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

Christian Unity - Rector's Rambling for January 19, 2014

Yesterday we began the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the days between the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter (January 18) and the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25).  The first Feast Day honors St. Peter’s acclamation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16), the second being the story of Saul being converted by God while on his way to persecute Christians.
The two dates honor the two great evangelists, with Peter being considered the Apostle to the Jews and Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles (although they shared the Good News freely to both!).  They are appropriate patrons for the Ecumenical Movement in the Church.
Jesus prayed that we all be one, as He and the Father are one (John 17:21–22).  But the reality is that the Church is deeply divided because of human sin.  From the beginning of the Church there have been those from within who have sought to change and distort the teaching given to us by Christ through his Apostles, and others who have tried to syncretize the Truth with surrounding pagan myths and superstition.  These early heretical sects were cast out.
But more recent divisions have continued over interpretation of the authority of the Church and her Scriptures.  Some of these honest disagreements have been to seek greater holiness, other disagreements are based in a desire for power or to justify sinfulness.  Despite Jesus’ admonition for unity, there are thousands of denominations in the United States alone, new ones appearing regularly.
Yet if it is Jesus’ prayer that we be one, then it is our bounden duty to work and pray toward the unity of the Church.  This begins in personal conversion and greater holiness, continues with conversation and lifting up what we have in common with each other, and finally helping to correct, and be corrected in, the ways that the various churches have erred.
And although this is a week to spotlight the need, unity is year-round work to glorify God and work for the common mission to bring the whole world to know Jesus is Lord.