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

Monday, September 26, 2022

Royal Funeral as opportunity to invite - Rector's Rambling for September 25, 2022


It is been estimated that 5 BILLION people watched the funeral for Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey, and I am sure countless more will watch portions on replay on social media.  As the first English Monarch to have their coronation televised live back in 1953, believed to be viewed at the time by 100 million people worldwide, it is fittingly appropriate that her funeral would also be watched by so many.

How often I am asked by people what worship at St. John’s is like, and my answer is “have you seen an English royal wedding or funeral? - that is our traditional worship style at St. John’s.”  This past Monday’s Service, broadcast around the world, was the 1662 Book of Common Prayer Burial Office, mirrored very closely in our own 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

Although few funerals at St. John’s involve a military escort or full choir, the same theological reverence and dignity is in full effect for all who are buried with the rites of the Church.  Whether it be The Burial Office (no Communion) or a Requiem Mass (Holy Communion Service) it is done with the same faithfulness and dignity attended to for kings and queens in England.

Watching the funeral on Monday, I was moved to awe not just at the pomp and circumstance of it all, but the display of the fullness of the faith that Jesus Christ is Lord, that He is Risen, and that those who believe have the gift of eternal life through Him.  Elizabeth, as Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, believed in Jesus Christ as Lord.  This was evident in her many statements over the years at Christmas.  I hope and pray that Charles as King displays the same unabashed belief in The King of Kings and Lord of Lords as he has assumed the mantle of leadership of the Church of England, our mother church.

And discussions about the Queen’s funeral is also a great opportunity for evangelism!  Be sure to point out to friends the hope of the Resurrection in Jesus Christ on full display that day, and invite people to St. John’s to experience worship using the same Holy Spirit inspired words and ritual expressing the Universal Faith as the Church has received it from Jesus