Ancient Music

The Lenten Season is almost as old as the Church itself. Christians in the second century prepared for the Easter feast with a two-day fast. By the third century this fast was extended to all of Holy Week. In the year 325, the Council of Nicaea spoke of the quadragesima paschae (“forty days before Easter”), which we know today as the Season of Lent. As today (Feb. 22) is the First Sunday in Lent, we notice some visible changes in our liturgy today: the absence of altar flowers; purple para... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Last Alleluia

On Sunday, February 15, we say and sing our last Alleluias, at least for a while, as the Last Sunday after Epiphany and the transfiguration of Christ are celebrated. The Lenten fast begins this week on Ash Wednesday, when the Alleluias will be suspended in the liturgy for the Lenten season. Today’s music, including anthems and hymnody, is filled with sung Alleluias, from the Sequence hymn’s repeating Alleluia at the end of each verse, to the numerous Alleluias in the Communion hymn texts, and... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Saturday, February 14, 2015

Health and Wholeness Sending

In The Hymnal 1982, our entrance hymn this Sunday morning (February 8) may, indeed, be slightly difficult to locate in the book. As it is Hymn No. 1, it is actually located almost in the service music section of the hymnal. This grand 10th-century Latin text is perfect for morning worship in a season such as Epiphany. Stanza 2 contains the most vivid images: "fit us for thy mansions; banish our weakness; health and wholeness sending; bring us to heaven." This plea to God for "health and whole... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Friday, February 6, 2015

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

The lectionary readings for today (Feb. 1) carry the common theme of identifying Jesus Christ as the Son of God on earth, which is itself a theme found throughout Epiphany. From Deuteronomy we read, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people." And in First Corinthians we find, "and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." And in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is identified as "the Holy One of God" by his miracl... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Sunday, February 1, 2015