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

Monday, February 13, 2017

The gesimas - Rector's Rambling for February 12, 2017

I love using big words that roll off the tongue, and their very pronunciation and mysterious sounding meaning makes them fun to say.  The next three Sundays, including today, have such fun sounding names.  Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima are just such words!
But more than just being fun to say, they are an important signal to us.  As we see those words appear on our service bulletin and the Chronicle, we know that Lent, and therefore Easter, are approaching!
These three Sundays are, as the prayer book calls them, the Pre-Lenten Season.  Things start to change liturgically (how we worship) as we begin to prepare for the coming of Lent.
For a few years we were a bit schizophrenic in how we kept this pre-Lenten season.  We were using the newer lectionary (readings) which did away with the “gesima” Sundays, and so we ended up keeping the old name, with new readings, new collects, and a new theme up until Lent actually started.  Occasionally someone would come up to me and say “didn’t these long named Sundays used to be purple, not green?”   And they were right.  The green went with the newer reading schedule, not the name.
So having restored, with the Bishop’s permission, the original lectionary intended to be used with the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, we are back in the purple for Pre-Lent.  The “Glory be to God on High” has been put away until Easter, and the “Alleluias” have also disappeared.
Now is the time of year to begin thinking about what disciplines you intend to keep in the Lenten season to come, and perhaps start weaning yourself off whatever it is you might be giving up.
Ash Wednesday is late this year, being on March 1.  Between now and then, let us begin our preparations for the coming Lenten fast as we enjoy pronouncing the “gesimas” to our friends and family!
Pre-Lent, Lent, Passiontide, and Holy Week are an orderly path to the glory of Easter.  Let us follow the church’s lead toward that glory.