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The Chalice
Friday, June 28 2024


The picture above is a fresco depiction of the healing of the woman with a hemorrhage. I think of her story often because how seemingly easy it was for her to be healed. She simply touched his cloak, and in an instant she was healed! But it wasn’t easy. For one, she was an unclean person, so she needed to make sure she wasn’t recognized and caught. And secondly, the pain of what she had to go through plus the pressure of the dense crowd probably made her ability to get to Jesus a difficult one with that much more pain. But she knew the power of Christ. She may not have fully understood what that meant but she knew He could save her. It was not the cloak in itself that saved her, but her faith in Christ that saved her. Fr. Duncan has been reiterating Mark’s central question of, put succinctly, “Who is Jesus Christ?” The power of a simple touch, borne out of great faith, reveals to us the simplicity of this answer. Jesus Christ heals.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Zach

Posted by: Rev. Zach Baker, curate AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 21 2024

Jesus in the Storm
by Dan Flynn

Parables finished, the crowd headed home,
As sunset fell further upon their shalom;
And Jesus, twelve men, and a boat upon foam,
Cross waters, with fishermen’s skill.

From out of the east, great thunderclouds swept
Exhausted, below in the stern, Jesus slept.
Twelve men huddled close, while a sudden squall crept
Upon them: "Drown us, it will!"

Wakened from slumber, Jesus climbed up the stairs,
Disciples disheveled and drenched in such cares;
When Jesus erupted, in a thunderous blare –
A command: "Quiet! Be Still!"

The wind whirled off, with the waves close in tow,
Men’s faces agape, and their knees like Jell-O,
Their chaos turned silent, "Who is this Fellow,
That nature obeys with such thrill?"

Martin Luther once said, “Even though he sleeps, Christ is in the boat.” As I mentioned in my last sermon, Jesus was exhausted. He was healing and preaching while his family was trying to pull him away, the crowds were pressing in, and the Pharisees wanted to hang him from a tree. He didn’t have time to eat. So he escaped with his disciples to a place away from the crowds. "Let us go across to the other side." Jesus said. And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Jesus “was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.” He badly needed rest. “A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped”. The fishermen were in a panic, so we can assume that they were hit with a serious squall. The disciples “woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:35-41)"

Jesus had the power to calm the sea and still the waves. Luther said that we will all face storms in our lives. My heart is broken by what Hamas did to Israel and because so many innocent women and children have died in Gaza. I pray for peace in Ukraine, but God gives every one of us the free will to love each other or make bad choices. The Gospel helps us to make good choices and to live together in peace. Last week our ECW had a lovely dinner and highlighted a beautiful ministry of loving our neighbor called “Part of the Solution.” Many folks face storms in their lives and this non-profit offers jobs, housing, food, and even showers. The ministry we do through the ECW helps dozens of organizations like this one. When we support the Harvest Fair and other events, we participate in the answering of prayers. We help Jesus calm the wind and still the seas. We are the hands and feet of Jesus in the world according to Mother Teresa. So the next time you face a storm in your life, remember that Jesus might be asleep, but he is right in the boat with you. And so are we!

In Christ’s love,
Fr. Duncan

Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, June 13 2024



The Kingdom of God

Things are not always what they seem!

This week, we will ponder anew what God’s Kingdom looks like. I can only imagine what it might look like to you, but there are certainly times when I wish God’s Kingdom on earth would be a place of total predictability. If I do A and God does B, then every time I do “A” God will do “B.”  If I pray for healing, God heals – immediately and in a way that I can totally understand and just as I would expect it to look like.

When I think of God’s Kingdom, I also want to see God as doing impressive and spectacular things – I want to be able to understand what’s going on. When life gets hard, I want to better understand what’s happening. In other words, when life gets hard, God at least provides decent answers to the “why?” questions, instead of leaving me to flounder in the unknown.

But my ideal is not God’s.

