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

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rector's Rambling - July 7, 2013

Becoming familiar with the Book of Common Prayer is a great aid to the life of the Anglican/Episcopal Christian.  Beginning on page 273 we have what is known as The Pastoral Offices.  These offices (Baptism, Instruction, Confirmation, Matrimony, Thanksgiving for Childbirth, Visitation/Communion of the Sick, and Burial of the Dead) are those occasional services for use by the Church.
Baptism is the primary of these offices because it is through the waters of baptism that a person is grafted into the Body of Christ, the Church.
A recent reclamation of the tradition of the Church is to have the baptism service as a part of the primary worship of the parish (in our case the 10:00 AM service), although we do still have some baptisms before or after the service, or on a day other than Sunday.  The rubrics (instructions for the service, written in italics) suggests it happen on Sunday after the second lesson of Morning or Evening Prayer, or “at such other time as the Minister shall appoint”.  Although it strongly discourages baptisms in peoples homes, except in extreme circumstances, it does allow for it.
The theology of baptism is plainly stated in the liturgy as we pray, “Give thy Holy Spirit to this Child, that he may be born again, and be made an heir of everlasting salvation” (see John 3:5).  As Fr. Louis Tarsitano points out in his book An Outline of an Anglican Life, we are born into the Body of Adam, which is original sin, but grafted into the Body of Christ by virtue of the waters of baptism. (Lesson Four).  We have been taken out of a bad family and adopted by Grace into the family of God.  Baptism is the vehicle given to us to facilitate that grace-filled transition.  And membership in the Church is an outward manifestation of the fellowship and new life into which the newly baptized has been placed.
If you do not have a copy of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer we have used copies available (free) in the parish office, or they can be ordered new on-line from www.AnglicanBooks.com (the edition we have in our pews) or www.AnglicanMarketplace.com for a deluxe hardcover or leather-bound edition.