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

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Rector's Rambling - June 27, 2010

We welcome summer with all its glory by celebrating a baptism this Sunday at the 10:00 AM service.
One great restoration to the liturgy of the Church has been to move baptisms back into the midst of community worship. If you look at the liturgy as published in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (and its predecessors) you will note that the assumption is that the baptism would occur as a completely separate service of the Church. Many of us were baptized on a Saturday, having been brought to a church by our parents and god-parents in order to be baptized in a 10 minute liturgy of re-birth (regeneration) as our Lord commanded (you must be born again of water and the spirit). Others may have been baptized on a Sunday before or after the Sunday liturgies.
In the ancient Church, baptisms took place during the liturgy, the newly baptized entering the community through the waters of baptism, and seeing for the first time the celebration of the Holy Communion. Aspirants and Catechumens (those preparing for baptism) were only present for the ante-communion, which is the beginning of the liturgy through the Sursum Corda (The Lord be with you. Lift up your hearts…). On the day of their baptism, they not only received communion for the first time, they saw the Eucharistic Canon for the first time as well!
So too we now have the vast majority of our baptisms during the primary Sunday worship. It is a manifold reality that not only is the person being regenerate (born-again), but they are also becoming a part of a community that promises to be a part of their being members of the Body of Christ, and helping to uphold them in prayer and virtuous living.
Also, I find baptisms to be encouraging. It is an encouragement to see that more children are joining the Church to be brought up in the faith, and adults are also coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord!
We rejoice today at the incorporation of another person into the Body of Christ, the Church, and pray that God will bring more and more people into his flock here at St. John’s.