Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Wednesday, July 28, 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

Lord, how much juice you can squeeze from a single grape.

How much water you can draw from a single well.

How great a fire you can kindle from a tiny spark.

How great a tree you can grow from a tiny seed.

My soul is so dry that by itself it cannot pray,

Yet you can squeeze from it the juice of a thousand prayers.

My soul is so parched that by itself it cannot love;

Yet you can draw from it boundless love for you and for my

         neighbor.

My soul is so cold that by itself it has no joy,

Yet you can light the fire of heavenly joy within me.

My soul is so feeble that by itself it has no faith;

Yet by your power my faith grows to a great height.

Thank you for prayer, for love, for joy, for faith;

Let me always be prayerful, loving, joyful, faithful.

      –   Guigo the Carthusian, 1188

Guigo was a Carthusian monk and the 9th prior of the Grande Chartreuse monastery, from 1174-80. His most famous book is most commonly known today as Scala Claustralium (The Ladder of Monks). Drawing on Jacob’s vision of angels ascending and descending a ladder to heaven in Genesis 28:12, Guigo wrote an account to explain how the ladder was meant for those in the cloister, seeking the contemplative life. Guigo named the four steps of this “ladder” of Lectio Divina prayer, a practice which continues daily in contemporary Benedictine ritual meditation, with the Latin terms lectiomeditatiooratio, and contemplatio. In Guigo’s four stages one first reads, which leads to think about (i.e. meditate on) the significance of the text; that process in turn leads the person to respond in prayer as the third stage. The fourth stage is when the prayer, in turn, points to the gift of quiet stillness in the presence of God, called contemplation.

Scala Claustralium is considered the first description of methodical prayer in the western mystical tradition, and Guigo is considered the first writer in the western tradition to consider stages of prayer as a ladder which leads to a closer mystic communion with God. It is still a basic guide for those who wish to practice lectio divina.

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:  Mike, June, Kenny, Danny, Charlotte, Diana, Caleb, June, Ruth, David, Kathy Nick, Roberta, Beth, Walker, Warren, Steven, Susan, Ann, John, Stephen.

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 Chouffi, Vincent Avila, Priscilla Sprague, Ruth Turner, Mary Frances Hatfield, Debbie Trawick, Joe White.

For all the blessings of this life.

 For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Derby – The Church of England (Canterbury Province).

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

For one another.

Something to share

Out in the Fields with God

The little cares that fretted me,

I lost them yesterday

Among the fields above the sea,

Among the winds that play,

Among the lowing of the herds,

The rustling of the trees,

Among the singing of the birds,

The humming of the bees.

The fears of what may come to pass,

I cast them all away

Among the clover-scented grass,

Among the new mown hay,

Among the rustling of the corn,

Where drowsy poppies nod,

Where ill thoughts die and good are born,

Out in the fields with God.

      –   Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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.

Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com ) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at 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.