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, May 14, 2018

Thy Kingdom Come this week - Rector's Rambling for May 13, 2018

We continue our special time of intercession as we are now in the middle of the time between the Feast of the Ascension (last Thursday) and Pentecost (next Sunday).
The Archbishop of Canterbury has asked the churches to participate by praying with special intention for the conversion of the world to Jesus Christ, beginning one person at a time.  One of the ways we can do this is by praying for and with others.
If you haven’t signed up and come down for our 6:00 PM service, I implore you to do so this week.  It is a great opportunity for us to gather and let the neighborhood know that we are alive and praying for them.  We sing two hymns, we pray Evening Prayer, and if the Spirit moves someone, we have a five-minute testimony by them about their faith in Jesus Christ.  Then we have a period of intercession for those we have been asked to pray for, and those whom God has placed on our hearts that day.  We are done before 6:30 PM.
Our church building is a wonderful, beautiful structure that inspires people to prayer.  But it is also intimidating.  It is large and imposing.  It can be hard for someone who is not a member, or not a believer, to step inside.
Having this gathering at the Prayer Wall is bringing the Love of Jesus outside and to the people, both witnessing to them by our presence and prayers, and inviting them to join us in a less intimidating location.
A friend and I were having a discussion on getting people into the doors of the church.  Parish Web sites, YouTube, and Facebook can all be effective introductions so it is not completely alien when the newcomer walks in.  If you know C. S. Lewis’ series The Chronicles of Narnia, my friend described how people want to enter the wardrobe to see if that magic back entrance is still there.  The Prayer Wall for us can be that door which helps people to enter in, by first starting a relationship in prayer, and then by welcoming and incorporating them into the fellowship.
Ultimately it is by God’s grace that prayers are answered and new people are incorporated into His Church.  May we be open and willing vessels to participate in His work.