Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Thursday, August 26, 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

I am praying again Awesome One,
You hear me again as words from the depths rush toward you in wind.
I’ve been scattered in pieces in alleyways.
I sweep myself out of garbage and broken glass.
With my half-mouth I stammer you who are eternal in your symmetry.
I lift to you my half-hands in wordless beseeching that I may find again the eyes with which I once beheld you.
I am a house gutted by fire where the guilty sometimes sleep before the punishment that devours them hounds them out into the open.
I am a city by the sea, sinking into a toxic tide.
I am strange to myself as though someone unknown had poisoned my mother as she carried me.
It’s here in all the pieces of my shame that I now find myself again.
How I yearn to belong to something, to be contained in an all-embracing mind that sees me as a single thing.
And I yearn to be held in the great hands of your heart.
Oh let them take me now.
Into your hands I place these fragments, my life, and you my God spend them however you want.

–          Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

Rainer Maria Rilke [1875-1926] is widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German language poets. Several critics have described Rilke’s work as inherently ‘mystical’. The Poetry Foundation tells more about him than that he had a way with words: his was an aesthetic philosophy that strove to reconcile beauty and suffering, life and death.

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: Don, 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 Richey – today is her birthday!

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 Egypt – The Episcopal / Anglican Province of Alexandria.

For all who have died:  Martha.

Something to share

It was in one of the 10 letters Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote to a 19-year-old officer cadet at an Austrian military academy, Franz Xaver Kappus, published posthumously in 1929 in Letters to a Young Poet, that he called for the unknown to be embraced, and not necessarily puzzled out:

“…have patience with everything unresolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing, live your way into the answer….”

News and Updates

Prayers for Haiti and Afghanistan:   https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/pressreleases/

Moving Sale – Louise Peake, 1200 Hillside Ave., Unit 305, Niskayuna. Saturday August 28, 11 -2. Furniture, Accessories, Kitchen Items, Window Treatments, Rugs.

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/ ; 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.

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.