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 02, 2013

Happy (Church) New Year - Rector's Rambling for December 1, 2013

Happy New Church Year!
This Sunday begins the season of Advent, which means that we start the liturgical year once more.  In the course of the year we have gone through the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, and Trinity.  Today we begin again.
One criticism some churches have of Anglican/Episcopal Churches is the rigidity of the liturgical calendar.  Some even berate the celebration of things like Christmas at all (not the birth of Jesus, but setting a date to celebrate it).
However, as human beings, we live in this space and time, and the cycles of the year (winter, spring, summer, and fall) are a reality.  So too is the reality that the Church calendar takes this into account and helps us to order our year around different aspects of the story of our salvation through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Those without a set calendar or lectionary find themselves stuck with the whim and whimsy of the pastor’s preaching choices.  Having a set year, which has remained mostly unchanged for about 1900 years of Church history, frees us to cover multiple aspects of our Lord’s life and ministry.  And in our unhappy sinful divisions, it is a comfort to know that we follow a very similar calendar with the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic, along with many Reformed Churches.
So bring on the purple vestments and hangings!  It is time for us to begin by looking at the end (of time that is … our Lord’s return) as well as the preparation of the people of the original covenant for the fulfillment of the coming of their Messiah in the birth of Jesus.
And just as we make resolutions at the secular New Year, perhaps the Church New Year is a good time to make some as well.  Here are a few suggestions:
1] Attend Church every Sunday (great for your spiritual health and God wills it).
2] Pray every day.
3] Read the Bible every day (you may use as a guide the lectionary for the Daily Office at the front of the Prayer Book, which is also reprinted on page 3).
4] If you do not already belong to one, choose a Church ministry or organization in which to become involved (Adult Education, Altar Guild, Ushers, Acolytes, Lay Readers, Episcopal Church Women, Daughters of the King, Armitage Men’s Club, Brotherhood of St. Andrew, Sunday School teacher, Home Bible Study/Prayer Group, Coffee Hour host, etc.)
5] Help with the outreach ministries of the parish (“A can a week”, Christmas gift program, mitten tree, toiletry collection, baby clothes and supplies) just to name a few.
~ Reprinted from 11/29/2009