Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Saturday, January 9, 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,

who am I now?

Once, I was secure

in familiar territory

in my sense of belonging

unquestioning of 

the norms of my culture

the assumptions built into my language

the values shared by my society.

But now you have called me out and away from home

and I do not know where you are leading.

I am empty, unsure, uncomfortable.

I have only a beckoning star to follow.

Journeying God,

pitch your tent with mine

so that I may not become deterred

by hardship, strangeness, doubt.

Show me the movement I must make

toward a wealth not dependent on possessions

toward a wisdom not based on books

toward a strength not bolstered by might

toward a God not confined to heaven

but scandalously earthed, poor, unrecognized…

Help me find myself

as I walk in others’ shoes.

Kate Compston

Kate Compston lives in Cornwall, England. She practiced as a psychodynamic counselor, but is now retired. In 2015 she won the Hippocrates open prize for poetry and medicine. Today’s prayer was published in Bread of Tomorrow: Prayers for the Church Year.

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 David – today is his birthday!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Adelaide – The Anglican Church of Australia (South Australia Province).

For all who have died:  Dawn, Betty.

For one another.

Something to share

The epiphany

A stable’s a good place for revelations.

Some of the most profound discoveries

are made in back rooms, half by accident, 

by people half-exhausted, looking for something else.

Just as we felt like giving up,

when the whole thing had become ridiculous

and had gone on much too long, and we were blaming

everybody else for our mistakes,

we came upon the unexpected answer

in the most unlikely place:

a speechless, thoughtless, helpless child

who just lay there, needing to be loved.

In this defiance of all natural things 

was born the enabling power of sacrifice—

a being whose ambition was to seek

its own destruction and then call upon

his followers to do no more or less.

What kind of way was this to rule a world?

He just lay there, needing to be loved.

It would be stopped. Each Herod would conspire

for its destruction, when they cannot tempt it

with possessions nor subdue it with pain

nor lull it to sleep with alcohol or television.

Here was something we could not buy or cure,

digitize, transplant, update, invest in,

analyze or write a business plan for.

He had no army, text-book, voters’ mandate

or computer markup language

with which to implement this great design:

he just lay there, needing to be loved.

It was the most implausible demand.

Anything else we might negotiate

but not this secret life secured through death:

grace, born out of deprivation,

grace born of the endurance of the oppressed,

grace born of the hardships of the poor,

grace born of the forgiveness of the intolerable,

grace borne in the dignity of silence, grace born

from incomprehensible submission

to the absolute abuse of power.

In the strength of his weakness

he just lay there, needing to be loved.

Aeons after energy exploded into matter

here in this stable was let loose

a yet more potent power:

shedding the fabric of his former life

like an old coat, reckless that the truth

would prove for all he knew fatal

to everything to which he had thus far clung.

Our gifts were tokens. There was nothing more to do

but leave the child to his own terrible story,

and return by different routes

to our own countries, strangers to us now,

yet seeing them as if for the first time,

how they just lie there, needing to be loved.

Godfrey Rust

News and Updates

Sunday Eucharist Live stream – tomorrow morning —- Just  visit:  https://www.facebook.com/SaintStephensSchenectady/ before and wait for the live stream to be posted.

If you plan to attend in person tomorrow morning January 9th at 9:00am, for the celebration of Holy Eucharist, to help you understand what to expect, please watch the following video:

And/or, tomorrow morning, join us for the celebration of Holy Eucharist live-streamed from the National Cathedral at 11:15am.  This is another way in which we can worship together albeit remotely. All you have to do is click on the link below, and it should take you to the service.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – tomorrow morning and every morning.  Join our parishioners 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).

Tomorrow’s Readings:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1rlgDxl_Xw9ZLembBtI_2B9Gb9Sie8Rp_c7Sz-r-W9kQ/edit?usp=sharing

Prayers for Our Nation – In the two weeks leading up to the presidential inauguration, the National Cathedral will offer brief inline prayers for our nation, together with our interfaith and ecumenical colleagues each day at 5 pm. We invite you to spend five minutes in prayers for safety, solace and national unity. Just go to https://cathedral.org/.

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.