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

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rector's Rambling - June 24, 2012 - Nativity of St. John the Baptist

After only a week of ‘ordinary season”, we interrupt the long season of green for a special feast day. During Trinity-tide there are several major prayer book Holy Days, that if they fall on a Sunday, may be celebrated as the collect and readings of the day in place of the “____ Sunday after Trinity”. Saint John Baptist collect and readings (called “Propers”) are found on page 242 in the Book of Common Prayer. Although we don’t know exactly the historical date of the birth of John the Baptist, the date it is placed on the calendar does have significance. The Angel announced to Mary, the mother of Jesus, that not only would she become the Mother of God by divine conception through the Holy Ghost, but she was also told that her kinswoman Elizabeth, who was thought to be barren, is now 6 months pregnant (Luke 1:36). Since we celebrate the Annunciation (the Angel announcing this to Mary) on March 25 (9 months before Christmas), June 24 is three months later. A recent revision of the Liturgical Calendar has moved the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56) from July 2 back to May 31 so that it fits within that three month period. The Prayer Book Calendar begins on page xlvi and the Tables and Rules for the Movable and Immovable Feasts begins on page l. Some Feast Days like Easter are ‘moveable’ based on the lunar cycle (see page lii), others are fixed like Christmas always being on December 25th. In addition to those Feasts listed on the calendar in the Prayer Book, saints are commemorated at weekday services according to their addition by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, the actions of the General Assembly of the Church of England, or ancient usage by the Western Church. These can be found in the books Lesser Feasts and Fasts, The American Missal and The Anglican Breviary.