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.

My Photo
Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Friday, December 24, 2021

A prayed for Nativity - Rector's Rambling for Christmas 2021

For all of 2021 I have had an ongoing prayer intention, prayed regularly at least twice a week.

“Lord, please let us have a ‘regular’ celebration of Christmas this year” . 

 Actually, I started that prayer request in July of 2020 but apparently it wasn’t to be then. Last year we were in the midst of the restriction that we have only 10 people at an indoor service.  We were, from November of 2020 to April of this year, holding 10 Services a weekend to accommodate all those who wanted to worship and receive the Blessed Sacrament.  Last year for Christmas we planned a truncated family service outside in the garden which was well attended but bitter cold with a windchill of 16 degrees.  We sang and worshipped quickly!  We then held 6 Christmas Eve and Day Services inside St. John’s and two more off-site with 10 person limited attendance at each. 

This year, as of the writing of this column, it appears that we will be having something of a more normal Christmas celebration.  The Family Service with Pageant is back on at 4 PM, and the 8:30 Carols and 9 PM Choral High Mass are also scheduled to happen.  On Christmas Day we have our 11 AM Mass.  Although the Choir and Sunday School are still in rebuilding mode, and some parishioners have not yet returned for public worship, it is wonderful to be gathered together with our members and guests to glorify God in worship, to receive the Blessed Sacrament, and soak in the beauty of our facilities decked out for the Holy Day!

And on Sunday  the 26th, the Feast of St. Stephen, we will be gathering for our regularly scheduled 8, 10, and 5:30 worship.  I hope if you are reading this on Christmas Eve or Day you will come back on Sunday as well to join us for worship!

This is my 22nd Christmas at St. John’s, the 21st as your Rector (I attended one Christmas Eve here while in seminary in 1993).  Had you told me in 2001 that the war just started in Afghanistan and Iraq would persist for about 20 more years, that we would have a huge economic downturn and rebound, that two more sports stadium/arenas would open in the neighborhood, and that we would have a two year pandemic ahead that would actually shut down, then later restrict, churches, I could not have fathomed such things.  But here we are once again, giving thanks to God for the gift of His Son Jesus Christ being born for us in Bethlehem just as the Church has done for nearly 2000 years.

I look forward, God willing, to what God has in store for us in the coming year, and how we will respond to those blessings!