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The Chalice
Friday, March 29 2024


A message from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 22 2024


This Sunday, joining the community at the 8 am service or with the youth at the 10 am service, we will enter into the Passion narrative as it is told in the Gospel of Mark. It is easy to see Palm Sunday as a semi-joyous day because of our palm swaying and Hosanna-crying. And yet, we often wish to quickly pass by the fact we, as the Crowd, exclaims, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Thus, it is Episcopal theologian William Stringfellow, in the chapter headed “The Scandal of Palm Sunday” in his first major work, Free in Obedience: The Radical Christian Life, who reminds that, “Palm Sunday is a day of dramatic temptation for Christ. It is a day of profound frustration for the disciples and one on which the apprehensions about Christ on the part of the ruling authorities of Israel and Rome are exposed.”

This chapter on Palm Sunday informed me better as to what Palm Sunday means and why this meaning is so important for us today. With all the palm-waving and Hosanna-crying, and even with the Passion narrative being said, we might lose focus of the fact that Palm Sunday is a somber day. Stringfellow calls it a scandal because in the meaning of Palm Sunday is the richness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which for many is hard to bear. We are, “shown that Christ is…the One he is declared to be in the Word of God and which he confessed himself to be. The substance of the consternation is the desire for the gospel to end in the political triumph of Palm Sunday. If the work of Christ would only end in that way, Christians would be spared the betrayal of Judas, the apathy and cowardice of the other disciples, the mystery of the Last Supper, and Gethsemane’s sweat and agony.” Jesus Christ is tempted on Palm Sunday just like he was tempted for 40 days in the wilderness. The crowd is anticipating a political, zealous revolt against the Roman and local authorities and they are looking to Jesus to lead it. Indeed, all the authorities are also thinking that’s what’s happening. And yet, for many of us today we are looking for Jesus Christ to do the same thing, to lead us to achieve worldly power and build an earthly kingdom. But that is not the way of Jesus Christ. We are tempted in our milieu today to believe that our faith and our political stances will have victory, when the only true victory is the one that Jesus completed upon the Cross.

Knowing this we are actually then invited to live our lives in complete freedom and that what we offer the world is our own lives and that we are “secure from any threats which death may make.” This is Christian life a radical life (radical in the traditional sense of “at the very root”); we come to live a life that is “both repentant and penitential”. Knowing Christ came to conquer sin and death, and did, we can start to acknowledge our fallenness as well as the world’s fallenness. Through intercession, we confess our sins and the sin of the world. In being penitential, which Stringfellow describes as “the authentication of true repentance”, we move forward sacramentally in hopes of discerning God’s loving and eternal forgiveness for His people.

The beauty of Palm Sunday is found within its glaring paradox. While many joyous words seem to be said, its somber reality is what we should be focusing our attention on. Are we looking for a king to smash our enemies and score our culture war points, or are we resting in the faith of our Lord, who takes away the burdens, heals and gives meaning to our wounds, and in whom we can know true peace?

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Zach

Posted by: Rev. Zach Baker, curate AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 15 2024


Into the Darkness

Only the seed that has died and is buried
lives to bear fruit, Jesus said.
Lead me then into the darkness and dying,
so you can raise me up from the dead
Jesus, help me die and rise.

All of my living, my loves and desires,
all of the things that I cling to,
now I surrender to die and be buried.
Raise me in following, serving you.
Jesus, help me die and rise.
Portions of a song by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

Lent this year, for many of us has been a time of slowing down – a time to be still and to be present to the God who loves us more deeply than we can imagine. It is a time of letting go – to relinquish the things that hold us hostage – and to be free to live fully into the person God has created us to be. It is hard to be silent – because if we truly look deep into our hearts, silence can remind us of our own death – the quiet darkness that can be so overwhelming. So we cling to life – fists tight – hold on. And we miss some of the most profound joys that Jesus has for us as we continue to follow him to Calvary.

We have become so busy – hustling and bustling everywhere - clutching things that are just not that important that we lose sight of the central message from our Gospel this week. Jesus reveals in the moment the Greeks came to see him just how far and wide his ministry would extend. His time has come. And he tells us what this looks like by foreshadowing his own death. “Very truly, I tell you , unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies it bears much fruit.”

So let us slow down. The time has come for us to walk with Jesus – with open hands, allowing all the seeds of love that we have been given to fall into the soil – to die. Like the tiny grains of wheat – which, when sown in good soil multiply beyond our imagination. Letting go – Let go of our own need to be in control and allow God’s love to grow more deeply. Death into life by slowing down – dying to ourselves – getting out of the way – opening our fists in surrender and trust. Together, let’s follow Jesus  - to the cross. And “they will know we are Christians” by our open hands and abundant love.

On the journey with you,
Deacon Claire

Posted by: Rev. Claire D. Mis, Deacon AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 08 2024
For All Who Have Gone Astray


Almighty God, whose Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, was moved with compassion for all who have gone astray and with indignation for all who have suffered wrong; enflame our hearts with the burning fire of your love, that we may seek out the lost, have mercy on the fallen and stand fast for truth and righteousness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (Prayer of Divine Compassion).

