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, February 15, 2010

Rector's Rambling - February 21, 2010 (Lent I)

Today we give thanks to Almighty God for the beginning of Lent.
Although we have been “in the purple” for 3 weeks already with the “gesima” Sundays, we begin in earnest our Lent fast and disciplines.
Most of us know that one suggested discipline is to “give something up for Lent”. This is certainly a good start. This “something” can be something bad for you (and should be given up anyway) or perhaps something that is not necessarily bad for you but it would be a good discipline to live without as an offering to God.
The key is that this is done as an ‘offering’ to God. The word “sacrifice” comes from the Latin phrase “sacrum facio”, which means “I make holy”. When we think of sacrifices we might think of the Old Testament offering for sin of bulls, lambs or doves. Or perhaps we even think of Jesus’ “one sufficient sacrifice, once offered” on the Cross for the sins of the world.
But in Lent we ask you to ‘sacrifice’ some thing or another as an holy offering to God. It doesn’t atone (pay the price of) your sins (Jesus did that already) or somehow appease an angry God.
This offering, this “I make holy”, is a gift of thanksgiving and praise to God for giving us new life. Both in giving something up and taking things for disciplines in Lent we Thank God for eternal life, and the grace to live holy lives, by offering this sacrifice as a small token, as well as learning that we are not at the demands and whims of our flesh and its impulses.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
¶ This Collect is to be said every day in Lent, after the Collect appointed for the day, until Palm Sunday.