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Friday, July 28 2023


When last we left St. Paul in Romans chapter eight, he was filled with exuberance in his proclamation of the saving grace of God for all people. In chapter nine, our text for this Sunday, we meet a very different Paul. He seems to be in the depths of despair wondering why his own Jewish people have not freely embraced the message of Jesus. Yet he wisely remembers that God will continue to be faithful to Israel.

The gentile Christians in Rome would have been immersed in a powerful imperial narrative contrary to the story of the Bible. From the brothers Romulus and Remus to the current emperor seen as the lord of the earth, the story of Rome was one of divinely sanctioned power, privilege and domination of peoples. It would be easy for gentile Christians in Rome to assume exceptionalism for themselves over the Jewish community who had not come to believe in Jesus. But Jesus is not another emperor. Paul strenuously counters the myth of Roman dominance with the story of God's continuing invitation to Israel as the bearers of God's hope for the world. The gentiles are invited to join Israel in God's mission to redeem all things in Christ. 

In our time, another imperial counter narrative is alive and well through the myth of American tribalism and Christian nationalism. As Christians faithful to God's vision in an increasingly secular culture, our mission is to oppose that counter narrative and to keep alive a global vision of God who first called Israel and now invites us as well to reconcile all people to God and one another.

Fr. Dan

Posted by: The Very Rev. Canon Daniel Ade AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, July 21 2023


Let Them Grow Together: Living in a World of Ambiguity 

We have spent the last several weeks with Fr. Dan, pondering the words of Paul to the Romans. Just last week, we were given the deep assurance that nothing can separate us from the love of God. That indeed is comforting and grounding – especially as we move forward into a message that takes us out of our safe haven, compelling us to face the gray areas of our lives.  This week we are being called to occupy in-between places – places that may be mixed, messy, confusing. A message that challenges our comfort zones and moves us into God’s field to live among the wheat and the tares.

The parable of the seeds and the weeds is an allegory particularly appropriate for a July message as we move into the season of harvest. Jesus describes the Kingdom of God like a person who sows good seed in a field, yet in the night – or one might even say – in the dark, an enemy comes and plants weeds. If you are a gardener, you probably work feverishly plucking the dratted weeds so your vegetables or flowers will flourish. Isn’t the kingdom of God supposed to be a perfect and beautiful place – a place where sin is no more? But the kingdom described here is messy and confusing. This parable is about ambiguity and paradox. We have wheat and we also have weeds. It is about what is good in our world and it is also about the reality of evil. How do we sort it out? And, in fact, Is that even our job?

Why is it that the servants are deterred from removing the weeds to ensure a good harvest? Jesus tells us that in removing the weeds, we run the risk of uprooting some of the good crop – because indeed the wheat and the darnel look alike. So, we are told to wait – to have patience and restraint. It isn’t quite time for the harvest. And we are not the harvesters. It is God who will sort it out at the final judgment. In the meantime, we are called to live, grow, love and flourish together.

How can we even think about rooting out the bad weeds in the world, when each one of us can recognize our own inner conflict between good and bad. In truth we are all 'part weed, part wheat'. We must hope and pray that God works in us to make us more ‘wheat like.’

Oh, how we want to be among the wheat
at the last judgment, gathered and bundled off to heaven,
not separated out to be burned!
As If Jesus is talking about others—
you know, those bad people—and not you,
not what in you yourself is good and bad.
Maybe God lets you discern what is fruitful in you
and blesses it; and what is not fruitful,
if you are willing, God graciously, thankfully, removes.
Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Maybe during our lifetime, things do not turn out just fine. Sometimes we don’t make the best choices. Our Christian faith doesn’t necessarily prevent hardship. But as Paul reminds us, we are not justified by our right choices, but rather by grace, through faith. And knowing that we have God’s unconditional love in spite of our poor choices frees us up to live each day fully. And that gives us hope!

With patience and hope, 
Deacon Claire

Posted by: Rev. Claire D. Mis, Deacon AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, July 14 2023


Here are a few initial thoughts for my sermon on Sunday. This week we will look at Romans chapter 8 where St. Paul sums up the theological argument he has been presenting through the first half of the letter. We will focus our reflection on Romans 8:31-39:

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son but gave him up for all of us, how will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ who died, or rather, who was raised, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
 we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than victorious through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In 21st Century American Christianity there are two divergent, but equally dangerous theological takes on this Scripture profoundly departing from St. Paul's intention. The first sees the promises of God as being owned by the 'right kind" of people. Those trumpeting this belief make a loud and brittle proclamation of self assuredly accepting those promises for themselves while excluding everyone else. We can see this in the rising tide of white nationalism. The second is quite different but also dangerous for a person's spiritual welfare. It assumes an almost secular vision of God's promises -- a breezy pursuit of life, liberty and happiness for nice people. I think we Episcopalians are more tempted to this second vision.

St Paul is not talking about the stingy withholding of God's compassion, nor about an optimistic Christianity asking nothing of anyone promising only sunny days. What he is talking about is assurance. Paul knew the experience of powerful suffering. He teaches us that hardship is not God's turning away from us, but a sign of God's presence with us in life's difficulties. All of God's covenant promises with us are made incarnate in his gift of Jesus' redemptive suffering on the cross. God stands in solidarity with all those who experience anguish, pain and grief. This is the gift of our blessed assurance that God is with us. and this is the place where we find our hope.

Fr. Dan

Posted by: The Very Rev. Canon Daniel Ade AT 12:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, July 07 2023


From this week's Gospel

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Posted by: Coral Freas AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
St. John's Episcopal Church
12 Prospect St. | Huntington, NY 11743 | PH: (631) 427-1752
Sunday Services at 8 AM and 10 AM
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