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, December 12, 2016

Lightening up - Rector's Rambling for December 11, 2016

We are over the mid-point of our Advent observance, which means we have come to Gaudéte Sunday, sometimes known as Rose Sunday.  It is a chance for us to “lighten up” in the heaviness of a penitential season, which is signified liturgically by the use of the rose colored vestments and altar hangings in the place of the “heavier” purple.
In recent years there has been a push to make Advent less penitential in nature.  Lent is the grand penitential season of course, with its precursor “-gesima” Sundays.  There was a third penitential season, observed by the devout, centuries ago.  It was from early August to September 14 (Feast of the Holy Cross), but it was not universally observed.
One way that portions of the Church have downplayed the penitential aspect of Advent is to replace the purple with blue.  I see this frequently in Episcopal and Roman parishes.  Blue for Advent seems to be an adaptation of the color scheme for the season from the Sarum Rite.  But mixing Rites is generally discouraged, and I certainly wouldn’t want to wear the burnt brick orange of Trinitytide of the Sarum use.
We need to be penitential.  Not only do we have to frequently (even daily) acknowledge and confess our manifold sins and wickedness, but we also need to spend extended periods (a season) in a penitential mode in order to be prepared for the glories of the great gift of Holy Days like Easter, and of course Christmas.  Lightening up today, but in the bigger picture, still preparing!
· A reminder that we will gather next Saturday, December 17, at 1:00 PM, for the Burial Service for the repose of the soul of Liz Oates.  A reception follows.
· Also, the pre-greening of the church takes place this week on Thursday, starting at noon.  If you are able to attend at any point during the afternoon, even if for a little while, we can use your help.  Contact Debbie Swain for more information.
· Thank you to all who pitched in to help with yesterday’s Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings Holiday Brass concert.  It was a great occasion, and very well-attended.  Thank you to vestry member Anne Ruffley for arranging for it to be held “back home” at St. John’s where the DCW&S was founded.