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, February 09, 2015

Counting down to Lent, Passion Sunday, and Easter Day - Rector's Rambling for February 8, 2015

Last week we began our Pre-Lenten season, known as the –gesima Sundays, from the endings of the three Sundays: Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima.
The –gesimas are another way to count down the seasons heading toward Easter.  Following the calendar, we begin Lent on Ash Wednesday.  Although Lent is generally used to describe the entire time until Easter, in fact the season has sub-sets.  The Fifth Sunday in Lent is known as Passion Sunday.  This begins the time known as Passiontide, which runs officially until Maundy Thursday.  The time beginning with Palm Sunday (Sixth Sunday in Lent) is known as Holy Week.  The three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are known as The Sacrum Triduum (or three holy days).
Each of these periods of time sees changes to the liturgy and altars.  During the –gesimas we begin to see the service become more stark: the “Glory be to God on high” and “alleluia” disappear from the service and the purple vestments appear.  By Ash Wednesday the flowers are gone and the emphasis turns fully toward sin, repentance, and fasting.  During Passiontide the “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son…” disappears, and the crosses in the church and chapel are veiled.  The three holy days have their own particular unique liturgies assigned to them.
And by the way, those –gesima terms are Latin, letting you know how many full weeks there are until Passion Sunday (seven, six, and five).
One way to prepare for the coming of Lent is to think about what disciplines and devotions we are considering taking on.  What are we “giving up” for Lent?  This is not necessarily something that is bad for us (those should be given up anyway), but even something enjoyable and good that we use as both an offering and an opportunity remind ourselves that we have control (by His grace) over our bodily impulses.  Additionally, you should be thinking about what reading, charitable service, and devotions you hope to add during the Lenten season.
Pre-Lent has arrived, so let’s prepare for Lent, and for the celebration of the Resurrection (Easter).