Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Monday, December 13, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Today’s Prayer

Loving God, for the salvation of all you gave Jesus Christ as light to a world in darkness: Illumine us, with your daughter Lucy, with the light of Christ, that by the merits of his passion we may be led to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

           –   Holy Women, Holy Men, p. 115

Today is the Feast of St. Lucy.

Most of the details of Lucy’s life are obscure. She is remembered for the purity of her life and the gentleness of her spirit. She was martyred at Syracuse, in Sicily, during Diocletian’s reign of terror of 303-04. Because her name means “light,” she is sometimes thought of as the patron saint of those who suffer from diseases of the eyes.

In popular piety, Lucy is perhaps most revered because her feast day, December 13, was for many centuries the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. (The reform of the calendar in 1582 shifted the shortest day to December 21/22. It was on Lucy’s day that the light began gradually to return and the days to lengthen.

In Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Swedish-speaking regions of Finland, as songs are sung, girls dressed as Saint Lucy carry cookies and saffron buns in procession, which symbolizes bringing the Light of Christ into the world’s darkness.[7][8] In both Protestant and Catholic churches, boys participate in the procession as well, playing different roles associated with Christmastide, such as that of Saint Stephen or generic gingerbread men or nisses. The celebration of Saint Lucy’s Day is said to help one live the winter days with enough light.

From Our Prayers of the People 

For the special needs and concerns of our congregation.  

For comfort and healing for all who are affected by the deadly tornadoes devastating communities in six states this weekend.

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 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:  Alice, Lisa, Rick, Bette Ann, Phil, Jennifer, Josh, Shaun, Candace, Robert, Heather, Jackson, Michael, Mary, Bill, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Melanie, Joe, Rebecca, Skip, Curt, Jackie, Audrey, Sunny, Diana

For those who are homebound:  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: Don, Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Joe. 

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Ijumu – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Lokoja Province).

For all who have died:  Vera, Dora,  Katherine, Hiola.

Something to share

Poem on Saint Lucie’s Day

Lucy, whose day is in our darkest season,

(Although your name is full of light,)

We walkers in the murk and rain and flesh and sense,

Lost in the midnight of our dead world’s winter solstice

Look for the fogs to open on your friendly star.

We have long since cut down the summer of our history;

Our cheerful towns have all gone out like fireflies in October.

The fields are flooded and the vines are bare:

How have our long days dwindled, and now the world is frozen!

Locked in the cold jails of our stubborn will,

Oh, hear the shovels growling in the gravel.

This is the way they’ll make our beds forever,

Ours, whose Decembers have put out the sun:

Doors of whose souls are shut against the summertime!

Martyr, whose short day sees our winter and our Calvary,

Show us some light, who seem forsaken by the sky;

We have so dwelt in darkness that our eyes are screened

and dim,

And all but blinded by the weakest ray.

Hallow the vespers and December of our life,

O martyred Lucy:

Console our solstice with your friendly day.

             –  Thomas Merton

News and Updates

Double Your Generosity This Holiday Season – Episcopal Relief & Development is kicking off its annual Year-End Match, offering supporters the opportunity to transform lives with twice the impact this holiday season. Thanks to a very generous group of donors, contributions that Episcopal Relief & Development receives between now and December 31 will be doubled, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $650,000.

Part of any donation will help to meet needs created by the deadly tornadoes devastating communities this weekend.

The Year-End Match will benefit the organization’s Global Needs Fund, supporting key programs in three priority areas: Women, Children and Climate. Gifts will bolster work promoting the health and wellbeing of children, empowering women and helping communities adapt to our changing climate. They will also strengthen the organization’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic in marginalized communities in the United States and around the world.

Contributions made to Episcopal Relief & Development before the end of the year are eligible for matching, including Gifts for Life, the organization’s alternative giving catalog, and direct contributions online, over the phone, or by mail. Gifts of stock or from an IRA are also included in the Year-End Match Challenge. 

Donate online at episcopalrelief.org/match, or call 1.855.312.4325. Gifts can also be mailed to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-70

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. Sunday Morning Prayer is at 8:00am.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 next year.

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.

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.

For All Gatherings at the Church – Every individual on site NEEDS to wear a mask, even if you have been vaccinated! The mask should conform to ASC standards (covering both nose and mouth, well fitted – not a bandana/gator/scarf).  Let’s work together to keep the few activities we have!

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.

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