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, January 20, 2014

Avoiding hibernation mode - Rector's Rambling for January 12, 2014

Winter has settled in here in Detroit, and we are all trying to avoid the “hibernation” mode of staying inside too much, fattening up, and isolating ourselves from the rest of the world until spring.
But we are not bears!  Instead we are called to get up and get out, even if the weather itself is not completely cooperative!  Thankfully, for most of us, the modern convenience of central heat makes winter less immediately life-threatening, but staying locked away is not healthy – spiritually and psychologically.  Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as our selves, and this assumes some contact with them.  Church is of course a great starting place for this!
We have now entered the Church season of Epiphany.  This past week we celebrated the coming of the Magi – the Wise Men – to worship the newborn Jesus as the great King and God whose very birth is announced by the appearance of a new star.  Unlike the shepherds who arrive on the night of his birth and represent the people of the original covenant, the Magi are not Jews.  Their arrival signals to us that the Gentiles, those outside that original covenant between God and the Hebrew people, are going to come to know Jesus Christ, and ultimately be incorporated into this New Covenant with God that Jesus Christ himself will seal in his own blood on the hard wood of the cross.
The Magi’s mystical gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh are gifts for royalty and represent an acknowledgement by those who “dwell in darkness” outside God’s revelation in the Old Testament that this child is a God (incense), King (Gold), and Sacrifice (myrrh – a bitter perfume used at a burial).
From now until mid-February (when the Pre-Lent “gesima” Sundays start), we are called to deepen our understanding of Jesus as God, and King, and Sacrifice!  This should be a deepening “epiphany” to us – a showing forth of the deeper and deeper truth that Jesus Christ is Lord.
So let’s get out of our hibernation mode and throw ourselves deeper and deeper into relationship with each other and the Good God who loves us!