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

Sunday, December 19, 2021

So close and yet.... - Rector's Rambling for December 19, 2021

    Today we are as close, liturgically, to Christmas as we can be.  It is the fourth Sunday in Advent.  Today, after the 10:00 AM service, we officially turn our decorating ability toward the celebration of the feast on Friday evening.  Yesterday we put a few of the big items in place (trees, crèche, and balcony garland), but there is still plenty of decorating to do after the service today.  Come downstairs to have a quick bowl of soup in support of the outreach ministry of the St. Catherine’s Guild (ECW), and then back up to the church to put in place the various decorations for the big celebration.

Until then we are still in the purple of Advent.  We continue to concentrate on our spiritual preparation, not only for the coming of the Feast of the Nativity, but also the coming again of our Lord in glorious majesty to judge both the quick (living) and the dead.

Today’s gospel lesson once again confronts us with John the Baptist, and his call to us to be in that state of Grace which comes from our repentance of sin and that conversion of life to which we are all called.

As I have mentioned in sermons, we all are sinners.  Some may be further along the scale toward holiness.  But most of those who are considered saints by the Church are considered saints not because they knew they were holy, but because of the depth of their repentance of those sins which they recognized in themselves!  We can only cooperate with the holiness God desires for us if we are willing to admit our sinfulness and therefore be open to the work of the Holy Ghost in making us holy.

Whether it be PALEGAS – Pride, Anger, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Avarice (greed), and Sloth – or perhaps the Ten Commandments (see page 68 of the Prayer Book), how do we honestly measure up?  God knows, and He is offering you forgiveness and strength to be a better person by His Grace.  But if we don’t think we need His help, or need to change, the spiritual life becomes stagnant, or worse, regressive.

You are about to receive the great gift of Christmas – are you prepared to receive Him?