Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Alleluia. Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
From all lame defeats and oh! much more
From all the victories that I seemed to score;
From cleverness shot forth on thy behalf,
At which, while angels weep, the audience laugh;
From all my proofs of thy divinity,
Thou, who wouldst give no sign, deliver me.
Thoughts are but coins. Let me not trust, instead
Of thee, their thin-worn image of thy head.
From all my thoughts, even from my thoughts of thee,
O thou fair silence, fall, and set me free.
Lord of the narrow gate and the needle’s eye,
Take from me all my trumpery lest I die.
– C.S. Lewis, 1963
“You must make your choice,” C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity. “Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up as a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.”
Lewis did not always believe this. Early in life he rejected Christianity, but after serving in World War I, as he started a long academic career in medieval and renaissance literature at Oxford and Cambridge, he also began an inner journey that led him from atheism to agnosticism to theism and finally to faith in Jesus Christ.
He became widely known through his radio talks and popular books as one who could explain traditional Christian beliefs in a simple, rational way; they helped many to come to faith and strengthened the faith of new Christians. His Narnia books for children use the extended metaphor of Aslan the lion to represent Christ, and the space-travel collection also uses fiction to convey Christian truth.
Regarding his own conversion Lewis wrote: “I know very well when, but hardly how, the final step was taken. I was driven to Whipsnade one sunny morning. When we set out, I did not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo, I did.”
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: Waid, Kenny, Myra, Candace, Daryl, Joan, Charline, Ralph, Mary Ann, Joe, Jeanne, Theresa, Josh, Donald, Judith, David.
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: Mary Ann, David, 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 Lincoln – The Church of England (Canterbury Province).
For all who have died: Melanie Kidder, Harry Wemple, Gwendolyn Robbins, Grant Towne, and Donald Atkinson.
For one another.
Something to share
Footnote to All Prayers
He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable name, murmuring thou,
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing thou art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
Worshiping with frail images a folk-lore dream,
And all men in praying, self-deceived, address
The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
Thou in magnetic mercy to thyself divert
Our arrows, aimed unskillfully, beyond deserts;
And all men are idolators, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if thou take them at their word.
Take not, oh Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in thy great,
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.
– C.S. Lewis
News and Updates
Hi-Tech Parish Ministry – If you are interested in learning how to live-stream our church services there will be a training after church on the 22nd. Please meet Dan Schuldt directly following the service in the front of the church.
Confirmation – Bp. Michael Smith will hold a regional confirmation service at All Saints’ Cathedral this coming Saturday, May 14th at 10am. A group of six people from St. Stephen’s will be confirmed and others will attend. All from St. Stephen’s are invited to attend. Come and support our confirmands!
A special Coffee Hour to honor the confirmands will be given on Sunday, May 22nd in Begley Hall after church. All are invited!
Organ Recital – On May 15th at 3pm the nationally known organist and composer, Alfred Fedak and his student, Susan Lohnas, will give an inaugural organ recital at St. Stephen’s. Come, support the music program at our church and hear our organ in its splendor!
A variety of music will be played for the recital. In Daily Prayers every few days a brief description one of those pieces will be featured.
Canzon dopo l’Epistola Opus 4, No. 41 Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)
Girolamo Frescobaldi was an Italian composer and organist of the Renaissance and Baroque period. His works influenced many composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach in the Baroque era and Jean Langlais in the twentieth century.
This piece was published in 1635 in a collection of liturgical music called Fiori Musicale (musical flowers), one of Girolamo Frescobaldi’s finest works. It was to be played during the Mass, following the Epistle and just prior to the Gospel.
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: email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you need a prayerbook, and are not in a position to purchase one, please contact me: email@example.com. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.