Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Monday, January 18, 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 Prayers

Almighty Father, who inspired Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep your Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, so that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today is the feast of the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle

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Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last: Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. 

             –   Holy Women, Holy Men, p. 307

Today is also Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. Dr. King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.

King participated in and led marches for Blacks’ right to vote, desegregation, labor rights, and other basic civil rights. He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and later became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). As president of the SCLC, he helped organize some of the nonviolent 1963 protests in Birmingham, Alabama. He also helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

On October 14, 1964, King won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. In 1965, he helped organize two of the three Selma to Montgomery marches. In his final years, he expanded his focus to include opposition towards poverty, capitalism, and the Vietnam War.

After preaching at Washington National Cathedral on March 31, 1968, King went to Memphis in support of sanitation workers in their struggle for better wages. There, he proclaimed that he had been “to the mountain-top” and had seen “the Promised Land,” and that he knew that one day he and his people would be “free at last.” On the following day, April 4th, he was cut down by an assassin’s bullet.

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, Marissa, Melanie, Kathy, Joe, Debbie T, Donald, Nick, Roberta, Beth.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn.

For 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.

For 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.

For those who are imprisoned: those particularly vulnerable at this time, especially the women in the Schenectady County Jail.

For Members who request our prayers for strength and healing:  Dennie, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For Andrei and Daniel – today is their birthday!

For all the blessings of this life.

 For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Aipo Rongo – The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea.

For all who have died:  Donald, Arnette, Frances L., Pierre, Emilie, Jesse, Gladys.

For one another.

Something to share

Though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And Abraham Lincoln: “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be? Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three men were crucified for the same crime—the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. An excerpt from the Letter from Birmingham Jail

News and Updates 

“Souper” Bowl Fund Drive – Super Bowl LV is rapidly approaching (February 7, 2021), and we are once again looking for support of our annual “Souper” Bowl Fund Drive! 100% of the money raised from this drive will be used to help the SiCM Food Pantry feed families throughout Schenectady County. In 2020, the Food Pantry served 300 families a week and served a total of 454,000 meals, indicating the challenge of hunger in the County continues.  SiCM purchases food from the Northeastern Regional Food Bank for $.16 per pound, so monetary donations go a long way toward providing food for those in need.  Click on:

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.