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The Chalice
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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