Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
The Festal Menaion
Come, O gathering of those who love to keep the feasts,
come and let us form a choir.
Come, let us crown the Church with songs,
as the Ark of God goes to her rest.
For today is heaven opened wide as it receives
the Mother of Him who cannot be contained.
The Earth, as it yields up the source of Life,
is robed in blessing and majesty.
The host of angels,
present with the fellowship of the apostles,
gaze in great fear at her who bore the Cause of life,
now that she is translated from life to life.
Let us all venerate and implore her:
Forget not, O Lady, thy ties of kinship with us all!
-Hymn from Vespers for the Feast of the Dormition
Today is the Feast of Saint Mary the Virgin, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ (transferred from yesterday).
Mary, a young Galilean woman of Nazareth, was engaged to a man named Joseph. One day, according to the Gospel of Luke, she was visited by the angel Gabriel, who was sent by God. The angel said unto her, “Hail, thou that art highly favored! The Lord is with thee.” After calming her fears Gabriel announced that she would conceive and bear a son named Jesus, who would be called ‘the Son of the most High.”
Mary was troubled by this news. Her life would be in danger because she was as yet unmarried. The angel assured her that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that nothing is impossible with God. And so, Mary responded in faith: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Let it be with me according to thy word.”
It was in the space created by Mary’s faith – and not simply in her womb – that the Word became flesh. For this reason, she is called not only the Mother of Jesus but Mother of the Church. In the past it was common to emphasize the uniqueness of Mary – her being above and beyond the ordinary conditions of humanity – which, in a way, stressed the divinity of her Son. More recently there is a new emphasis on her status as a woman of the people and her solidarity with the rest of humanity – a woman rooted in the faith and struggles of her people, subject to the cruelties of the world, and an heir to the ancient hope for deliverance and salvation, which, in a way, emphasizes her Son’s humanity. All theology and beliefs about Mary, in some way, are meant to point to the mystery of the incarnation in her Son Jesus.
For him, every knee should bend in heaven and on earth and under the earth.
For her, on this day, in thanksgiving for her faith and witness may all creatures in heaven and on earth and under the earth hail Mary!
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: Jennifer, Josh T., Shaun, 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: Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.
For Ganon – today is his birthday!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Easton – The Episcopal Church (III (3) Province).
For all who have died: Elmer, Marilyn, and Edwin.
For one another.
Something to share
Sing we of the blessed Mother
Sing we of the blessed Mother who received the angel’s word,
And obedient to the summons bore in love the infant Lord;
Sing we of the joys of Mary at whose breast the child was fed
Who is Son of God eternal and the everlasting Bread.
Sing we, too, of Mary’s sorrows, of the sword that pierced her through,
When beneath the cross of Jesus she his weight of suffering knew,
Looked upon her Son and Savior reigning from the awful tree,
Saw the price of our redemption paid to set the sinner free.
Sing again the joys of Mary when she saw the risen Lord,
And in prayer with Christ’s apostles, waited on his promised word;
From on high the blazing glory of the Spirit’s presence came,
Heavenly breath of God’s own being, manifest in wind and flame.
Sing the chiefest joy of Mary when on earth her work was done,
And the Lord of all creation brought her to his heavenly home;
Where, raised high with saints and angels, in Jerusalem above,
She beholds her Son and Savior reigning as the Lord of love.
– Hymnal 1982, #278; George B. Timms
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (email@example.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/ ; the Schenectady County Health Department: https://www.schenectadycounty.com/COVID19; 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.
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.