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, November 03, 2014

"For all the saints" - Rector's Rambling for November 2, 2014

For all the saints, who from their labours rest, who Thee by faith before the world confessed, Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!”
By now you know those as the opening words of the familiar hymn that we sing today for All Saints’ Day.  It was first published in 1864, in England, just five years after the opening of our parish.  It quickly became a widespread favorite, although the current tune most often associated with it, Sine Nomine, was not composed until 1906.
On the last day of 1892, the founder of St. John’s Church passed to eternal life at the age of 78.  By the summer of 1893, a monument was erected on the burial plot of this former Michigan Governor and former U.S. Senator.  At the base of the monument is the opening verse of this wonderful hymn!  When I visit his gravesite I can’t help but sing the hymn as I read it (albeit in a tune Governor Baldwin never knew).
Tomorrow, at 10:00 AM, a Requiem Mass will be said at the Elmwood Cemetery Chapel, a few hundred yards from Governor Baldwin’s mortal remains.  Buried a few hundred yards in the opposite direction is that of St. John’s first Rector, William Armitage.  And all around are the mortal remains of hundreds of people who have been in our pews worshiping the Living God, and now “from their labours rest.”
Today we remember the saints.  We remember those whose heroic virtue in faith is recognized by the Church, as well as those known only to God alone.  It should be our goal in life to be holy.  God wills it!  The word “holy” comes from the same Latin word as “saint” – Sanctus.  Let us strive to be holy.  Let us strive to be saints!
All by God’s Grace and to His Glory!