Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Second Sunday of Christmas
The Collect for the Day
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Today is the tenth day of Christmas. Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year; Keep feasting!
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 2:13-15,19-2:
After the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.”
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: Corrie, Doris, Judy, Anne, Louise, Gertrude, Laurel, Greg, Joan, Justin, Michael Curry, William Daniel, Gary, Carmeen, Joe.
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 Christopher – today is his baptismal anniversary!
For Jamie – today is his birthday!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Episcopal / Anglican Province of Alexandria, Egypt.
For all who have died: Anna, Solon, Helen, Lillian, Isabella, Burleigh, Ida.
For one another.
Something to share
The Flight in the Desert
The last settlement scraggled out with a barbed wire fence
And fell from sight. They crossed coyote country:
Mesquite, sage, the bunchgrass knotted in patches;
And there the prairie dog yapped in the valley;
And on the high plateau the short-armed badger
Delved his clay. But beyond that the desert,
Raw, unslakable, its perjured dominion wholly contained
In the sun’s remorseless mandate, where the dim trail
Died ahead in the watery horizon: God knows where.
And there the failures: skull of the ox,
Where the animal terror trembled on in the hollowed eyes;
The catastrophic wheel, split, sandbedded;
And the sad jawbone of a horse. These the denials
Of the retributive tribes, fiercer than pestilence,
Whose sumptuous realm this was.
Only the burro took no notice: the forefoot
Placed with the nice particularity of one
To whom the evil of the day is wholly sufficient.
Even the jocular ears marked time.
But they, the man and the anxious woman,
Who stared pinch-eyed into the settling sun,
They went forward into its denseness
All apprehensive, and would many a time have turned
But for what they carried. That brought them on.
In the gritty blanket they bore the world’s great risk,
And knew it; and kept it covered, near to the blind heart,
That hugs in a bad hour its sweetest need,
Possessed against the drawn night
That comes now, over the dead arroyos,
Cold and acrid and black.
This was the first of his goings into the wilderness of the world.
There was much to follow: much of portent, much of dread.
But what was so meek then and so mere, so slight and strengthless,
(Too tender, almost, to be touched) – what they nervously guarded
Guarded them. As we, each day, from the lifted chalice,
That strengthless Bread the mildest tongue subsumes,
To be taken out in the blatant kingdom
Where Herod sweats, and his deft henchmen
Riffle the tabloids – that keeps us.
Over the campfire the desert moon
Slivers the west, too chaste and cleanly
To mean hard luck. The man rattles the skillet
To take the raw edge off the silence;
The woman lifts up her heart; the infant
Knuckles the generous breast, and feeds.William Everson
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
Today’s Scripture Readings:
For today’s service information and homily click here.
Intro to the 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. (don’t worry if you can’t make all the classes). Contact me at email@example.com for the Zoom link.
Fight Hunger Bag – SiCM has been selected to be a part of the Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program, which is designed to make it easy for customers to contribute to their local community. For the month of January, each time a $2.50 reusable Fight Hunger Bag is purchased at the Hannaford located at 5239 Western Turnpike in Guilderland, $1 will be donated to SiCM. The Fight Hunger Bags are located on displays around the store and at the checkout. For more information about the program, please visit hannaford.bags4mycause.com.
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 parish meetings and gatherings are canceled and postponed until further notice.
Our 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.