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

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Happy Lent - Rector's Rambling for February 14, 2016

Last week I saw a t-shirt for sale that said “have a miserable Lent”.  I chuckled and shared it on my Facebook wall, but with the caveat that I think quite the opposite.  I want people to have a “happy” Lent, and in fact have wished people just that.
It sounds like an oxymoron – “happy” and “Lent”, but if we remember that the word for happy comes from the same root word in Koine (biblical) Greek as “blessed”, then it certainly is the right greeting!
Lent is a great blessing, even if it is hard and time consuming.  It is supposed to be.  But even more so, it is an opportunity for us to be honest with ourselves about the state of our souls so that we can make inroads toward true blessedness.  True blessedness leads to holiness.  Lent is only miserable because sin doesn’t want us to let go of our habits, and also doesn’t like to be disciplined.  But knowing that it is good for us, and is making us better, can help us go into it and through it with a good attitude.
Please take advantage of the many extra opportunities at St. John’s this Lent, especially our Thursday evenings and Friday lunchtime offerings.  Additionally, much of the Lenten discipline done by you in the secret of our house and heart.  Be sure to refer to our brochure “The Observance of an Holy Lent”.
Of course most people know that today is also St. Valentine’s Day.  Although “Saint” has mostly been dropped from the title by the secular forces who see it as a commercial opportunity, it is based on a Holy Day dedicated in memory of one of the saints.  St. Valentine was a priest who was martyred in the 3rd century in Rome.  His crime, legend says, was performing marriages for Christian couples and helping those who were being persecuted under the Emperor Claudius.  Once imprisoned he inflamed the situation by trying to convert the emperor!  He was beaten, stoned, and eventually beheaded.  The majority of his relics now rest in the Church of St. Praxedes in Rome.
Beaten, stoned, and beheaded for faith in Jesus is hardly a secular selling point for merchants in mid-February, but it is the heart of our identity in Christ as members of His Body, the Church.
Let us be serious about the training of our hearts and souls this Lent, that we may become the saints that Jesus wants us to be!