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, February 27, 2022

Quinquagesima - Rector's Rambling for February 27, 2022

Today is our last Sunday of the pre-Lenten season, and on Wednesday we jump right into the thick of our Lenten Season.

             On Wednesday we will have three opportunities for you to start Lent off with an outward sign of your mortality and penitence.  At the Holy Communion Service at 12:15 and 6 PM, or at Evening Prayer at 5 PM, we will be praying the Penitential Office found on page 60 in the Book of Common Prayer, and you will have the opportunity to receive the imposition of Ashes.  The ashes are from burned palms from previous years.

As the ashes are placed on your forehead the priest says, “remember O man that thou art dust, and unto dust shalt thou return”.  It is a most solemn reminder that we will in fact die, and what we do here on earth has eternal consequences.  Left to our own devices we are fallen as a result of original sin and the actual sins we commit.  Unrepented of, we merit eternal separation from God.

But thanks be to God for His Mercy and forgiveness through the Blood of Jesus Christ.  Even though our mortal bodies will decay and return to dust, we will live eternally with God through the forgiveness and propitiation accomplished on the Cross!

Be sure to start Lent right!


The picture above was published in the Detroit Free Press several years ago.  In it is a multi-chinned Fr. Kelly with then college student Dr. Leia Zorome.  Her son Rahim will be baptised today after the 10 AM Service, God willing!


Monday, February 07, 2022

Last Epiphany Sunday - Rector's Rambling for February 6, 2022

       We have made it to the last Sunday in Epiphany.  Next week we switch to the purple vestments and hangings for the pre-Lenten season, known as the Gesima Sundays.

This past week we had two Feast Days.  On Wednesday (while the snow was beginning) we had the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, also known as the Purification of Mary. 

On this day the church commemorates the 40th day of Jesus’ life, when he was brought by his parents to Jerusalem and presented in the temple.  As the second chapter of Luke’s gospel reminds us, “every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”, harkening back to Leviticus Chapter 12.  Also, this being the 40th day after giving birth the mother is purified ‘from her issue of blood’ having had these days to have her body recover from giving birth.

In this event we hear about Simeon and Anna, a prophet and prophetess who confirm that this child is in fact the fulfillment of the promise of God to send a Saviour.  The words of Simeon, known as the Nunc dimittis, Latin for the first words of his statement, we recite every day after the second lesson of Evening Prayer, as well as at the nighttime office of Compline. 

On Thursday we celebrated the Feast of St. Blase, one of the 14 Holy Helpers.  He is invoked for healing and protection for ailments of the throat, from his legend of having healed a young boy who had a thorn in his throat.

Following one of the great traditions of the Church today we will be offering  after both Sunday Services the Blessing of the Throats in honor of St. Blase. After the services please come to the altar rail in The Chapel where I will have blessed candles (unlit) to place on your throat and I will pray for healing and protection for ailments of the throat and all other infirmities. Be sure to come back to the chapel to receive the blessing.