Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Tuesday, September 14, 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

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

                – Book of Common Prayer, p.244

Today is Holy Cross Day.

According to Christian tradition, the True Cross was discovered in 326 by Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, during a pilgrimage she made to Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was then built at the site of the discovery, by order of Helena and Constantine. The church was dedicated nine years later, with a portion of the cross. One-third remained in Jerusalem, one-third was brought to Rome and deposited in the Sessorian basilica Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Holy Cross in Jerusalem), and one-third was taken to Constantinople to make the city impregnable.

The date of the feast marks the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335. This was a two-day festival: although the actual consecration of the church was on September 13, the cross itself was brought outside the church on September 14 so that the clergy and faithful could pray before the True Cross, and all could come forward to venerate it.

The Second Council of Nicæa of 787, drew the distinction between veneration of the cross and worship or latria, “which, according to the teaching of the faith, belongs to the Divine nature alone. It was noted that this cult must be considered as not belonging to the substance of religion, but as being one of the things not absolutely necessary to salvation.  Thus, the honor paid to the image passes to the prototype; and he who adores the image, adores the person whom it represents.

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 Sharhonna, Chris, Louis, Philip, Rick, Louise, Clara, Robin, Jackie, Waid, Dan, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Craig, Donald, Gerald, Molly, Kenny, Sunny.

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 Diocese in Europe – The Church of England (Canterbury Province).

For all who have died:  Reginald.

Something to share

The royal banners forward go

The royal banners forward go,

The cross shines forth in mystic glow

Where He through whom our flesh was made,

In that same flesh our ransom paid.

Fulfilled is all that David told

In true prophetic song of old;

How God the nations’ King should be,

For God is reigning from the tree.

O tree of beauty, tree most fair,

Ordained those holy limbs to bear

Gone is thy shame, each crimsoned bough

Proclaims the King of Glory now.

Blest tree, whose chosen branches bore

The wealth that did the world restore,

The price which none but he could pay

To spoil the spoiler of his prey.

O cross, our one reliance hail!

Still may thy power with us avail

To save us sinners from our sin,

God’s righteousness for all to win.

To Thee, eternal Three in One,

Let homage meet by all be done;

As by the cross Thou dost restore

So rule and guide us evermore. Amen.

       –   Hymnal 1982, #162; Venantius Honorius Fortunatus

News and Updates

Communion Class: Fall 2021 – I will offer a communion class this fall for any children interested.  There will be two classes, the first on October 20th meeting in the Begley Hall, and the second on October 27th meeting in the church.  The classes will begin at 3:30. The first class will be a mix of informational and socially distanced hands-on activities.  The second class will include a tour through the church, sacristy, and altar, allowing the children to see behind-the-scenes and up close the elements that go into a service and the preparation of the Eucharist. 

Masks must be worn at all times and we will be following social distancing guidelines. Please let us know if you plan to attend by emailing office@st-stephens.church. 

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.