Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Today is Monday in Holy Week
What Happened This Day?
The next morning (the Monday following Palm Sunday), Jesus returned with his disciples to Jerusalem. Along the way, he cursed a fig tree because it had failed to bear fruit.
When Jesus arrived at the Temple, he found the courts full of corrupt money changers. He began overturning their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46).
On Monday evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.
Monday’s events are recorded in Matthew 21:12–22, Mark 11:15–19, Luke 19:45-48, and John 2:13-17.
Though the fig tree does not blossom
and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails,
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold,
and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will exult in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength
– Habakkuk 3:17-19a
The Book of Habakkuk, composed probably in the late 7th century BCE, provides little direct information about the prophet, although in later Jewish tradition Habakkuk is identified as a Levite. The book is shaped by the powerful images of justice and injustice, confidence and doubt, salvation and judgment, God and humanity. Its message centers on the question of how can the violence and evil of the world possibly serve God’s purposes. Habakkuk, unlike most prophetic books, confronts God rather than presents the Divine confronting the people. In the concluding prayer (chapter 3) the prophet sees God’s intervention portrayed in cosmic terms. Habakkuk’s repeated complaints and questions find their answer in the affirmation “God, the Lord, is my strength” (3:19a).
From Our Prayers of the People
For the special needs and concerns of our congregation.
For people throughout the world: in places of war and strife, and for all victims of violence and oppression.
For the Presidents of Russia and Ukraine, that wisdom and courage may prevail in the cause of peace.
For the people of Ukraine, the people of Russia, and for all who affected by violence and war;
For those who have taken up arms, whether aggressively or defensively, that a spirit of peace may reign in their hearts and in their lands.
For our allies around the world in harm’s way: for those who are still trying to leave Afghanistan and the Ukraine; 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 vaccinations, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.
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: Maria V., Liz, Kathy, Maggie, Reena, Jim, Bruce, Chris, Audrey, June, Caleb, Josh T, Pat J., Daniel, Doris, Camellia, Beverly
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 and Carol Gallagher, Assisting Bishops; 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: Liz, Kathy, Janet, Marilyn, Eunice, Ruth, Mary Frances, Vincent, Priscilla, Joe, and all their families.
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Kuching – The Church of the Province of South East Asia.
For all who have died: Adele Worcester, Irene Phillips, David Small, Frances Baumis, George Bentley, Howard Phillips, Hazel Carrloo, William Scheiber, Marjorie Eaton, Fred Rossiter, and Peter Boese.
For one another.
Something to share
He was walking from Bethany to Jerusalem,
Brooding over sad premonitions.
The sun scorched the slope’s prickly shrubs.
No smoke was rising over a nearby hut,
The air was hot and the reeds motionless,
And the calm of the Dead Sea lay still.
And with a bitterness rivalling the sea’s,
He walked with a small throng of clouds
Along a dusty road, to somebody’s backyard,
On His way to a gathering of disciples.
And so immersed was He in His thoughts,
That the field, dejected, sent off a wormwood smell.
All was still. He stood alone in the midst of it,
While the land lay prostrate in swoon.
All became muddled, the heat, the desert,
The lizards, the springs, the streams.
A fig tree rose not too far off,
Fruitless, nothing but branches and leaves.
And He said to it: “Of what use are you?
What joy does your stupor bring me?
“I thirst and hunger, yet you stand barren,
My meeting you is joyless as granite.
O, how offensive and ungifted you are!
Remain as you are, then, till the end of time.”
A tremor of condemnation ran through the tree,
Like a spark of lightning down a rod.
The fig tree was reduced to ashes.
If only a moment of freedom had been given
To the leaves, the branches, roots, trunk,
The laws of nature could have intervened.
But a miracle is a miracle, and a miracle is God.
When we’re in confusion, in the midst of disorder,
It overtakes us instantly, by surprise.
– Boris Pasternak
News and Updates
Holy week schedule
Holy Monday – April 11th
9:00 am Morning Prayer on Zoom
Holy Tuesday– April 12th
9:00 am Morning Prayer on Zoom
Holy Wednesday– April 13th
9:00 am Morning Prayer on Zoom
Maundy Thursday – April 14th
9:00 Morning Prayer on Zoom
7:30 pm Eucharist & Stripping of the Altar
9:00 pm Prayer Vigil through the night
Good Friday – April 15th
12:00 Noon Stations of the Cross
7:30 pm Tenebrae
Easter Vigil – Saturday, April 16th
7:30 Lighting of the first fire
Nine lessons and musical responses
Renewal of Baptismal Vows
*Easter Day – April 17th
9:30 am Flowering of the Cross, Festive Eucharist
*Worship will be streamed
Coffee Hour – Please take a moment to sign up to host a Coffee Hour. We have plenty of spots open over the next several weeks. To sign up, just click on the link below, pick a date, and add your name to the list. Hosting is easy . . . there are instructions in the kitchen on how to make the coffee and what you need to do. And don’t worry if you’re not a gourmet baker . . . store-bought snacks are good, too! Questions? Contact Linda Emaelaf or Carole M-M.
Deacon Pat is now a resident at Peregrine Senior Living in Colonie, just across the road from the Russian Orthodox gold domes. She’s been there a week. You need a reservation to visit and may make one by calling 518-456-4500. Pat’s address is 5 South Family Drive, Colonie, NY, 12205.
Special Coffee Hour Brunch – The pandemic precluded the kind of celebration of Don Humphrey’s life that his wife, Marilyn wished at the time of his memorial service. On April 24th after the Eucharist we will have that opportunity with a brunch in honor of Don. Marilyn invites everyone to join in the celebration.
SiCM Pantry Requests for April and May – It’s time for Spring cleaning! The pantry is in desperate need of cleaning supplies for their guests. Basic items from discount retailers are always appreciated: bleach, glass cleaner, bathroom cleaners, and both laundry and dish detergents. Please donate only 16-ounce containers (or smaller) of the bleach and cleaners. If you can buy smaller containers of the detergents, that would also be appreciated; otherwise SiCM pours them into smaller bottles. Also, if you have small reusable plastic bottles, the pantry can use those! Consider also laundry detergent pods or strips instead of the liquid detergents.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each morning. Join Dennie and me 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: email@example.com).
If you need a prayerbook, and are not in a position to purchase one, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will make sure you have your own Book of Common Prayer.
Masks are optional for all gatherings at the church.
Our office email is: email@example.com.
Our goal is for all of us to stay in touch and connected.
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be at your back,
May the sun shine upon your face,
he rains fall soft upon soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his 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.