Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Wednesday, March 31, 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 Wednesday in Holy Week

What Happened This Day?

On Wednesday, Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the Leper. As he sat at the table, an unnamed woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly anointment, which she broke open and poured on Jesus’ head. Some who were present said to one another in anger, “Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her.

But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. . . . She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand before my burial.” And he commended her for what she had done.

Judas then went to the authorities and offered to betray Jesus. They were greatly pleased, and promised to give Judas money. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

Wednesday’s events are recorded in Matthew 26:6-16, Mark 14:3-11, Luke 22:3-6. 

In reference to Judas’ intent to betray Jesus, this day is also known as Spy Wednesday, as in ambush or snare.

Today’s Prayer

Hear my prayer, O God; *

    do not hide yourself from my petition.

Listen to me and answer me; *

    I have no peace, because of my cares.

My heart quakes within me, *

    and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

Fear and trembling have come over me, *

    and horror overwhelms me.

For had it been an adversary who taunted me,

then I could have borne it; *

    or had it been an enemy who vaunted himself against me,

    then I could have hidden from him.

But it was you, a man after my own heart,

    my companion, my own familiar friend.

We took sweet counsel together, *

    and walked with the throng in the house of God.

My companion stretched forth his hand against his comrade; *

    he has broken his covenant.

His speech is softer than butter, *

    but war is in his heart.

His words are smoother than oil, *

    but they are drawn swords.

Cast your burden upon the LORD,

and he will sustain you *

               –     Psalm 55: 1-2, 5-6, 13-15, 21-24a

Psalm 55 is the prayer of an individual seeking God’s help. The psalm makes reference to various threats but twice indicates that the object of the complaint is a friend. It is a prayer for one who is betrayed by a friend.

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 Chain:  Charlotte, Diana, Caleb, June, Ruth, David, Kathy Nick, Roberta, Beth, Walker, Warren, Steve.

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 Lisa – today is her baptismal anniversary!

For all the blessings of this life.

 For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Barrackpore – The (united) Church of North Indi.

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

For one another.

Something to share

BETTER FOR HIM HAD HE NOT BEEN BORN

“…But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man!

It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Matt 26:24b 

He controlled the money bag

dipped into the money bag

dipped with Jesus at table

mingled with Him

chewed the fat

as they roasted fish

along the shore of the Galilee

Judas watched Him heal

the blind and lame

even raise the dead

was there when He fed

hungry multitudes

calmed a raging squall

and walked billow to billow

upon the storm-tossed sea

He heard Him teach

beatitudes, parables

even how to pray

observed His tenderness

as children climbed

upon His lap

observed His mercy

to those who sinned much 

The day Mary anointed Jesus’ feet

with extravagant nard

and dried them

with her unpinned hair

it was he who complained

the perfume should have been sold

the money given to the poor—

yes, it was he, holder

of the purse strings

When this same apostle agreed

to betray his master

for a handful of silver

did he think

The Miracle Worker

would somehow slip away

unscathed, as He had

the day He was driven

out of the synagogue

by an angry mob

intent on throwing Him

off a cliff

Woe to the mercenary

betrayer of the Son of Man

…Mammon had always been

his greater god

Their final evening

at the Paschal meal

The Master stooped

to wash filth

from His betrayer’s feet

Judas partook of The Bread

drank of The Wine

and when Jesus dipped a morsel

and gave it to him

from His very own hand

the taker took that, too

Later, in the garden

following Jesus’ great travail

Judas approached Him

with armed cohorts

called Him, “Rabbi”

kissed the face

still damp with blood and sweat

as The Rabbi called him, “Friend”

The word echoed

echoed, echoed

in thunderous

heartbeats

till he flung

the tarnished coins

through temple doors

till he tied

a ragged noose around his neck

and hanged his wretched self

from a jutting twisted limb

–          Maude Carolan

Judas Iscariot

‘Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot,
Strange, and sad, and tall,
Stood all alone at dead of night
Before a lighted hall.

And the wold was white with snow,
And his foot-marks black and damp,
And the ghost of the silvern Moon arose,
Holding her yellow lamp.

And the icicles were on the eaves,
And the walls were deep with white,
And the shadows of the guests within
Pass’d on the window light.

The shadows of the wedding guests
Did strangely come and go,
And the body of Judas Iscariot
Lay stretch’d along the snow.

The body of Judas Iscariot
Lay stretched along the snow;
‘Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot
Ran swiftly to and fro.

To and fro, and up and down,
He ran so swiftly there,
As round and round the frozen Pole
Glideth the lean white bear.

. . . ‘Twas the Bridegroom sat at the table-head,
And the lights burnt bright and clear—
‘Oh, who is that,’ the Bridegroom said,
‘Whose weary feet I hear?’

‘Twas one looked from the lighted hall,
And answer’d soft and slow,
‘It is a wolf runs up and down
With a black track in the snow.’

The Bridegroom in his robe of white
Sat at the table-head—
‘Oh, who is that who moans without?’
The blessèd Bridegroom said.

‘Twas one look’d from the lighted hall,
And answer’d fierce and low,
‘’Tis the soul of Judas Iscariot
Gliding to and fro.’

‘Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot
Did hush itself and stand,
And saw the Bridegroom at the door
With a light in his hand.

The Bridegroom stood in the open door,
And he was clad in white,
And far within the Lord’s Supper
Was spread so broad and bright.

The Bridegroom shaded his eyes and look’d,
And his face was bright to see—
‘What dost thou here at the Lord’s Supper
With thy body’s sins?’ said he.

‘Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot
Stood black, and sad, and bare—
‘I have wander’d many nights and days;
There is no light elsewhere.’

‘Twas the wedding guests cried out within,
And their eyes were fierce and bright—
‘Scourge the soul of Judas Iscariot
Away into the night!’

The Bridegroom stood in the open door,
And he waved hands still and slow,
And the third time that he waved his hands
The air was thick with snow.

And of every flake of falling snow,
Before it touch’d the ground,
There came a dove, and a thousand doves
Made sweet sound.

‘Twas the body of Judas Iscariot
Floated away full fleet,
And the wings of the doves that bare it off
Were like its winding-sheet.

‘Twas the Bridegroom stood at the open door,
And beckon’d, smiling sweet;
‘Twas the soul of Judas Iscariot
Stole in, and fell at his feet.

‘The Holy Supper is spread within,
And the many candles shine,
And I have waited long for thee
Before I pour’d the wine!’

The supper wine is pour’d at last,
The lights burn bright and fair,
Iscariot washes the Bridegroom’s feet,
And dries them with his hair.

–           Robert Williams Buchanan

News and Updates  

Bishop Love leaves the Episcopal Church!   

Holy Week Schedule

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 Slide slide

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 Slide show

Any time – Good Friday Prayer Slide show

Any time – Lessons & Prayers Video on YouTube

Easter Vigil –April 3, 2021

9:00 am Morning Prayer on Zoom

Any time – Lighting of the first fire,

            Nine lessons,

Renewal of Baptismal vows

 and Hebrew response Slide show

Any time – Vigil Liturgy Video on YouTube

Easter Day – April 4, 2021

8:00 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 Holder 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.