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, December 17, 2012

From the Rector - Advent/Christmas Eagle 2012

Once again we enter the season of preparation as we also come to the end of the calendar year. 

Advent is the four Sundays before Christmas when we concentrate on preparation for both the coming of the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, as well as the preparation for Jesus’ return in glorious majesty to judge the world.  Christmas preparations are obvious even to the secular world - since there is a set date when it will come.  We have until December 25 to make all our preparations, both secular (shopping, etc.) as well as spiritual.

But it is the second item, known as The Second Coming, that is harder to gauge.  No one knows the day nor the hour when the Son of Man returns. (Matt 24:36).   18 months ago the world was distracted by talk by a Christian radio network owner proclaiming a date when Jesus would return.  That day has come and gone.  Now the world is atwitter about a Mayan calendar which does not go into 2013 and therefore is a sign of the end of time (rather than perhaps running out of space on the calendar!).  Using that logic, the fact that the 1928 Book of Common Prayer lists the dates for Easter from 1786 to 2013 would mean that there will be no Easter after 2013.  That is as ridiculous as the Mayan prediction.  FYI—the new Episcopal prayer book does list Easter further into the future.

The end is coming!  Jesus will return because he has said so.  But what we do not have is the luxury of knowing the date.  Jesus could return before Easter 2013, or the Mayan calendar date, or before the end of the day today.  No one knows but our Lord himself.  Or the end may come for you with the end of your earthly life today.

Since we do not know when, we must be prepared RIGHT NOW.  Do we love Jesus?  Are we trying to love our neighbor as ourselves?  Are we in a state of Grace by repentance of our sins and reception of the sacraments?  Are we striving to live the lives Jesus wants us to live by that Grace?  The time to start is not tomorrow because we do not know if tomorrow will come!

 As we close the calendar year we also will be closing the books on our financial year as well.  Thank you to all who have, and continue to, support the revenues of the parish.  The vestry has been busy adjusting the budget to our current and projected financial realities, and preparing the coming year’s budget as well.  Even though we have parking lot income and other sources, the majority of our parish income comes from the good people of St. John’s!

If you are in a position to make an extra contribution to the parish before the end of the year we would be grateful.  Also, the parish is able to take gifts of stocks and securities if that is a tax advantage for you.

Our King and Saviour draweth nigh; O come, let us adore Him!

~ Antiphon for Advent