Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Monday, September 20, 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

Jesus  sweet Jesus  my dear my darling my Lord  my Savior my honey-drop my balm….

Ah, who cannot love you, lovely Jesus? For within you alone are all things gathered that can ever make anyone worthy of love….

if I will love anyone for their generosity, I will love you, Jesus Christ, more generous than anyone. For other generous men give all kinds of outer things; but you, sweet Jesus, so gave yourself for me that you did not know how to withhold your heart’s blood. Lover never gave lover a richer love-gift. And you, who first gave me your whole self, my beloved, you have promised me – in exchange for the gift of my whole self to you – to rule on your right hand, crowned with you. Then who is more generous than you? Who is more worthy to be loved for generosity than you, my life-love?

Ah, Jesus, sweet Jesus, grant that love of you be all my pleasure.

But generosity is worth little where wisdom is wanting. And if I will love any man for his wisdom, there is no one wiser than you, who are called wisdom by your Father in Heaven. For through you who are wisdom, he created all this world, and orders and divides it as seems best. Within you, my beloved life, is hidden the hoard of all wisdom, as the book witnesses (Proverbs 3:19).

Ah, Jesus, sweet Jesus, grant that love of you be all my pleasure.

       –  The Wooing of Our Lord

The specific author of The Wooing of Our Lord is unknown, but the text, written in Middle English, was probably composed sometime between 1220 and 1250 and was included among works meant to be used by anchorites and anchoresses, people who chose to live a solitary Christian life. Anchorites and anchoresses were distinct from other forms of solitary religious life in that they lived in cells attached to churches. This excerpt was taken from a translation found in the book, Anchoritic Spirituality: Ancrene Wisse and Associated Works translated and introduced by Anne Savage and Nicholas Watson.

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:  Pat, Don, Jennifer, Josh, Shaun, Candace, Robert, Heather, Jackson, Michael, Mary, Bill, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Melanie, Joe, Rebecca, Skip, Curt, Jackie.

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 Parish of the Falkland Islands – Extra Provincial to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

For all who have died:  Mildred, Kathryn, Reuben, Timothy, Dennis, and Elsie.

Something to share

Noah and Joan

It’s not that I’m proud of the fact

that twenty percent of Americans believe

that Noah (of Noah’s Ark) was married

to Joan of Arc. It’s true. I’ll admit it—

Americans are pretty dumb and forgetful

when it comes to history. And they’re notorious

for interpreting the Bible to suit themselves.

You don’t have to tell me we can’t spell anymore—

Ark or Arc, it’s all the same to us.

But think about it, just a second, timeline aside,

it’s not such an awful mistake. The real Noah’s missus

was never even given a name. She was sort of milquetoasty,

a shadowy figure lugging sacks of oats up a plank.

I mean, Joan could have helped Noah build that ark

in her sensible slacks and hiking boots. She was good with swords

and, presumably, power tools. I think Noah and Joan

might have been a good match, visionaries

once mistaken for flood-obsessed and heretic.

Never mind France wasn’t France yet—

all the continents probably blended together,

one big mush. Those Bible days would have been

good for Joan, those early times when premonitions

were common, when animals popped up

out of nowhere, when people were getting cured

left and right. Instead of battles and prisons

and iron cages, Joan could have cruised

the Mediterranean, wherever the flood waters took that ark.

And Noah would have felt more like Dr. Doolittle,

a supportive Joan saying, “Let’s not waste any time!

Hand over those boat blueprints, honey!”

All that sawing and hammering would have helped

calm her nightmares of mean kings and crowns,

a nasty futuristic place called England.

She’d convince Noah to become vegetarian.

She’d live to be much older than 19, those parakeets

and antelope leaping about her like children.

        –  Denise Duhamel

News and Updates

Celebration of Life – Millie Gittinger is inviting the congregation to a celebration of her late husband’s life this Saturday at the church, 11am.  A Reception will follow in the Courtyard.

Christian Education classes will begin on 9/26 during the 9 am service. Bethany will bring the children to the classroom after the gospel is read. If you have any questions, please email her at office@st-stephens.church.

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.  

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.