Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 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 160 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, November 02, 2021

Momento Mori - Rector's Rambling for October 31, 2021

     Although in the secular sense of ‘trick or treat’ and secular costumes, this is not a church holy day, it finds its roots and even it’s name, in a Holy Day of the Church.

The name Halloween is an anglicized version of All Hallows Eve.  The word Hallow is just another word for Holy, or for the word Saint.  They are all interchangeable. 

Today is All Hallows Eve because it is the Eve of (day before) All Saints Day.  This is a MAJOR feast day of the Church.  We will talk more about All Saints Day next week when we celebrate it on Sunday.  It is one of those Feast Days that is important enough that the Church assigns to it an Octave, which means we have eight days to remember the feast day at Mass AND that there will always be a Sunday (or two) that falls in those eight days!

So these major Feast Days also have what is known as a Evening Prayer 1 or Vespers 1 assigned to it, as well as special propers (readings and collect) for the Eve as well. 

This importance of the Feast spills over into the night before, and those in the Church over the centuries have struck up the fun in celebrating the night before, just as we often celebrate Christmas Day the night before!

One aspect of All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, and the important day of All Souls Day on November 2nd, is that they are a great reminder that this life is meant to be lived for God, and that the only way we get to be with him is through the gate of death.

The logo above contains the phrase Momento Mori - Remember Death (particularly to remember YOUR death).  In this season we are admonished by the Church to remember that all the Saints, and All Souls, have died, and so too we will die.  And if we keep the uncertainty of life in front of us, and that we could die suddenly, then we should be reminded that we should be striving to live according to our Lord’s will and seeking to glorify him TODAY,  not putting it off until later.