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

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rector's Rambling for All Saints Sunday

This Sunday is near the top of the list for having GREAT hymns. The rousing melodies, combined with wonderful texts uplifts the hearts and minds to the greater glory of God!
It is easy for us to admire the saints from a distance. We like to think they are people who lived long ago and far away, living lives that are of almost fairytale proportion. But the greater reality is that not only are many of the ‘saints’ of more recent memory, but are local as well. Here in Detroit the founder of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Fr. Solanus Casey (d. 1957), is up for being declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Our own first rector, Fr. Armitage, was elected assistant and then the successor to the First Bishop of Wisconsin (Bl. Jackson Kemper) who is in the Episcopal Book of Saints (Lesser Feasts and Fasts), and was eulogized at his own funeral here at St. John’s by another Episcopal Church saint, Bl. James DeKoven. And one of our parishioners was among the founding sisters of the Episcopal Community of St. Mary whose Mother Superior is being considered to the Episcopal Book of Saints.
We are ALL called to be saints—to live lives of heroic virtue by God’s Grace. The word Saint comes from the Latin word Sanctus, which means Holy. We are called to be Holy, and God is helping us through Word and Sacrament to do so.
The late Fr. Fredrick Faber, author of the great hymn Faith of our Fathers, wrote a book on how to become holy called All for Jesus: The Easy Ways of Divine Love (republished by Sophia Institute Press 2000). In it he writes “I do not mean to say we can easily be equal to saints. No! But what I say is that the ways in which they loved God and served the interests of Jesus...are easily in our power, if we choose to adopt them. In a word, while the saints differ in almost everything else, there are three things in which they all agree: eagerness for the glory of God; touchiness about the interests of Jesus; and anxiety for the salvation of souls. In these three things consists sympathy with Jesus, and sympathy is at once the fruit of love, and love is sanctity. And a saint is simply one who loves Jesus above the common run of pious men and has had unusual gifts given him in return.” (p. 30). May we find and embrace all three!

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