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

Friday, January 01, 2016

Goals, Resolutions, Good Habits by Grace - Rector's Rambling for January 3, 2016

I hope that everyone has had a good celebration of the calendar new year, and that we have set some goals for 2016 in the form of New Years Resolutions.
I know that it is almost comical when people speak of such resolutions, because so many of them are broken within a few days.  Exercise more, be healthy, etc. are some of the most common of these resolutions, and we see the health clubs signing up a glut of new members in early January, only to have attendance levels drop back to ‘normal’ by February, if not sooner.
But I think it is human nature for us to be setting goals and tying them to particular days or dates.  Starting a workout program or stopping smoking on a Monday since it is the first day of the work week is another example.  And of course, if January’s start fails you, then there is always “giving something up for Lent” which begins in a little over a month from now.  And in the case of giving it up for Lent, if it is sinful it should be given up NOW, rather than as a spiritual discipline for 40 days.
Although it is certainly a good idea to set goals and strive to attain them, the reality is that most people are habitual.  We get set in bad habits and the bigger challenge of a resolution isn’t just taking something on, but giving up the bad habit so that it can be replaced with the good.  And then of course, the good habit has to continue to be reinforced in order to avoid backsliding into the bad.
The same is true of the discipline of the Spiritual Life.  Being regular about prayer, reading scripture, loving God and neighbor, and attending Church has to become habitual.  We are saved by Grace, but we attend to these things because they encourage us and strengthen us to respond quickly to the promptings of the Spirit, helps us to discern God’s will in our lives both in general and in specific situations, and to avoid the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. 
Make a good resolution for Him TODAY.