Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Thursday, December 30, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Today is the sixth day of Christmas. Merry Christmas!

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

Today’s Prayer

1     The LORD is my light and my salvation;

        whom then shall I fear? *

       the LORD is the strength of my life;

        of whom then shall I be afraid?

2     When evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh, *

       it was they, my foes and my adversaries, who

                            stumbled and fell.

3     Though an army should encamp against me, *

       yet my heart shall not be afraid;

4     And though war should rise up against me, *

       yet will I put my trust in him.

5     One thing have I asked of the LORD;

       one thing I seek; *

       that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days

                            of my life;

6     To behold the fair beauty of the LORD *

       and to seek him in his temple.

7     For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe

                            in his shelter; *

       he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling

       and set me high upon a rock.

8     Even now he lifts up my head *

       above my enemies round about me.

9     Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation

        with sounds of great gladness; *

       I will sing and make music to the LORD.

10   Hearken to my voice, O LORD, when I call; *

       have mercy on me and answer me.

11   You speak in my heart and say, “Seek my face.” *

       Your face, LORD, will I seek.

12   Hide not your face from me, *

       nor turn away your servant in displeasure.

13   You have been my helper;

       cast me not away; *

       do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.

14   Though my father and my mother forsake me, *

       the LORD will sustain me.

15   Show me your way, O LORD; *

       lead me on a level path, because of my enemies.

16   Deliver me not into the hand of my adversaries, *

       for false witnesses have risen up against me,

       and also those who speak malice.

17   What if I had not believed

       that I should see the goodness of the LORD *

       in the land of the living!

18   O tarry and await the LORD’S pleasure;

       be strong, and he shall comfort your heart; *

       wait patiently for the LORD.

                      –  Psalm 27

The theme of this psalm is trust; the psalmist has no fear of threats or danger in the protective refuge of God. Verse 18 sums up the psalm’s message: O tarry and await the LORD’s pleasure; be strong, and he shall comfort your heart; wait patiently for the LORD. In Judaism Psalm 27 is recited in the late summer through the early fall, the time surrounding Rosh Hashanah, the start of the New Year.

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: especially for those who live in Afghanistan; may God be with them.

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 Tammy – today is her baptismal anniversary!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Iran – The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East.

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

Something to share

1 January 1965

The Wise Men will unlearn your name.

Above your head no star will flame.

One weary sound will be the same—

the hoarse roar of the gale.

The shadows fall from your tired eyes

as your lone bedside candle dies,

for here the calendar breeds nights

till stores of candles fail.

What prompts this melancholy key?

A long familiar melody.

It sounds again. So let it be.

Let it sound from this night.

Let it sound in my hour of death—

as gratefulness of eyes and lips

for that which sometimes makes us lift

our gaze to the far sky.

You glare in silence at the wall.

Your stocking gapes: no gifts at all.

It’s clear that you are now too old

to trust in good Saint Nick;

that it’s too late for miracles.

—But suddenly, lifting your eyes

to heaven’s light, you realize:

your life is a sheer gift.

            –  Joseph Brodsky

News and Updates

Double Your Generosity – good news: Our match amount has just increased from $650,000 to $900,000, amplifying our collective impact worldwide. But there are only two days left of this match. 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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