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 20, 2018

Have a happy Lent - Rector's Rambling for February 18, 2018

"Remember, O man, that thou art dust, and unto dust shalt thou return”.

These words were said, over and over, as ashes were applied on the foreheads of people at St. John’s, and in churches around the world.  This past Wednesday the Lenten Fast began, although it faced stiff competition from the secularized version of Valentine’s Day.  St. Valentine was martyred for his faith in Jesus – we can be sure he doesn’t mind that his feast day was bumped this year.
I like Ash Wednesday because, in addition to our regular worshippers, we see folks in church we don’t see very often, and we get visitors from neighboring office buildings who realize what day it is and dash to the nearest church.  It is nice to see people make an earnest start on this important season of the Church year.
Unlike Advent, which has been decimated by the consumerized seven weeks of pre-Christmas that exhausts us by the time Christmas actually arrives, Lent and Easter have remained mostly un-commercialized.
As I quipped last week in my sermon, I saw a t-shirt that said, “Have a miserable Lent”.  Actually, I don’t find Lent miserable, even if at times I am miserable in Lent.  If I am, it is because I have become too attached to things, and behaviors that may not be good for me.  Or worse yet, I have forgotten that self-control and making an offering of my life (even the good things) can be uncomfortable.  There is nothing evil or  bad about coffee, and in giving it up each year there is a headache for a few days.  But throughout Lent, each time I smell it, or see someone else drinking it and desire it for myself, I am reminded that I am offering this up for my sins, and to learn discipline.  It makes it a bit better.

Lent is here, and I hope that you will find it not miserable, but helpful.  Give something up.  Take something on.  Pray, fast, give alms.  Can you get to heaven without keeping Lent?  Sure, but in keeping it you learn to live more fully for Jesus – and that is a good enough reason