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

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thankfulness - Rector's Rambling for November 25, 2018

We have a lot to be grateful for at St. John’s Church.  On Thursday we celebrated the National Holiday of Thanksgiving, but as people who follow Jesus Christ, we are to be thankful people all the time.  It is an attitude of gratitude.
I recently had a discussion with a parishioner going through several health challenges, and she mentioned she was starting to identify more closely with Job than any other person in Scripture.  It has been one thing after another in the past year for her.  But as we continued our conversation, we were able to turn toward some positive things that have been going on in her life, and before long, the room seemed to lighten up.  Yes, her woes were still real and present, but she also came to realize that in fact she was the beneficiary of many blessings as well in her time of trial.
Another parishioner witnessed in his recovery from a bad fall that he sensed the power of God’s presence and prayers received in a tangible way because his accident caused him to slow down, listen, and pay attention.  Although he certainly doesn’t want to repeat the fall, nor do we think God pushed him off the ladder to get his attention, good did come from his time recovering from his accident.
Gratitude is a powerful weapon against malaise and non-clinical depression.  It is all too easy for us to get caught up in our “woe-is-me” attitude, and lose sight of the many other ways that God is active and at work in our lives.  The old children’s hymn, “Count your blessings, count them one by one” certainly does apply here.
Christianity is not about the power of positive thinking, nor is it Pollyanna-ish in ignoring hard times and painful things.  But mixed in with having to take up our cross to follow Jesus is the assurance that he takes our yoke upon himself as well, and, in fact, He has shouldered the heavier burden by paying the price for our sins.
Thanksgiving, for us, is all year long.