Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Sunday, June 13, 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 the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Collect for the Day

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Gospel

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark 4:26-34:

Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

The Gospel of the Lord.

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 Pat and Christopher – today is their wedding anniversary!

For all the blessings of this life.

 For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Church of Nigeria.

For all who have died: Hiola, Charles, Ruth. 

For one another.

Something to share

On the Parables of the Mustard Seed 

Who ever saw the mustard-plant,

wayside weed or tended crop,

grow tall as a shrub, let alone a tree, a treeful

of shade and nests and songs?

Acres of yellow,

not a bird of the air in sight.

No. He who knew

the west wind brings

the rain, the south wind

thunder, who walked the field-paths

running His hand along wheatstems to glean

those intimate milky kernels, good

to break on the tongue,

was talking of miracle, the seed

within us, so small

we take it for worthless, a mustard-seed, dust,

nothing.

Glib generations mistake

the metaphor, not looking at fields and trees,

not noticing paradox. Mountains

remain unmoved.

Faith is rare, He must have been saying,

prodigious, unique –

one infinitesimal grain divided

like loaves and fishes,

as if from a mustard-seed

a great shade-tree grew. That rare,

that strange: the kingdom

a tree. The soul

a bird. A great concourse of birds

at home there, wings among yellow flowers.

The waiting

kingdom of faith, the seed

waiting to be sown.

        – Denise Levertov

A Prayer in this time of our Eucharistic Fast

My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. I love you above all things, and long for you in my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though you have already come, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you; never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.

        – St. Alphonsus de Liguori, 1696-1787

News and Updates

Graduations (moving-Up)!

Maddie Schuldt is graduating pre-school  (although Bethany is still in denial about it! ha!)

William Olsen will be graduating from Van Antwerp Middle School this year.  William looks forward to attending Niskayuna High, in-person, in the Fall, following a year of full virtual study.

Congratulations to them both!

Sunday Eucharist Live stream – this morning —- Just  visit:  https://www.facebook.com/SaintStephensSchenectady/ at 9am on Sunday and wait for the live stream to be posted.

If you plan to attend in person this morning, June 13th at 9:00am, for the celebration of Holy Eucharist, to help you understand what to expect, please click on this link:

The only exception is that we will begin limited singing.

And/or, this 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. https://youtu.be/hoK00Hf7yHg

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – this morning.  Join our parishioners for an inter-active service of Morning Prayer at 8 am. Time to bring your prayer concerns will be provided. (contact Becky for the link:   becky.holder@gmail.com).

Today’s full scripture readings

: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uVNxrwV84EinqUX-ps_Aa33HC7IwkkDh/view?usp=sharing 

Today’s music

: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RM6KRnjcOKfRygILoife-J-T35K_vng4C54P_1OSpp8/edit?usp=sharing

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.