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, October 20, 2014

Glorious worship diminished.... - Rector's Rambling for October 19, 2014

St. John’s offers some of the most beautiful worship on this side of heaven.  The church’s primary and unique vocation is to glorify God through her worship of Him.  We are His Body, Jesus the head.  And the Church has also been called The Bride of Christ, adorned and beautified for the coming of the Bridegroom.  Both images help us to envision that we have a task to do, just as a body functions under the head, as well as being loved and desired for her beauty (internally and externally) as a bride and groom.
When I had my first phone interview with the search committee here at St. John’s 14 years ago this month, one question I asked was, “why does the parish continue to use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer for worship?”  After a moment, one of those around the speaker phone said, “because it expresses the faith most clearly for us”, or something to that effect.  It was the answer I was looking for.  I wasn't interested in a parish that used the “old” prayer book just because they didn’t like change.  The 1928 Book of Common Prayer does a wonderful job of drawing us together to pray in common AND does so by the careful expression of the biblical faith once delivered to the saints.  As the old expression asserts, Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi; the Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief.  What we pray, and how we pray, forms and encourages our faith.  Sublime worship not only glorifies God, but also equips us and builds us up in the faith.  We are the Church, and through worship we grow in grace to witness, to share the good news, and to perform the good works that He may be calling us to do.  Holiness is grounded in worship, prayer and thanksgiving.
However, most importantly, we MUST ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE in the weekly worship of the Church!  St. John’s offers glorious worship that is DIMINISHED by the non-attendance of her members.  We must be here and worship together to glorify God, to be equipped AND TO WELCOME newcomers.  Non-attendance damages all three.  Make our Lord and His worship here on Sunday your priority!  And invite others to join you!