Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 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.

My Photo
Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Conversion of St. Paul - Rector's Rambling for January 25, 2015

Today we have a special Feast Day in the midst of our short Epiphany Season.  Today we are celebrating the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle.  Certain Holy Days, such as this one, take precedence over the regularly assigned Sunday lessons and observance (such as the 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany, which today is otherwise).
Paul is an apostle, but unlike the other apostles commemorated, his feast day is kept on the day of his conversion, rather than the day of his death.  A person’s day of death is considered one’s ‘heavenly birthday’, since it is through earthly death that we pass to eternal life.  And in the case of all the apostles, except St. John, their death was by martyrdom - being killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ.  St. Paul was also martyred.  The church believes that under the general persecution of Nero in 64 and 65 both St. Peter and St. Paul met their deaths for being followers (and promoters) of Jesus Christ.   Peter, not being a Roman citizen, was crucified (tradition says head-down) and St. Paul being a citizen was given the quicker execution of being beheaded.
But today the church commemorates St. Paul’s conversion to the faith.  It is one of those stories that is powerful because he was not just a non-believer in Jesus, he was an active persecutor of those who believed that Jesus Christ is Lord.  He consented to St. Stephen’s stoning, his executioners laying their jackets at his feet. (Acts 7:58, 8:1)  His journey to Damascus was to arrest followers of Jesus and bring them to Jerusalem for trial. (Acts 9:2).  Paul’s conversion is unique, but gives us hope that no matter what our, and others, spiritual condition may be, God can intervene!
The Diocesan Canons call for the Annual Parish Meeting to occur in January, but we have been advised by the Bishop’s office that we can open the meeting today during the 10:00 AM service, and then immediately recess the meeting until February 1 after the 10 AM Service, at which time we will continue and complete the business of the meeting. It is important that ALL parishioners participate.  A soup luncheon will be served, vestry members elected, finances reviewed, and the good news of what God is doing at St. John’s reported.