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, April 12, 2007

Listening to sermons on line....

I like to listen to other's sermons on line because frequently I learn something new, or get a fresh perspective on the readings for Sunday. When I was a curate (priest right out of seminary) it was a great blessing to hear sermons preached by others (the rector of that parish, other assisting priests). Now with the internet I have a few places I particularly like hearing. St. Thomas Fifth Avenue is one of them.

Today I clicked onto a parish webcast (actually a video cast) from Easter Sunday. It was a parish in a large city (not Detroit), with more money than God himself. I watched the service a bit yesterday, and today continued it where I left off, the sermon itself.

Wow. About 12 minutes long, and not one mention of the name of Jesus! He quoted Cicero and Frank Sinatra, and alluded to a line of scripture...and ended it with "Alleluia, Christ is Risen....", but not in any connection to the sermon. The theme was Hope - but no mention that the Hope we have is the hope of eternal life through Jesus and His Resurrection. Instead it was more about Frank Sinatra's "High Hopes" song and several PC claims woven in. He even equates his mothers hopes that he and his siblings would attend "church or a mosque or synagogue" when they grew up...making all three religions all equal. Wow. A packed building and no mention of Jesus in the sermon on Easter Sunday (he actually starts the sermon by saying Easter and Christmas Sermons are not good days for teaching!).

Seems to me more like a missed opportunity to bring people to Jesus. Fr. Mead at St. Thomas even said in the announcements at St. Thomas something to the effect that if you have come primarily for the music, and like what is being proclaimed here, 'we have plenty of water...see me after the service' and we will make you a member of the body of Christ! A great invitation to those coming to Church (especially a tourist destination like his) for one reason to be evangelized!