Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,
Alleluia. Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
– Luke 1:46-55
Today is the Feast of the Visitation of Mary.
Mary visits her relative Elizabeth; they are both pregnant. Mary is to be the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth is to be the mother of John the Baptist. Immediately after the Annunciation, Mary left Nazareth and “went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country.” (Luke 1:39) Her journey may have been 100 miles. When the two expectant mothers meet, Luke portrays their encounter like an opera. It is the height of drama. Elizabeth, overcome with the Holy Spirit, exclaims praise for Mary and her unborn child. Mary, in reply, sings the Magnificat, the prayer above. Mary stays with Elizabeth for three months, presumably until John the Baptist’s birth, and then returns home.
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: 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, Marilyn, Eunice, Ruth, Mary Frances, Vincent, Priscilla, Joe, and all their families.
For Roseann and Richey – today is their baptismal anniversary!
For Susie – today is her birthday!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Lui – The Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (Amadi Province
For all who have died: Marge Duff, George Ott, Carl Hatlee, Elizabeth McMaho and Joan Oswalt.
For one another.
Something to share
For the Feast of the Visitation
About 1000 years before Mary, her ancestor Hannah prayed for a child. Her prayer was heard and she became the mother of the prophet Samuel. When Hannah dedicated her son to the Lord at the Temple of Shiloh, she prayed a prayer perhaps Mary knew by heart:
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.
There is no Holy One like the Lord, no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed.”
-1 Samuel 2:1-10
News and Updates
Next week is Pentecost – Please wear something red to commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit “in tongues of flame”, and listen carefully as the gospel is read in many different languages! A booklet with next week’s Gospel in a variety of languages can be found in the Nave Extension.
Calling all graduates – Families – if you have a graduate in your family (at any level – preschool all the way through college and beyond), or a child who has received a special honor or award at the end of the year please message Bethany at email@example.com. This information will be shared in the June messenger.
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.
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.