Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Saturday, September 11, 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

Lord of Mercy, Prince of Peace,

This date, 9-11, carries a heavy burden of memory.
This day does not pass in the calendar without our remembering. We remember images of death and destruction. Images that human eyes were never meant to see. We remember words our ears were never meant to hear, the tender last words of husbands and wives who would never embrace again.

We imagine the feeling of emptiness in the arms of children who at the end of the day could not find mom or dad for their welcome home hug. We remember our own feelings of emptiness as our sense of security, as our own confidence in the predictable order of life and work was radically shaken.

This date, 9-11, carries a heavy burden of memory.
We remember the heroism of the many that lost their lives in saving others. We remember all those who suffered and died, we grieve for them still, friends and strangers alike, along with their families and friends.

This date, 9-11, carries a heavy burden of memory.
And it is right that it should not pass from our memory. But today and in this prayer, along with our remembrance of profound loss, it also seems right that we give voice to our deep longing for peace, and with this prayer, commit ourselves to those actions that will draw us closer to our most ancient and most holy desire, peace among all God’s children.

Dona nobis pacem.

Lord, grant us peace. Amen.

        –   Catholic Charities of NY

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 our allies around the world in harm’s way: for those who are still trying to leave Afghanistan; may God be with them and their families.

For the victims of Hurricane Ida: for people who have evacuated, for those who are still in their homes, for first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  

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 as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus variants. 

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

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn. 

For our Government Leaders: Joseph Biden, President of the United States; Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York State; Gary McCarthy, Mayor of Schenectady.

For our Church Leaders: Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop; Michael G. Smith, Assisting 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 all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Bendel Province).

For all who have died:  Marian, Robert, Lucie, Margaret, and Ruth.

Something to share

 The Dead of September 11

Some have God’s words; others have songs of comfort

for the bereaved. If I can pluck courage here, I would

like to speak directly to the dead–the September dead.

Those children of ancestors born in every continent

on the planet: Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas…;

born of ancestors who wore kilts, obis, saris, geles,

wide straw hats, yarmulkes, goatskin, wooden shoes,

feathers and cloths to cover their hair. But I would not say

a word until I could set aside all I know or believe about

nations, wars, leaders, the governed and ungovernable;

all I suspect about armor and entrails. First I would freshen

my tongue, abandon sentences crafted to know evil—wanton

or studied; explosive or quietly sinister; whether born of

a sated appetite or hunger; of vengeance or the simple

compulsion to stand up before falling down. I would purge

my language of hypberbole; of its eagerness to analyze

the levels of wickedness; ranking them; calculating their

higher or lower status among others of its kind.

Speaking to the broken and the dead is too difficult for

a mouth full of blood. Too holy an act for impure thoughts.

Because the dead are free, absolute; they cannot be seduced by blitz.

To speak to you, the dead of September 11, I must not claim

false intimacy or summon an overheated heart glazed

just in time for a camera. I must be steady and I must be clear,

knowing all the time that I have nothing to say–no words

stronger than the steel that pressed you into itself; no scripture

older or more elegant than the ancient atoms you

have become.

And I have nothing to give either–except this gesture,

this thread thrown between your humanity and mine:

I want to hold you in my arms and as your soul got shot of its box of flesh to understand, as

you have done, the wit

of eternity: its gift of unhinged release tearing through

the darkness of its knell. 

–          Toni Morrison

News and Updates

Pastoral word from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on 20th anniversary of Sept. 11

As followers of Jesus, and with our siblings in other faith traditions, we place great value on the act of remembrance. As we reflect on the solemn anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, we remember many loved ones lost and first responders who put their lives at risk, modeling the sacrificial love of Jesus, who said: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

While 20 years have passed, I also want us to pause and remember the days that followed these tragic events. There was a moment in the aftermath when people came together. We were praying, grieving, and also working together. Because in that moment, however fleeting it was, we knew with immediacy and vulnerability that we need God, and we need each other.

Memories of that tender cooperation—of love for each other as neighbors—serve as guiding lights for the present. Amidst the ongoing pandemic and natural disasters that have taken so many lives and pushed first responders to their limits, and amidst a worldwide reckoning with the sin of racism, we are called to become the Beloved Community whose way of life is the way of Jesus and his way of love.

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to support dioceses providing assistance in response to disasters:  See https://www.episcopalrelief.org/press-resources/press-releases/2021-press-releases-press-releases/ to read the latest updates on 

supporting partners in Haiti after the earthquake, 

continuing support around the world in response to COVID-19, 

partnering with dioceses in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida, and 

supporting the diocese of Northern California in response to wildfires.  

This Sunday’s Readings:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aWJOgvDQ-Tw0eayDJY9Ur1mUTa605MZk/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=109485766909959793279&rtpof=true&sd=true

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.