Father Geoffrey Piper on Celebration of Lent and Easter

Central to Roxbury Latin’s mission and tradition is tending to the spiritual growth of boys. Since the spiritual life can take many forms—a communion with nature, a foundation in organized religion, a commitment to service, a journey toward strong moral character—we annually bring speakers to campus who represent a range of faiths and religions. On 2 April, Father Geoffrey Piper spoke to the students and faculty about Lent, Holy Week, and Easter—the most important period of the Christian liturgical calendar. Father Piper is rector of St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church in Marion, Massachusetts, where he has served for ten years.
 
“For our purposes today, we are not talking about sun-up, or marshmallow chicks, or chocolate eggs,” began Father Piper. “We’re talking about the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus… For Christians who anticipate our own resurrection to eternal life, we, too, hope for a transition from this life, through death, to the life to come… Where do we get this hope? How do we take what we trust occurred with one ancient rabbi on the outskirts of Jerusalem around 33 A.D. and assert that this will be our destiny as well?”
 
Through spiritual scripture and prayer, through personal experiences, anecdotes and humor, Father Piper walked his audience through the Christian belief of Jesus being both Holy and human; sacrificing for the sins of humanity; and freeing us, through our faith, “to be of God’s own spirit, raised to a new quality of life, even as we’re bound to these earthly bodies.”
 
“The apostle Paul gives a nice description of that goodness when he writes, ‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,” Father Piper said.
        
Father Piper graduated from Amherst College through which—by way of a Glee Club tour through Central and South America—he landed in the U.S. Virgin Islands where he was drawn to a lively, committed faith in Christ, through “the loving, winsome, joyful witness of the Moravian minister’s family.”
       
He began his pastoral ministry as Lay Reader-in-Charge of four congregations in Quebec. In Canada, he studied theology at Bishop’s University and was ordained in 1988. With his wife, Leslie, and their growing family, Father Piper served a total of eleven congregations in three parishes over five years. Since then, he has served a range of congregations—from Easthampton, Massachusetts, to Detroit, Michigan—called and devoted to the mission, scripture and service of the Episcopal Church.
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