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

Thursday, December 28, 2006

St. John and Holy Innocents

I am away on vacation, in Sturgis, Michigan (in-laws). I meant to send a note of reminder yesterday that it was St. John's Day, the 148th Anniversary of the founding of the parish, but travel and family were a wonderful distraction from the computer.

Today is Holy Innocents, when in Herod's lust for power and fear of a new king taking his thrown had all boys slaughtered to prevent the new king from coming to power. Of course that new King is Jesus Christ, and just a Moses was rescued and raised in Egypt to later save his people, so too our Lord is rescued and the holy family flees into Egypt for a time. (see Matthew 2:13-18)

One of my old professors had a real beef with the revision of the Collect in the Prayer Book for Holy Innocents Day. It used to be about glorifying God by their deaths (martyrdom) and becoming saints ourselves - "Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death (martyrdom), we may glorify thy holy Name: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

The new collect is all about social justice - not personal holiness and accountability. The new one prays to change others, the old to change us that we may change the world through holiness!

"We remember this day, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by the order of King Herod. Receive, we beseech thee, into the arms of thy mercy all innocent victims; and by thy great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish thy rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

So, we can always pray both! Pray for the innocents victims of poverty, war, and abortion, as well as praying that WE MAY BE MADE HOLY to make real changes. But remember to do first things first! The social injustice will not happen without changes of hearts and souls!