th

9:00 a.m.  Morning Prayer on Zoom

 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.