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

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Happy Lent - Rector's Rambling for March 9, 2014

“Have a happy Lent!”

Does that sound funny to you?  Combining “Happy” and “Lent” seems strange to most of us.  But I know I am happy to start this church season for several reasons.
First, it is my favorite season.  I like the extra devotions, the extra effort put in by many parishioners, and even the discipline itself.  And on top of that, I know that it is only six weeks until the celebration of Easter.  It also means SPRING is coming (especially anticipated this cold & snowy winter) and so is baseball season!
Secondly, I need Lent!  I know on all sorts of cerebral levels that I need the extra discipline and devotion in my life, and Lent not only reminds me of this, but helps me to jump in with two feet.  As winter wears on, I find myself wearing out as well, and Lent is, for me, a real revival of spirit.  My fallen nature tends towards the easier, softer way.  I need to be reminded of how I should, and can, live.
But perhaps the most poignant reason that it is appropriate to wish someone a “Happy Lent” is because the root of the word “Happy” is from the same word as “Blessedness”.
Too often we are chasing after happiness as just a feeling.  I was struck by a scene in a popular television show a few years ago where the guilty-feeling actress, trying to justify her actions, says to the priest, “I just want to be happy”, to which he replies, “That is the cry of a spoiled child.”  He was exactly right.
If we chase after happiness (the feeling) then we will never be satisfied.  But if we strive for blessedness, then we will begin to have satisfaction in becoming who HE wants us to be and then be really happy!
THE COLLECT FOR ASH WEDNESDAY
This Collect is to be said every day in Lent, after the
Collect appointed for the day, until Palm Sunday.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.