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

Monday, January 02, 2023

8th Day of Christmas - Rector's Rambling for January 1st, 2023

Happy New Year!

Today we start the year off right by attending Church, especially because the feast day also falls on a Sunday.

A very small percentage of regular Church-goers attend worship on New Year’s day.  Most people stayed up too late to ring in the New Year, and perhaps enjoyed one or two libations which hindered their early rising.  And there are many distractions on New Year’s Day, including parades from California and Miami, and a barrage of college football games.  In Philadelphia there was the Mummer’s Parade - an all day and evening affair of men dressed in strange feathered costumes and marching to music on saxophone and banjo (I kid you not…try Googling “Mummers Parade”).

Today is a feast day, not because it is the start of the calendar year, but because it is the 8th day of Christmas.

Having celebrated with great pomp and ceremony the birth of Jesus on Christmas, the Church gathers again 7 days later as Jesus participates in the original covenant between God and the people of the Jews by being circumcised.  This outward sign of the covenant, sealed with the shedding of blood, was the proof of being one of God’s people.  Jesus was a Jew, but this shedding of first blood was also the beginning of the fulfillment of the old Law by Jesus, so that we are marked not in the flesh but saved by grace through faith.

Also, on this day the Jewish child formally receives their name.  Just as right before we baptize we state, “Name this Child”, so too the Jew receives his name.  For Jesus, this is even more important (his name having been foretold by the angel), because his name, meaning “God saves” is the only name under heaven by which we can be saved.  It is only by calling on that wondrous name publically proclaimed at His circumcision that we come into relationship with His Father.  A Happy New Year indeed!   


Thank you to everyone who pitched in to make last weekend’s celebration of Christmas so special at St. John’s!  The outstanding music, the altar so lovingly prepared, the ushers welcoming and directing, and the lectors and servers attending to worship responsibilities!