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, April 24, 2022

Low Sunday - Rector's Rambling for April 24, 2022

     Last week was a wonderful return to almost normalcy with a grand celebration of the Resurrection.  It was so nice to have Brassworks back with us and to have so many parishioners and guests join us for worship!  Easter Day is always a great occasion theologically, and this year the gathering not only reminded us of the hope that we have for our own resurrection to eternal life through the merits of Jesus, so too it was a nice chance to have a glimpse of hope for things to return to pre-pandemic worship and ministry.

This week is known as ‘low Sunday’ because after last week’s hoopla things are a bit subdued in comparison.  No brass this week, and the choir has a week off to worship with their families at their home churches, and most likely as you read this you will notice that we don’t have quite as many people worshiping with us as last week.  We keep them all in our prayers in thanksgiving for being with us last week and pray for their return to be with us in the upcoming weeks.

Speaking of the upcoming weeks, we will be busy in May!  Malawi Ingathering (May 1), Baby Shower in support of Pregnancy Aid (May 8), Tiger Baseball Outing (May 15) and Outreach Giving Sunday (May 22) are all great occasions to not only be present yourself in church, but invite friends and family to join us.

And God willing, on May 15th the video crew from the PBS production company, that is working on a documentary about downtown churches in Detroit, will be with us to get some footage of us worshiping together as well as our ‘after Service, before Baseball Game’ hot dog lunch! 

And a reminder that Easter is a SEASON!  40 days to Feast of the Ascension and 10 more to Pentecost.  Let us keep the festive spirit of the Resurrection alive in these coming weeks as we proclaim Jesus as Lord in our lives!


Monday, April 18, 2022

He is Risen! - Rector's Rambling for April 17, 2022

        The shock of Jesus’ death, and the mourning of His followers did not prepare them for the surprise of an empty tomb.  We know they were not prepared because the Gospel accounts tell us that they went to the tomb to mourn, as well as properly prepare the body, because he was hastily buried on Friday before the High Sabbath Day for Passover.

The Sabbath prohibition against work being over, the women go to the tomb with spices to anoint the body (notice the woman depicted above our altar with a jar in her hand).  And we even hear their concern that they would need help rolling away the stone from the front of the tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea, who had offered it for Jesus’ burial, so they could accomplish this task.

Jesus had spoken plainly and openly about His impending death, and that in three days he would rise again.  St. Thomas mentions that the disciples will go to Jerusalem to die with Him, and St. Peter tries to forbid Jesus from going to fulfill God’s will (and was suitably rebuked by Jesus for it).  Yet once arrested, all but St. John flee from Jesus, and we hear that they were cowering together for fear that the authorities would come for them next.

How often do we not want to hear the hard things that Jesus has to say?  They couldn’t hear or accept his warning that all this was to come, and that it was a part of a bigger plan.  How often do we go on with the easier things of Jesus’ teaching with blinders on against what we don’t want to hear?

The Good News is that just as they were all surprised by the Resurrection of Jesus, we too can be surprised, caught unprepared, by the miracle that is Jesus Christ and His plans for us.  Like the disciples, it is our response after that surprise that makes all the difference.  Let us rejoice, as they did, and follow Him as Lord and Saviour.