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Welcome to St John's Huntington
The Chalice
Friday, May 31 2024


Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored (Mark 2:31-3:5).

Jesus is attending service on the sabbath in the local temple. He becomes upset because the rules on the sabbath have become very burdensome. A man comes to temple with a withered hand and Jesus heals the man. There are bad feelings between the Pharisees and Jesus. This is an important lesson for the church. Endless rules and traditions that have nothing to do with the love of God make religion very difficult to follow. They say that faith and spirituality are alive and well, but religion is fading away. We need to focus on bringing others to the love of God if we want our church to thrive.

Last Monday lots of good folks went to the organic community garden to plant vegetables. These vegetables will be grown and donated to Helping Hands. Helping Hands will distribute the healthy, organic vegetables to folks in need in our community. St. John’s is stepping out into the community to help others. We have made lots of friends at the garden, and they have helped us to understand how to grow plants in this garden. We have also met other groups that grow produce for Helping Hands. The work is hard and the laborers are few, but this is a rewarding ministry that draws community together by working toward a common goal.

Religion can separate our community into like-minded groups. Community ministry uses diverse thinking individuals to work together for a common cause. We learn to have tolerance for those who do not look or think like us. Every denomination has struggled to accept gay and lesbian into their religion, but the Episcopal Church has been on the front line in being open and affirming. Those who feel like LGBTQ+ individuals don’t belong in church have diminished in the Episcopal Church. We believe that God created every person into relationship. June is Pride Month, and we will have a celebration and commemoration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride during the Pride Parade in Huntington on June 9th. We celebrate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, which was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in America.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh (2 Cor. 7-11).

This Sunday, I will be preaching on “this treasure in clay jars.” Paul proclaims that we are formed by the hand of God for the purpose of God. In other words, God equipped you for a purpose at your baptism and has a plan for you. Jesus had the purpose of loving the sick, the thirsty, the poor, and the oppressed. Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead that we might have abundant life. The Pharisees had fallen off the path of loving God and one another and Jesus exposed them. The greatest need in our church is to understand that our ministry is in God’s hands. Jesus said, “Stretch out your hand,” and the man was healed. We do not wield the power of God, but we are vessels in the hands of the Lord. Please pray that we might shine the light of Jesus through our faith and our ministry at St. John’s.

In Christ’s love,
Fr. Duncan

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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