The Gardener of Second Chances

Our God is a God of second chances… and third, fourth, fifth… innumerable chances.One of my favorite parables of Jesus (also a favorite of many, I imagine) is the parable of the fig tree, which is this Sunday’s (Feb. 28) Gospel lesson. We all know the story well: the vineyard owner wants the barren fig tree chopped down, but the gardener asks to give it one more year, predicting that a little TLC will cause it to bear fruit again. This wonderful story calls to mind a beautiful Dutch caro... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Wednesday, February 24, 2016

All We Like Sheep

The Collect for the Day for the Second Sunday of Lent (Feb. 21) liturgically and wonderfully calls us on the carpet: “O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word.” We are the ones “who have gone astray,” and God knows it and loves us still. Actually, it was the old prophet Isaiah who was perhaps one of the fi... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, February 15, 2016

40 Days and 40-Day Hymns

The Season of Lent is always a conversation starter in the Episcopal Church. Some like to refer to all the liturgical rules for Lent: no Alleluias, the use of purple damask or plain muslin paraments, more somber music. Some like to discuss the true meaning of Lent: giving up something, a paring away of the excesses if you will, to allow more time for God’s voice to speak. Some like to regale “all those 40-days hymns in the hymnal.” (Yes, it is possible to plan an entire liturgy using only 40-... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Wednesday, February 10, 2016

All creation sings your praise

While the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ is August 6, the Last Sunday of the Epiphany (February 7) is often referred to as “Transfiguration Sunday” because of its Gospel reading each lectionary year. I think Last Epiphany is one of the “fun Sundays” for music.This Gospel reading (Luke 9:28-36) is a certainly a significant one for various reasons. Jesus’ manifestation is identified again (“This is my Son, my Chosen”), confirmed by the prophets of old (Moses and Elijah) a... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Tuesday, February 2, 2016