What a weekend at St. John’s! Our nursery school delivered a truckload of baby items to Helping Hands along with all the baby items that our church collected. The HIHI chefs were in full force with Nelly and Dave Lasek leading the way with an incredible feast of Puerto Rican culinary delights. The ECW ran a successful and fun evening of Zingo that will send 7 children to summer camp at Family Service League that would not have been able to go. Our breakfast team led by Dave Lasek and Heather Kress is serving full tables once again after the 8:00 and 10:00 services. The thrift shop has a fine selection of cloths at inexpensive prices and just gave several bags of cloths to the homeless and Fr. Juan. Our Racial Reconciliation Committee just released their report of Slavery in Huntington and with St. John’s members. The Spirituality Ministry has been doing wonderful things. The Wardens are leading the vestry and our parish and will soon meet to look at the future of St. John’s in a changing church culture. The concert committee of Alex, Deacon Claire, Christine, Bill, Sue, Leslie and Liz worked tirelessly to market and prepare for our inaugural Jazz Concert Series. The results were a standing room only crowd and a fabulous concert. We are preparing for our Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter services. First Communion and Youth Confirmation classes are also going well. St. Hilda’s Guild, the Prayer Shawl Ministry, Education for Ministry, Bible Study, and our Christian Education ministries are also returning to pre-Covid form and beyond.

Lent is a time of preparation, when we teach the faithful to draw closer to the one we love. It is by our example of our music, worship, study, prayer, ministries, and outreach that others will see that Jesus Christ came that we might have life and live it abundantly. Jesus Christ came that we might be transformed from our present state to the beautiful children of God that we were created to be. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Eternal life begins today and never ends. Please use these next few weeks of Lent to draw closer to the one who loves you deeply. Apostles have been transformed by the cross of our Lord, to do the will of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit. We have the power to transform the nightmare that the world can be into the blessing of the Kingdom of God. So if you have been hurting, frustrated, sick, or a little down, have faith that God will make all things new again. We will emerge from this state of the world as we emerged from our baptism, wet in the waters of the Holy Spirit and anointed to become the beloved community that God calls us to be.

In Christ’s love,
Rev. Duncan Burns 

Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 01 2024


The Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” (John 2:13-22)

“In Exodus 32:10, God was indignant when he learned that his people no longer believed and worshiped him, but turned to idolatry. In Exodus 22:21–24, helpless people, strangers, widows, and orphans suffered persecution. God was indignant when he witnessed such cruel acts.” Jesus was kind and compassionate, but there were times when he felt a righteous anger. Last week in my sermon, I spoke of listening and then taking action. In this week’s sermon, I will speak of witnessing an injustice and turning your righteous indignation into action. When Pilgrim State released their population into the streets of Suffolk County, my father brought sandwiches to them after church in Bay Shore. When folks disagreed with the war in Vietnam, they protested. When African Americans were being racially profiled, folks in cities across America said, “Enough!” 

We can no longer stand for greed, mass shootings, sexual abuse, physical abuse, racism, homophobia, and sexism in our society. It means turning the tables upside down and making a whip to chase the greedy hypocrites out like Jesus did. It means looking at injustice and oppression from a Gospel perspective. Deep inside us grows a type of rage, but we can’t lash out at one another. Both sides of our government need to work together for a better health system, better roads, safe schools, fair wages, and opportunity for all our citizens. Getting angry and lashing out with those that disagree with you is easy to do, but Jesus had a righteous indignation that changed people’s hearts. Each of us must look deeply into our own motivations and actions and commit to a deeper faith in God. Israel had every right to be angry on October 12th. Ukraine has every right to be angry for the Russian invasion of their country two years ago. At some point anger either turns to hate or it turns into righteous indignation. Jesus was able to make his point without hurting others. He pointed to their greed and taking advantage of others in a house of worship. Jesus was able to use righteous indignation through his use of connection with God in prayer. So if you are like me and need to make sense of what’s going on in the world, maybe think about prayer before joining the loud, angry folks on social media. 

Let us draw nearer to God that we might remember what is truly important in our lives.

During Holy Week, we too will witness the temple being torn down and raised up in three days. Jesus will die for our sins and through grace and grace alone, we will all be offered new life. The road to new life is this road less traveled and all of us on it will abide in the house of God forever. If we truly believe that Christ came that we might have abundant life, we ought to enter into a deeper relationship with Christ. A deepening relationship “involves our intention to converse with God, to open and consent to God’s presence.” As we prepare for the coming of the Resurrected Christ on Easter, let us draw nearer to the one who unconditionally loves us. Preparing for God’s presence requires that we turn over the tables of the Hippocrates. We need to let go of our false self and our self-centered priorities and surrender them to God as we enter into the deep stillness and silence of our inner room.

As we emerge from the death of our priority for control, our own selfish desire for more stuff, and our desire for constant approval, we begin to reflect the true nature of God and the purpose that we were created for. We will emerge as on our Baptism, dead to our sin, renewed in our faith, and anointed with the Holy Spirit, to do the ministry that God calls us to do.

In Christ’s love,

Rev. Duncan Burns 

Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns 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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