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, February 02, 2010

Rector's Rambling - January 17th, 2010

This week we begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Held each year between January 18th (The Feast of the Confession of St. Peter) and January 25th (The Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul). Between these two Feast Days the Church prays with special intention for the Unity of the Church.
Jesus prayed that we all be one as He and the Father are one! But it did not take long for the members of the Church, affected by original sin, began to have disagreements with each other and before long forming divisions.
For the most part the Church held together, occasionally having to anathematize small groups of those holding false doctrines in order to bring them to repentance and the true faith. The first big division of the Universal Church came in the 11th Century when the Eastern Church and Western Church divided over political and theological considerations.
Later, by the late 15th and early 16th centuries, the seeds of further division were sown, and the Protestant Reformation rent asunder the western Church.
These divisions are NOT God’s will, but a manifestation of our fallen nature. In fact it is a SCANDAL to the body of Christ that we are divided. Jesus said the world will know we are his disciples if we love one another. Yet we can’t even come together on basic doctrine.
Our divisions are based on real issues, but it must be our prayer and work to build up the body of Christ by learning to love one another and become united so that we can witness with one voice the truth that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD! If we start there then we will go a long way to building up not only the kingdom of God, but he unity of the Church as well.
In fact, this ‘week’ was started in 1908 by a group of former Episcopal Franciscan Friars, now known as the Greymoor Friars. The ‘bookends’ of Ss. Peter and Paul’s feast days are mirrored by our two statues above the altar of Peter (with the keys) and Paul (with the sword). May God use us to his greater glory and unity!