Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Wednesday, January 6, 2021

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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 God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son

to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by

faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to

face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Amen

Book of Common Prayer, p. 214

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany

The Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi, and the manifestation of his divinity, as it occurred at his baptism in the Jordan River, and at his first miracle, at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. Epiphany is one of the three principal and oldest festival days of the Christian church (the other two being Easter and Christmas). 

Epiphany originated in the Eastern church, where it at first included a commemoration of Christ’s birth. In Rome, by 354 the Nativity was being celebrated on December 25, and later in the 4th century the church in Rome began celebrating Epiphany on January 6. In the Western church the emphasis has been the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus, which is seen as evidence that Christ, the Jewish Messiah, came also for the salvation of the Gentiles. In the East the focus of Epiphany is the baptism of Jesus and the revelation that the incarnate Christ was both fully God and fully man.

There are many traditions regarding this feast and the season it commences. A delightful one was to celebrate Epiphany is to prepare and eat a Kings’ Cake, which would include a toy baby hidden inside. Just as the Magi made a careful search for the Christ child, partakers of the Kings’ Cake hope to find the baby in their slice of cake. The person who finds the baby Jesus in his or her piece of cake is awarded the honor of providing the next Kings’ Cake and/or hosting the next gathering.

Another tradition is the Magi’s blessing of the house, which would be chalked above the doorway. For this year, the blessing is 20+C+M+B+21. The numbers correspond to the calendar year (20 and 21 – 2021); the crosses stand for Christ; and the letters have two-fold significance: C, M, and B are the initials for the traditional names of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar), but they are also an abbreviation of the Latin blessing Christus mansionem benedicat – “May Christ bless this house.”

Light is also an important symbol in Christianity. We move from Advent wreaths to Christmas Eve candlelight to the tongues of fire of Pentecost. This is a feast daynot a season.  Tomorrow we will begin a period of Ordinary Time (the liturgical color is green until Lent). It is a time in mid—winter which is about revelation, enlightenment, and the increase of light.

May Christ bless each and every one of us; and may en-lightenment be ours in this time of increasing light.

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: The Epiphany The Diocese of Abuja – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Abuja Province).

For all who have died:  Dawn, Betty.

For one another.

Something to share

In the Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,

Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;

Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,

In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;

Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.

In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed

The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,

Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;

Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,

The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,

Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;

But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,

Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Christina Rosseti

News and Updates

Vaccination Distribution – Schenectady County has recently been informed that Phase IB of the COVID-19 Vaccination distribution will include people 75 years of age and older. This phase could start as early as the second week in January.

If you are 75 years of age or older aare interested in receiving the vaccine you will need to provide the following information:  Name, Address, Telephone Number, Date of Birth, and Email address.  Registering for the vaccine is online. If you know of someone who might be interested, but who does not own computer equipment, perhaps you can assist them. At the time of the vaccination clinic, there will be a weblink that will need to be accessed.

Contact:  Cathryn Bern-Smith at Cathryn.Bern-Smith@schenectadycounty.com.

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 parish meetings and gatherings are canceled and postponed until further notice.

Our 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.