Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Monday, July 26, 2020

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

O gracious God, we remember before you today your servant and apostle James, first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for the Name of Jesus Christ; and we pray that you will pour out upon the leaders of your Church that spirit of self-denying service by which alone they may have true authority among your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

       –  Book of Common Prayer, p. 242

Today is the Feast of St. James the Apostle (transferred).

James the Great, also known as James, son of Zebedee was one of the Twelve Apostles as recorded in the New Testament. He is described as one of the first disciples to join Jesus.  When Jesus called James and his brother John, they were in the boat mending the nets, and they immediately left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired hands. James and his brother seem to have had a fiery temper. They once wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan town, but were rebuked by Jesus, who nicknamed them Boanerges or “Sons of Thunder”.

James is the patron saint of Spain, and according to tradition, his remains are held in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Celebrating this day there, a fiesta is held with a spectacular fireworks show over the cathedral, plus concerts and other street performances. A special mass is held in the cathedral which features the swinging of the enormous and famous incense burner, the botafumeiro.

In chapter 12 of Acts of the Apostles, King Herod had James executed by the sword, while Peter is miraculously liberated from prison. The murder of one apostle while another apostle is saved is beyond explanation and highlights the mystery, unknowability, and unpredictability of divine providence.

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:  Candace, Robert, Heather, Jackson, Michael, Mary, Bill, Mary Frances, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Melanie, Joe, Rebecca.

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:   Dennie, Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For Joanne and William – today is their wedding anniversary!

For all the blessings of this life.

 For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Delaware – The Episcopal Church (III (3) Province).

For all who have died:  Dorothy,  Jean, Daisy, Barbara, Rose, Margaret, Mary.

For one another.

Something to share

St. James’s Day

Sit down and take thy fill of joy

At God’s right hand, a bidden guest,

Drink of the cup that cannot cloy,

Eat of the bread that cannot waste.

O great Apostle! rightly now

Thou readest all thy Saviour meant,

What time His grave yet gentle brow

In sweet reproof on thee was bent.

“Seek ye to sit enthroned by me?

Alas! ye know not what ye ask,

The first in shame and agony,

The lowest in the meanest task –

This can ye be? and came ye drink

The cup that I in tears must steep,

Nor from the ‘whelming waters shrink

That o’er Me roll so dark and deep?”

“We can–Thine are we, dearest Lord,

In glory and in agony,

To do and suffer all Thy word;

Only be Thou for ever nigh.” –

“Then be it so–My cup receive,

And of My woes baptismal taste:

But for the crown, that angels weave

For those next Me in glory placed,

“I give it not by partial love;

But in My Father’s book are writ

What names on earth shall lowliest prove,

That they in Heaven may highest sit.”

Take up the lesson, O my heart;

Thou Lord of meekness, write it there,

Thine own meek self to me impart,

Thy lofty hope, thy lowly prayer.

If ever on the mount with Thee

I seem to soar in vision bright,

With thoughts of coming agony,

Stay Thou the too presumptuous flight:

Gently along the vale of tears

Lead me from Tabor’s sunbright steep,

Let me not grudge a few short years

With thee t’ward Heaven to walk and weep:

Too happy, on my silent path,

If now and then allowed, with Thee

Watching some placid holy death,

Thy secret work of love to see;

But, oh! most happy, should Thy call,

Thy welcome call, at last be given –

“Come where thou long hast storeth thy all

Come see thy place prepared in Heaven.”

       –  John Keble

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 Daily 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).

Our church campus is only partially open during the waning of the pandemic.  Please see our website for further information: https://st-stephens.church/. Hopefully, most parish meetings and gatherings will resume 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.

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.