Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 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

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rector's Rambling - August 16, 2009

Yesterday, August 15th, was a major feast day in the life of the Church. Today we are commemorating that feast with the second Collect of the day.
Known in Anglicanism as The Feast of St. Mary the Virgin, August 15th is a day commemorated in honor of Jesus’ mother in Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and some Lutheran bodies.
For the Roman Catholics this day is known as The Feast of the Assumption. Tradition says that Mary, after her death, was bodily taken into heaven to be with her son. This is what the Church believes will happen to ALL OF US at the end of time, known as the General Resurrection. At that time all will rise from the dead with their resurrection bodies. The Roman teaching is that Mary received this in anticipation of the General Resurrection since it is from her body that Son of God Incarnate took his flesh. Although not explicitly contained in scripture, it is attested to by multiple early writers and by the lack of any bodily relics of Mary (something for which we have for all the apostles and many biblical characters).
For the Orthodox this day is known as The Feast of the Dormition, or the falling asleep of the Theotokos (God-bearer).
For Anglicans and Lutherans it is a recognition of the importance of Mary in the story of our salvation. She gives her ‘fiat’ to the Angel Gabriel’s announcement of her being chosen to be pregnant with the second person of the Trinity (Luke 1:38). She raises Jesus to be a good Jew in accordance with the original covenant. She is complicit in his first public miracle at Cana, interceding to her son, and instructing the servants to “do whatever he tells you” (John 2:3-5). She is faithful and present at His public ministry, His Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and the Coming of the Holy Ghost.
When Mary visits her kinswoman Elizabeth she deflects her praises, pointing instead to Our Lord. “My soul doth magnify the Lord…” and a recognition that “from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed” (Luke 1:45-56).
We call Mary blessed for Jesus’ sake.