The prophet Ezekiel saw that his nation had abandoned the path of God. It’s wealthy rulers showed no compassion for the poor whom they continually oppressed. Ezekiel prophesied that his nation would be destroyed because of its corruption and sure enough that is what happened. While in exile in Babylon, Ezekiel told is people that God would preserve a remnant of the tree of Israel and nurture it so it would bear fruit. God would restore the way of justice and mercy so that the nation would become a beloved community. All those formerly oppressed would be lifted high. A kingdom of compassion and love.

By the time we get to Mark’s Gospel – over six hundred years have passed since God restored Judah to a place of compassion and love and it seems as if God’s people have totally forgotten Ezekiel’s prophetic words – which by the way, were pretty radical. And like Ezekiel, Jesus too has a message that is radical – so radical that he resorts to parables to get his point across.

In the first parable Jesus tells in this week’s Gospel, a gardener scatters seed on the ground, and then goes off to sleep. The seeds fend for themselves, and when the grain is ripe, the gardener harvests it. In the second parable, someone sows a tiny mustard seed in the ground, and it grows into a gigantic bush, large enough to offer birds shelter in its branches.

Both parables are meant to show us what the kingdom of God looks like. Parables are intended to stretch our imaginations far beyond any place we’d take them on our own. Not to keep us comfortable and complacent, but to prod and needle us into altogether different ways of perceiving and relating to what is sacred. What’s the kingdom of God? Are you sure you want to know? Okay, get ready for the mystery to unravel: the kingdom of God is like a sleeping gardener, mysterious soil, an invasive weed, and a nuisance flock of birds. 

As you prepare for Sunday’s service, take a look at the scriptures in advance. Ponder some of these questions:

  • How is the Kingdom of God growing within you?
  • How do you see the Kingdom of God growing around you?
  • How is the kingdom of God ripening among us at St. John’s? Do you have your sickle?

In Christ's love,
Deacon Claire

Posted by: Rev. Claire D. Mis, Deacon AT 01:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, June 07 2024


The crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind” (Mark 3:20-21).

As we study the Gospel of Mark this year, I ask you to look a little deeper into this Gospel. The passage contains several questions that lead you to Mark’s main purpose of the Gospel. The Gospel begins, “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1 NRSV). In the end of the passage the disciples are asking, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:41b NRSV)” It is important to see the literary context of this question. The rhetorical effect of asking these questions is that the reader must look for their own answer. To heighten this rhetorical effect Mark portrays the disciples as totally unaware of who Jesus is. The audience now shares the enlightened viewpoint of Jesus with the narrator. We therefore need to approach the passage within the context of this irony and Mark’s overall purpose in this Gospel. Mark challenges us to answer the question, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” My hope is that you live with an expectancy of many great possibilities with the Risen Lord at St. John’s.

In Sunday’s Gospel, the people are saying that Jesus has gone out of his mind. God is able to reach his arms of love through Jesus Christ to find the lost, heal the sick, cloth the naked, repair the broken and give Living Water to the thirsty. At St. John’s we are called to open our doors wide and welcome everyone into our church. Jesus calls on you to be peaceful, loving, caring, and selfless. Be kind to everyone who enters our space and love them like they were your family. This month is Gay Pride Month and we celebrate all our LGBTQ+ members. On Sunday, we will meet on Gerard Street and march with the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island in the Pride Parade at 12:00. Please meet our wardens Patti and Sean and show your support by marching to Heckscher Park. The Gay Men’s Chorus will be performing “Jukebox Saturday Night” at 5:30. This concert will feature some of your favorite songs from Billy Joel to Queen. LGBTQ+ folks have fought hard over their lifetime to be treated with respect and dignity. At St. John’s we are open and affirming and I ask you to show your support this Sunday for Pride Month by inviting the entire community to be a part of the St. John’s. 

This Sunday is Christian Education Recognition. We thank our Sunday school teachers and children for their participation. We will also award the Florence and Robert Scott Scholarship at the 10:00 service. Confirmation is Saturday at 11:00 am at St. John’s, Cold Spring Harbor. The confirmands will receive their bibles on Sunday. We ask all of our parishioners to join us on this special day.

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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