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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

"On Churchgoing" - a sermon by the 7th Rector of St. John's Church, on March 29, 1914

Below is excerpted from a sermon by Fr. Faber, Rector of St. John’s, preached on March 29th, 1914, called On Churchgoing.  It is as true, and as important to embrace today as it was over 100 years ago!  Fr. Faber points out that churchgoing is not about “getting” but about giving.  Rather than being primarily a ‘haven of rest for his soul’, he asserts…

“The Church is an Institution in the world whose business is to save mankind.  This institution is to gather men into a loyal fellowship of obedience to Christ and of service to the world.  It is to claim men under vows of lifelong and unreserved obligation to the Great Master.  It is to bring all human affairs and every human relation into submission to the Divine Law; it is to establish God’s Kingdom on earth.  It is to win through Love and Sacrifice.  It is to train up its members to more intelligent, more whole-hearted allegiance, to more perfect participation in this great campaign.  They need grace from above; it is entrusted with the means of grace, it offers them and ministers them.  It renews the loyalty of its members by its assemblies for worship; in them it re-devotes itself, every Lord’s Day – and oftener – to that loyalty.  The ‘Church service’ in its highest form is the common re-offering by the body of the faithful, of themselves, to the Lord of their Baptism, at he altar of the Eucharist or “Sacrifice of Thanksgiving”.
The member of the Church who understands what his Church membership means, goes to church to take part in that offering.  If I am a member of the Church, my place is at church at every due function of the Church, unless reasonably hindered.  I show disrespect to the Church, and to Christ Himself, and I take an attitude of delinquency and disloyalty toward my only voluntary assumed obligations, when I neglect her services.  Therefore an apostle could exhort Christians to renewed diligence in this respect: ‘Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is.’
(The Church’s) strength is in her loyalty.  For their failure in loyalty no outward thing may compensate: not the most splendid of buildings, not he most gifted of preachers, not the richest of rituals, not the most glorious music; not the soundest of financial provisions, not the most liberal of supporters, not the most numerous of congregations.  It all comes back to this: ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.’”