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Welcome to St John's Huntington
The Chalice
Thursday, April 18 2024


Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you

(Matthew 28:19-20).


This is a very special Sunday for me. My granddaughter, Lucy will be baptized at the 10:00 AM service. This is the first of five baptisms in the Easter Season at St. John’s. We are the living community of faith that receives the gift of the Holy Spirit at baptism for ministry. It is through our baptism that we are called to go forth, proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, teach and baptize.

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:9-11).

The Baptism of Jesus helps us to understand the importance of the moment that Jesus came out of the water. In baptism, it is through water and in the Holy Spirit that we become fully initiated into Christ’s body, the Church. 

Do you know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-4).


Baptism is more than just grace bestowed upon us. While some claim that baptism cleanses a person from the stain of original sin, it is better understood as joining Christ in the death of our old self and walking in newness of life. In baptism we are fully initiated into the body of Christ by the pouring of the water and by the indwelling of the Spirit. Throughout history, water has played a role to convey God’s action in the world. Water is not just a symbol of life for human beings; Water is life. Without water we cannot live. In the stories of the Old Testament, water plays a crucial role. In the book of Exodus, Moses leads the people out of their bondage in Egypt and through water to the land of promise. John baptizes Jesus through water. Jesus is anointed by the Holy Spirit as Messiah to lead us out of death and into everlasting life. In the “Thanksgiving Over the Water” we pray,

“We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in joyful obedience to your Son, we bring into his fellowship those who come to him in faith, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (BCP 306-307).


We find the symbol of water extremely important in the liturgy of baptism at this parish. We use a significant quantity of water at the baptism and will often slash the children who are watching after the baptism and ask them to remember their own baptism. The Spirit is the power of God that transforms our lives to the image of God revealed in Jesus Christ. While it was once thought that confirmation was the time when the Spirit completed the initiation process in the Episcopal Church, the 1979 BCP clarifies our understanding that baptism is full initiation. The Spirit also empowers the baptized for ministry.

Church has to be more than just a place we worship on Sunday morning. We need to be a vital part of the community. God is working in ways that we can’t even ask or imagine. Feel his presence in the breaking of the bread and in the water of the Baptism. Open your eyes to the presence of the Lord in our midst, not just on Sundays, but as you prepare meals for each other, hunger for peace and justice, visit those who cannot be with us, feed those who are hungry, cloth the naked, and most of all to show hospitality to all those who enter our church. 

In Christ's Love,

Fr. Duncan

Posted by: Rev. Duncan A. Burns AT 12:11 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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