Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Today (Tuesday) at Mass....

....we commemorated St. Anthony of Padua's feast day. A great Franciscan saint, we read his bio at the service, being reminded of his academic accumen, as well as his personal humilty and holiness (you can't have the second without the first!)

The Mass appointed for the day in the old American Missal was that for "Doctors of the Church", a title for specifically designated academics. And the Epistle Reading for the service was from St. Paul's second lesson to Timothy, containing the following lines.

2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.


Of course, lines 3 and 4 reminded me of the continuing struggle with the novelties of doctrine being promoted by the Episcopal Church, particularly highlighted by General Convention being in session. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized two things.

1) Paul predicted it...it was happening in his own times and has happened in all time periods in the Church - perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that there is theological apostasy going on now in The Episcopal Church.
2) Paul doesn't tell Timothy to form a committee or organization, hold a protest, or start a new denomination. He tells him to Preach the gospel anyway all the time, watch in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

So we must do the same at St. John's - PREACH THE GOSPEL, BRING PEOPLE TO CHRIST (evangelism), EXPECT TO BE AFFLICTED, BUT ALSO EXPECT RESULTS BECAUSE IT IS GOD'S WORK AND HIS GRACE, NOT OUR EFFORTS THAT BRING ABOUT PROOF!