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, January 09, 2023

Epiphanytide starts - Rector's Rambling for January 8, 2023

     This past week we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany.  Some years the 6th of January falls on a Sunday so that we get to celebrate it at our regular Sunday worship.  We celebrated it with a 12:15 Mass on Friday, and as one can expect, it was a slightly smaller gathering of people then if it were on a Sunday!

Every year when we do our children’s Christmas Pageant inevitably someone asks, “where are the wise men?”.  At the Christmas Pageant the children are dressed as angels, shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and that is plenty of story to tell!

But the wise men are a part of another story.  At Christmas the shepherds coming to see the child Jesus represent for us the people of God’s original covenant, the Hebrews.  They come and adore him on bended knee and worship him as Lord and King.

The Prayer Book calls this feast not only The Epiphany, but also “the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles”.  Thirteen days after Christmas the wise men (Magi) arrive, representing the various nations outside that original covenant.  They represent us (well, at least most of us) who are gentiles (not Jews).  The star they follow is a sign of the birth of this new king, one that will be King of all.

Today’s lessons have us jump ahead a dozen years, to the finding of Jesus in the Temple.  As a fellow seminarian once called it in a chapel sermon “the original Home Alone” episode.  Jesus, growing toward adulthood, goes with his family to the Temple – the central location of Jewish worship, sacrifice, and devotion, and stays behind to be with his Father (heavenly father).  However, being a good Jew who honors his mother and father, he returns to Nazareth to grow in stature until the time that he is made manifest publicly at age 30.

And in the coming weeks we will be looking at ways in which Jesus is made manifest as the Son of God.  For three Sundays we will be in the green vestments for this season.  In February it is back into the purple for the pre-Lenten season, known as the gesima Sundays.