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, March 30, 2011

Rector's Rambling - March 27, 2011

The last two weeks in this column we have spoken about the Lenten disciplines as they apply to us individually. Some of these things include “giving things up for Lent” or not eating meat on Fridays, and taking on various disciplines such as extra prayers, and extra weekday service, or extra study about holy things. These are all wonderful ways to getting ourselves in a right state of preparation for the upcoming Easter Feast. There is also a corporate aspect to our Lenten discipline concerning changes to the corporate worship of the parish.
During the “gesima” Sundays before Lent we eased into this by changing to purple vestments/hangings and suppressing the “Glory be to God on High” [aka. the Gloria] in the liturgy. By Ash Wednesday the “Alleluia” also is removed as well as the flowers on the altar. Starting Passion Sunday (two weeks before Easter) the “Glory be to the Father…” [aka. the Gloria Patri] also disappears from the liturgy.
Musically [with the exception of the Fourth Sunday in Lent (Lætáre/Rose Sunday)], the organ is used only to support hymn singing and some psalms and anthems. Voluntaries (preludes, postludes), and what is referred to as “covering music” (covering any silent periods when the choir is not singing or the priest and parishioners are praying out loud) are suppressed.
These changes can be jarring because we become accustomed to all the grand and glorious worship we experience in the full music and liturgy on other Sunday mornings. It is supposed to be jarring and uncomfortable – it is Lent. But soon enough it will be Easter, and all will be restored, and appreciated even more for its absence over seven weeks!