Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Monday, March 29, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

 Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,

 We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today is Monday in Holy Week

What Happened This Day?

The next morning (the Monday following Palm Sunday), Jesus returned with his disciples to Jerusalem. Along the way, he cursed a fig tree because it had failed to bear fruit.

When Jesus arrived at the Temple, he found the courts full of corrupt money changers. He began overturning their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46).

On Monday evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

Monday’s events are recorded in Matthew 21:12–22, Mark 11:15–19, Luke 19:45-48, and John 2:13-17.

Today’s Prayer

Though the fig tree does not blossom

and no fruit is on the vines;

though the produce of the olive fails,

and the fields yield no food;

though the flock is cut off from the fold,

and there is no herd in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will exult in the God of my salvation.

God, the Lord, is my strength

          –        Habakkuk 3:17-19a

The Book of Habakkuk, composed probably in the late 7th century BCE, provides little direct information about the prophet, although in later Jewish tradition Habakkuk is identified as a Levite. The book is shaped by the powerful images of justice and injustice, confidence and doubt, salvation and judgment, God and humanity. Its message centers on the question of how can the violence and evil of the world possibly serve God’s purposes. Habakkuk, unlike most prophetic books, confronts God rather than presents the Divine confronting the people. In the concluding prayer (chapter 3) the prophet sees God’s intervention portrayed in cosmic terms. Habakkuk’s repeated complaints and questions find their answer in the affirmation “God, the Lord, is my strength” (3:19a).

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, and for those administering the vaccination, 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 ChainMary, Bill, Mary Frances, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Marissa, Melanie, Joe.

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

For our Government Leaders: Joseph Biden, President 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, retired 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:  Eunice, Marilyn, Priscilla, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For all the blessings of this life.

 For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Bari – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Kaduna Province).

For all who have died:   Clark, Sara, William, Emma, Dorothy. 

For one another.

Something to share

The Miracle

He was walking from Bethany to Jerusalem,

Brooding over sad premonitions.

The sun scorched the slope’s prickly shrubs.

No smoke was rising over a nearby hut,

The air was hot and the reeds motionless,

And the calm of the Dead Sea lay still.

And with a bitterness rivalling the sea’s,

He walked with a small throng of clouds

Along a dusty road, to somebody’s backyard,

On His way to a gathering of disciples.

And so immersed was He in His thoughts,

That the field, dejected, sent off a wormwood smell.

All was still. He stood alone in the midst of it,

While the land lay prostrate in swoon.

All became muddled, the heat, the desert,

The lizards, the springs, the streams.

A fig tree rose not too far off,

Fruitless, nothing but branches and leaves.

And He said to it: “Of what use are you?

What joy does your stupor bring me?

“I thirst and hunger, yet you stand barren,

My meeting you is joyless as granite.

O, how offensive and ungifted you are!

Remain as you are, then, till the end of time.”

A tremor of condemnation ran through the tree,

Like a spark of lightning down a rod.

The fig tree was reduced to ashes.

If only a moment of freedom had been given

To the leaves, the branches, roots, trunk,

The laws of nature could have intervened.

But a miracle is a miracle, and a miracle is God.

When we’re in confusion, in the midst of disorder,

It overtakes us instantly, by surprise.

             –  Boris Pasternak

News and Updates  

 Holy Week Schedule

Yesterday morning’s Palm Sunday service can be found here:  

https://fb.watch/4xyIHtwAcQ/

Holy Monday – March 29, 2021

9:00 am Morning Prayer on Zoom

Holy Tuesday – March 30, 2021

9:00 am Morning Prayer on Zoom

Holy Wednesday – March 31, 2021

9:00 am Morning Prayer on Zoom

Maundy Thursday – April 1, 2021

9:00 am Morning Prayer on Zoom

Any time – Maundy Thursday Prayer Slideshow

Any time – Eucharist & Stripping of the Altar Video on YouTube

9:00 pm Prayer Vigil through the night at home

Good Friday – April 2, 2021

9:00 am Morning Prayer on Zoom

Any time – Stations of the Cross Slideshow

Any time – Good Friday Prayer Slideshow

Any time – Lessons & Prayers Video on YouTube

Easter Vigil –April 3, 2021

8:00 am Morning Prayer on Zoom

Any time – Lighting of the first fire,

            Nine lessons,

Renewal of Baptismal vows

 and Hebrew response Slideshow

Any time – Vigil Liturgy Video on YouTube

Easter Day – April 4, 2021

9:00 am Morning Prayer on Zoom

9:00 am Eucharist live on Facebook

Reminder

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 or postponed until further notice.

Our office email is: office@st-stephens.church.

We continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and the NY  Department of Public Health https://www.health.ny.gov/ for information, updates, and guidance

Be careful what you read online. There are reports of false information circulating in an attempt to create fear and confusion. It is critical to discern what and how something is said as well as what is not said. And, God forbid, always remember – any online or texted-based solicitation from me for money is A SCAM. Do not reply to such messages. Delete them.

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.