Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Monday, December 27, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today’s Prayer

Shed upon your Church, O Lord, the brightness of your light,

that we, being illumined by the teaching of your apostle and

evangelist John, may so walk in the light of your truth, that

at length we may attain to the fullness of eternal life; through

Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the

Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

             –   Book of Common Prayer, p. 238

Today is the Feast of St. John the Evangelist and the third day of Christmas. Merry Christmas!

John was the son of Zebedee, a Galilean fisherman. John and his brother James were among the first disciples called by Jesus. In Mark’s Gospel, he is always mentioned after James, most likely meaning he was the younger brother. His mother was among those women who ministered to the circle of disciples. James and John were called Boanerges, or “sons of thunder,” by Jesus, perhaps because of some character trait such as the zeal exemplified in Mark 9:38 and Luke 9:54, when the brothers wanted to call down fire from heaven to punish the Samaritan towns that did not accept Jesus. John and James, together with Peter, formed an inner nucleus of intimate disciples. In the Fourth Gospel, ascribed by early tradition to John and known formally as The Gospel According to John, the sons of Zebedee are mentioned only once, as being at the shores of the Sea of Tiberias when the risen Lord appeared. Whether the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (who is never named) mentioned in this Gospel is to be identified with John (also not named) is not clear from the text.

John’s authoritative position in the church after the Resurrection is shown by his visit with Peter to Samaria to lay hands on the new converts there. John was also among the leaders to whom Paul successfully submitted his conversion and mission for recognition. Christian writers of the second and third centuries indicate that John lived in Asia Minor in the last decades of the first century and from Ephesus had guided the Churches of that province.

St. John is the patron of art dealers, editors, writers, bookbinders, booksellers, printers, publishers, scholars, scribes, tanners, typesetters, theologians, hospitals and the sick – particularly burn and poison victims, and Turkey.

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 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: Charline, Janet, Marilyn, Don, Eunice, Ruth, Mary Frances, Vincent, Priscilla, Joe.

For Ronald – today is his birthday!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Northern Indiana – The Episcopal Church (V (5) Province).

For all who have died:  Anna Kastensmith, Solon Duff, Helen Bradish, Lillian Peterson, Isabella Dewhurst, Burleigh Douglass, Ida Rossiter, Sondra Grady.

Something to share

John

This is the gospel of the primal light,

The first beginning, and the fruitful end,

The soaring glory of an eagle’s flight,

The quiet touch of a beloved friend.

This is the gospel of our transformation,

Water to wine and grain to living bread,

Blindness to sight and sorrow to elation,

And Lazarus himself back from the dead!

This is the gospel of all inner meaning,

The heart of heaven opened to the earth,

A gentle friend on Jesus’ bosom leaning,

And Nicodemus offered a new birth.

No need to search the heavens high above,

Come close with John, and feel the pulse of Love.

          – Malcolm Guite

News and Updates

Inquirers’ Classes – These sessions are an introduction to the Episcopal Church in the United States.  The four classes give an overview of how Episcopalians fit into the complex of protestant and catholic churches.  The National Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Albany, the congregation of St. Stephen’s and the relationship among all three will be explored.  Frank discussions include both the wonderful things about our Church, and also some not-so-wonderful things. This course is required for all adults who wish to be confirmed or received into the church this May, but is open to all members of the Parish Family.

Classes will be on Zoom at the participants’ convenience.  Please talk to the rector (518-522-3906) or email at james.ross.mcd@gmail.com if you would like to attend.

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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