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The Chalice
Sunday, August 30 2020

‘Splintered Messiah’:

I don’t want a splintered Messiah

In a sweat stained greasy grey robe

I want a new one

I couldn’t take this one to parties

People would say ‘Who’s your friend?’

I’d give an embarrassed giggle and change the subject.

If I took him home

I’d have to bandage his hands

The neighbors would think he’s a football hooligan

I don’t want his cross in the hall

It doesn’t go with the wallpaper

I don’t want him standing there

Like a sad ballet dancer with holes in his tights

I want a different Messiah

Streamlined and inoffensive

I want one from a catalogue

Who’s as quiet as a monastery

I want a package tour Messiah

Not one who takes me to Golgotha

I want a King of Kings

With blow waves in his hair

I don’t want the true Christ

I want a false one.



-Stewart Henderson

I want a false one.

In Sunday’s gospel, the Jesus continues to help the disciples understand God’s will for him as the Messiah. But he also knows that his disciples, good students that they are, may only be able to understand his mission by “seeing” it for themselves. Enough talking. He will have to show them that he must “go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests and scribes and then be killed and on the 3rd, day be raised up.” Peter will not have his Messiah suffer. He does not want a splintered Messiah, but rather wants a strong, courageous Messiah who will help them defeat the Romans and bring Israel back to it’s rightful standing for the Jews.“

Jesus, however, must show his disciples, as well as all of us that what is weak in the eyes of men, is strong in the eyes of God. Strength looks different to God: Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, those who mourn, those who bring peace, those who are merciful. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness... “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” God’s world seems upside down.  When we get behind Jesus, and follow him, our walk will be challenging, difficult, and yes, at times painful, but “rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.

In Christ’s love,
Claire Mis, Seminarian

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Posted by: Claire Mis, Seminarian AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, August 23 2020

In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples, “But who do YOU say that I am?"

So, I ask, “Who is Jesus for YOU?”

We come together each week – unique individuals – and we become the church. Just as St. Paul told us in Romans, “For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.” How can we be the church Jesus had in mind? What does it demand of us?

Christians are called to follow Jesus, just like the disciples. Where are each of you on that path? Are you still on it? Have you veered off in a different direction? What does following Jesus look like? What would you say if someone asked you why you are on the Christian path?  Do you have your elevator story ready?

Who do you say that I am? To answer this question, we need to be in relationship with Jesus – we need to find room in our hearts – allowing him to dwell there and then we need to listen. Many of us are using Facebook and other forms of social media in the hopes of making more friends and learning more about each other. But I maintain that we really need to be in personal relationships, where, in real time, we can have conversations that demand give and take. To listen. Our zoom morning prayer group has developed a deeper intimacy and trust with each other…enabling us all to grow. We also need to enter into a lifelong conversation with God – which is what prayer is all about, to immerse ourselves and inwardly digest the holy scriptures, and to attend Bible studies where together, we can further clarify our understanding of who Jesus is. This is how we begin to answer that “who” question.

The Church is made of individuals. We are made stronger, however, in coming together to support each other, to learn from each other, to challenge each other and then, collectively, with the help of the God and the Holy Spirit, to go out into the world and be Jesus’ voice, hands, feet to our hurting world.

We often hear criticisms of today’s church – our numbers are declining. We are no longer relevant. Our world is bursting with individualism – “I can find fulfillment by following my own path.” Religion is relegated to our own private sphere of personal values. People say, “I am not religious, I am spiritual.” We have become more isolated, fragmented, and polarized. We hide behind social media and voice our extreme positions when it comes to religion, politics, race, or our environment and then avoid considering the responses. We are not willing to engage in meaningful and heartfelt conversations with each other, where listening may be more important than speaking.

But, people of St. Johns, we are the Church. God is a living God, not frozen in the past. God doesn’t just exist in the memories of the good old days or the way things used to be. How is this living God moving and working in our world today? 

On this rock – we shall not build a nation where millions of children are homeless and hungry. On this rock – we shall not build churches (communities of faith) that oppress the poor and women. On this rock – we shall not turn a blind eye to the racial injustices and violence towards our black brothers and sisters. Thank God that Paul reminds us that, “We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:6-8) What we each do on earth matters.

We are a strong church – when God’s heart becomes one with our own. To be Christlike, we must know Christ. We need to come together to recharge and then go back out into the world to be Christ in every encounter we have. As we widen our circle, all are enriched. I dare say, “We are NOT irrelevant.”

In Christ’s Love,

Claire Mis, Seminarian

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Posted by: Claire Mis, Seminarian AT 08:16 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, August 09 2020

I just finished reading N.T. Wright’s book, God and the Pandemic. N. T. Wright asks us to lament what has happened to us this year. The Psalms are full of prayers of lamentation. We can talk about signs of the end of the age, but N.T. Wright tells us that Christians have faced pandemics before. We can blame God, but N.T. Wright tells us in the Gospel that Jesus comes to us in our suffering. Maybe we don’t understand why we have pandemics, but we can use the example of Christ to see what to do in a pandemic. He suggests that Christians have always taken care of one another in pandemics while many have just opted out. A good start is to pray for those who are lonely, sick, anxious, and suffering. In fact, please pray for all of us.

In today’s Gospel, the disciples are struggling in their boat because of a storm. They attempt to cross the Sea of Galilee without Jesus, who is praying on a mountain. Jesus comes to the disciples and they fear that it is a ghost. Jesus says, “It is I.” Jesus identifies himself as the Son of God. Matthew asks us to believe that God comes into the boat with us as we struggle through the wind and waves. This past week, five full-sized oak trees fell across streets and on houses in my neighborhood. It was amazing to see the power of the wind and the damage that it caused. We were without power and wi-fi for an extended period of time. As I walked through the village this week, I wondered if any of the new businesses would make it through this pandemic. Parents and teachers wonder if school will be virtual or in person this fall and what affect that will have on their children's education. Democrats and Republicans wrestle with aid packages and how they will be perceived by the voters. People all over our nation are dying alone and being buried without a proper funeral. Black Lives Matter protesters try to get the attention of our nation in order to get racial reconciliation. Let’s face it; we are all in a storm. We need God and we need one another.

   

Jesus Christ teaches us to care for the sick, feed the hungry, cloth the naked and give Living Water to the thirsty. At St. John’s we will continue to collect food every day for the Long Island Cares Food Pantry, pray each morning together at 9AM, give assistance to those in trouble with rent assistance, offer inexpensive clothing at our yard sales on Saturdays, commit to racial reconciliation and justice, study the bible on Monday nights and Tuesday mornings, gather with Hilda’s Guild, study in EfM, draw closer to Christ through the Spirituality Group, give benefit concerts on Sundays at 11:30, sing praise to the Lord through Alex and our choir, and worship on Sundays at 8 & 10 on zoom and in the Garden of Blessings at 8:00.

In Christ’s love,

Fr. Duncan

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Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns AT 08:18 am   |  Permalink   |  Email