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.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, August 31, 2015

First thing First for the Church - Teaching Note for August 30, 2015

Following is an excerpt from a booklet published on a series of talks presented by Bishop Emrich, Bishop of the Diocese of Michigan from 1948 to 1973, the last bishop of the diocese to see growth in attendance and number of parishes.  This paper is on the topic The Renewal of the Church.        ~ Fr. Kelly

The Church is renewed from above, and we miss the whole point of our faith if we do not see that to worship is the greatest thing we do.  Since we are set in the midst of a secular culture, we are doubtless tempted to believe that renewal will come with better organization, promotion, public relations, the acquiring of more money, or any of these secondary things; but we must realize that worship is the most important thing we do simply because it alone changes our hearts and strikes at the center of our being.  As we worship, and truly worship, all good flows from that worship; and we worship, not because we are good, but because we are little, needy, petty, and sinful creatures who need to be raised by the glory of the Lord.  The Divine Life will break in, renewing and remaking, whenever we are willing to receive it and be renewed.
New life comes from above.  We do not offer programs to men; we offer God to men.  And we cannot become more selfless, more kind, filled with zeal, wiser, unless we wait upon Him who is the author of peace and lover of concord, and from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed.  We cannot be light, salt, leaven unless we look at this world with eyes that are free of passions, fears, and prejudices that surround us.
The Church lives from above, and therefore, we worship.  By worship we do not mean occasional acts which are unrelated to the rest of our lives, but acts that reveal that in all our doings we are striving to promote God’s glory.  Only by prayer and worship can we go down from hazy Christianity of the surface to the Christianity of the deeps.  The worship of God is the root, and our works the fruit; and, therefore, the first business of the Church is to worship Him who alone can make us holy.

~ Given at the Triennial Meeting of the Women’s
Auxiliary to the National Council in 1952