Motherhood comes with unflappable faith

The woman whose daughter was possessed by a demon had an unflappable faith. When it comes to their children, I believe most every mother is unflappable, thank God. This Sunday’s gospel tells the story of a Canaanite woman (and therefore already an outcast) who sought out Jesus to heal her tormented daughter. In usual form, the disciples advised to “send her away.” And at first Jesus seems to agree by saying, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Wednesday, August 16, 2017 | 0 comments
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Moveable Font!

People of a certain age will remember the 1970s Wendy's TV commercial, "Where's the beef?" Upon entering most any liturgical church, seekers will find three major appointments in the sanctuary, nave, worship space or "meeting house," as the church is called in New England, Congregationalist-speak: (1) the alta (a.k.a. holy table), Communion table and "Goddes borde" in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer-speak; (2) the pulpit, from whence God's word... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, July 10, 2017 | 0 comments
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Bishop's poetry glows through ages

Hail thee, festival day! Blest day that art hallowed forever, day when the Holy Ghost shone in the world with God’s grace. Lo, in the likeness or fire, on those who await his appearing,  he whom the Lord foretold suddenly, swiftly descends: Forth from the Father he comes with sevenfold mystical offering, pouring on all human souls infinite riches of God: Hark! for the myriad tongues, Christ’s own, his chosen apostles, preach to the ends of... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Wednesday, May 31, 2017 | 0 comments
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Glory on high!

If the birth of Jesus Christ is the beginning of the story, is the Ascension of the Lord the end? Well, perhaps. The Ascension is the end of Jesus’ earthly life, but it is most certainly not the end. From last Sunday’s gospel: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, May 22, 2017 | 0 comments
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On these high notes, summer begins!

The Parish Choir of Church of the Holy Communion is going on a much-deserved break beginning the first of June. Not to worry: We will sing familiar, beloved congregational hymns for all of June and July, which our parishioners happily anticipate.  The Parish Choir is finishing the season with a bit of a flourish of worthy anthems, thanks mostly to the Revised Common Lectionary, which makes our weekly worship experiences so very rich. Two Sundays ago, for the Fourth Sunday... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Tuesday, May 16, 2017 | 0 comments
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Spiritual home in good hands

With May being one of our busiest times of the year at Church of the Holy Communion and St. Mary's Episcopal School, it's difficult to be away, even for a few days.  I have just returned from one of my spiritual homes, a great church in New York, host of a conference I have not attended for more than ten years. For 44 years, St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue has hosted an annual choirmasters conference that has been led by some of the finest Anglican musicians and choir... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Tuesday, May 9, 2017 | 0 comments
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All we like sheep

In the Christian calendar, we know that all Sundays have specific names according to the lectionary year (Fourth Sunday of Easter, Day of Pentecost, etc.). Some Sundays have “liturgical nicknames” as well, mainly taken from the readings for a particular Sunday. The Second Sunday of Easter is known as “Thomas Sunday” from the gospel account of “Doubting Thomas.” The Seventh Sunday of Easter is known as “Ascension Sunday,” as it is the Sunday... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, May 1, 2017 | 0 comments
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Sealing the Deal

Most cultures worldwide have some sort of rite of initiation, and this initiation is the principal “liturgy” of that culture. Many cultures celebrate an infant rite of some sort, and many also observe the significance of passing from childhood into maturity. These rites all seem to use similar language, passing from the former (often “death”) into a new existence (“new life”). The favorite verse from First Corinthians comes to mind: “When I was a... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, April 24, 2017 | 0 comments
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Easter moments glimmer brightly

I wonder what really did transpire in Jerusalem and surrounding areas after the Resurrection. We know the news traveled very quickly, beginning with Jesus speaking to Mary Magdalene in the garden, where she mistakenly took him to be the gardener. From there Mary Magdalene went directly to the disciples to spread the good news. Jesus then appears to the disciples in the Upper Room (the “Doubting Thomas” gospel reading for this Sunday, April 23), to two followers walking in... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Tuesday, April 18, 2017 | 0 comments
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Easter's in our DNA

In this parish, we sing the same hymns every Easter Day. No, seriously, we do! And here’s a little secret: Most parish churches are just like us, singing the very same traditional hymns each Easter Day, year in and year out. In my 30-year parish musician career, I have heard so many times, “Oh, it’s just not Easter unless we sing thus-and-so.” Hymns are carriers of the faith. They convey the story in poetry coupled with beautiful melodies. And they elicit memories.... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Wednesday, April 12, 2017 | 0 comments
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Liturgical Shift

'Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-11 This passage from the Letter to the Philippians is the Epistle reading on... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, April 3, 2017 | 0 comments
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Death not the end here

In that biblical, Trinitarian manner, they say funerals come in threes – that is, three in close proximity to each other. Indeed, we have had a number of burial services of late, which is not unusual in a sizable parish. Baptizing, marrying and burying the faithful is a blessed part of what we do. Helping people get a proper start in life and  marriage is the church’s obligation. Being with people at the end of life, with assurance and dignity, is in our DNA. In the... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, March 27, 2017 | 0 comments
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Old Favorites

We all have that old sweatshirt, pair of worn jeans or old shoes to which we retreat  when we need comfort. Or maybe it's a favorite movie or a book we're happy to read over and over.  The same is true for hymns and anthems. We all have our favorite hymns. And choirs have their favorite anthems, those that we trot out when the occasion arises or when we want something familiar. This Sunday’s (March 26) Gospel is the account of Jesus healing the... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Tuesday, March 21, 2017 | 0 comments
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Living Water

Given that last Wednesday was International Women’s Day, perhaps it is most appropriate for us to hear the story of the Samaritan woman at the well as the Gospel reading this Sunday (March 19). What lessons should we glean from this beloved story? She was a despised woman, both as a Samaritan, a race of people shunned by the Jews, and as someone whom even her own people considered an outcast. And yet, who talks to her and actually asks her for a drink of water? Jesus... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Wednesday, March 15, 2017 | 0 comments
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Purple Paraments

Walking our pilgrim of Lent this year, we have some new art to adorn our liturgy and worship spaces this year. This professionally handcrafted artwork is a completely new set of purple paraments for the chancel and for our clergy to wear. This beautiful purple set was commissioned by our parish and designed and crafted by Grace Vestments of Brooklyn, New York, which also designed and made our new Advent Sarum blue set. http://gracevestments.com/index.html The complete set includes ... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, March 6, 2017 | 0 comments
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