Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Tuesday, June 8, 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’s Prayer

“Take your sandals off, you are standing on holy ground.”

Joshua 5.14, 15

…[The people of Israel] all cross the Jordan and the first obstacle in the conquest is indeed a daunting one: there is the city of Jericho, walled, defended and barred. It is at this point that Joshua looks up and suddenly sees the ‘Commander of the Lord’s Army’. The figure before him is an angel.

The most important matter of all is the presence of God himself as the progress into the Promised Land is made. Here is a clear reference to the appearance of God to Moses at the burning bush, where God says to Moses, as he does here, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.’

Seeing the angel, Joshua knows that God is with him and the people in what they have to do. He prostrates himself in awe and wonder and in worship. At this critical moment he is touched by the presence of God himself: the angel speaks….

We come to our times of prayer not to invade….but rather to listen in a time of stillness and silence and contemplation. As we come, among our feelings are those of awe and wonder. What will take place is an encounter between the ordinary and the extraordinary; between the human and the divine; between the superficial and the deep; between that which is easily explained and the mysterious things of God.

Wherever you are praying, the place becomes holy ground. The presence of God is there: here it is that the angel speaks to you….

        – The Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer

The Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer is an association based in the United Kingdom, founded by the late Anglican priest Robert Coulson. The group promotes the practice of contemplative prayer, particularly contemplative prayer that draws on sayings from Scripture (typically words spoken by God or a messenger of God). Over 500 members from a variety of denominations are committed to a Rule of Life in which they practice this form of prayer daily. Many members participate in prayer groups to support them in this way of prayer. The above passage is a reflection on one biblical saying the Fellowship recommends using in silent contemplation. For more on this form of prayer, visit http://www.contemplative-prayer.org.uk/.

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 comfort and healing for all who are affected by the Coronavirus around the world:  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 perpetrated 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 a reverence for the earth as God’s own creation: that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to God’s honor and glory, and for wisdom, guidance, and persistence as we face the challenges of climate change and work for the flourishing and health of all the earth.

For those on the Parish Prayer Chain:  Robin, Jackie, Waid, Dan, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Craig, Donald, Gerald, Molly, Kenny, Sonny, Don .

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; 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, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For all the blessings of this life.

 For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of North Carolina – The Episcopal Church (IV (4) Province).

For all who have died: Alison, Charles. 

For one another.

Something to share

Keeping Quiet

Now we will count to twelve

and we will all keep still

for once on the face of the earth.

Let’s not speak in any language;

let’s stop for a second,

and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment

Without rush, without engines;

we would all be together

in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea

Would not harm whales

and the man gathering salt

 would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,

wars with gas, wars with fire,

victories with no survivors,

would put on clean clothes

and walk about with their brothers

in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused

with total inactivity,

life is what it is about…

If we were not so single minded

about keeping our lives moving,

and for once could do nothing,

perhaps a huge silence

might interrupt this sadness

of never understanding ourselves

and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us

as when everything seems dead in winter

and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve

and you keep quiet and I will go.

        –  Pablo Neruda

News and Updates

Sunday Morning Nursery Care – We are looking to hire a new nursery manager.  The position will begin in September when we will (hopefully!) return to our normal service schedule. The position would be for 2 hours each Sunday morning, with a few additional days / times required throughout the year.  Pay is $25/hour.  If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Bethany Schuldt at office@st-stephens.church for more information.

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 weekday & Saturday morning.  Join us 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 during the waning of the pandemic.  Please see our website for further information: https://st-stephens.church/. Most parish meetings and gatherings are canceled or postponed until at least this fall.

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

We continue to comply with all of these: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ; the NY  Department of Public Health https://www.health.ny.gov/ ; and the Diocese of Albany https://albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cleaning_guidance_houses_of_worship.pdf.

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 during the waning of the pandemic.

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,

the rains fall soft upon soft upon your fields,

And until we meet again

May God hold you in the palm of God’s 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.