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Sermon: Not Your Ordinary Teacher

Sermon.01.28.18 St. Paul’s – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Deuteronomy 18.15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8.1-13; Mark 1.21-28 Jesus was not your ordinary teacher. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus, and his four newly called disciples (Simon, Andrew, James, and John) have traveled to Capernaum on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. As it was the sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and began to teach, but this teaching was different. Those who heard him were astounded, “for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1. 22; NRSV). The scribes typically cited the scriptures and appealed to tradition; their approach was deliberative. In contrast, Jesus spoke more from

Sermon: In the Belly of a Fish

Sermon.01.21.18 Brookings – St. Paul’s Fr. Larry Ort Jonah 3.1-5, 10; Psalm 62.6-14; 1 Corinthians 7.29-31; Mark 1.14-20 When God Calls, What Do You Do? This question contains an assumption – that we hear God’s call. Last Sunday, we noted three imperatives – “Listen! Come and see! Follow me!” Today’s readings reflect two very different responses to God’s call. First, we have Jonah. The text for today begins, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, ‘Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.’ So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh” (Jonah 3.1-3a; NRSV). God had a bit of work to do to get Jonah to this point of obedience. The book

Sermon: When Have You Followed Jesus?

Sermon.01.14.18 St. Paul’s – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort 1 Samuel 3.1-20; Psalm 139.1-5, 12-17; 1 Corinthians 6.12-20; John 1.43-51 “And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening’” (I Samuel 3.10b; NRSV). “Philip said to Nathanael, ‘Come and see’” (John 1.46b; NRSV). “Jesus found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me’” (John 1.43b; NRSV). These imperatives confront us, and they have a lot to say about our faith experience. Let’s look a bit more closely at each imperative. Speak—listen: In 1 Samuel, we are told that Samuel was lying down in the temple in the area where the ark of the covenant was located. This must have been in the Holy of Holies or very near it. God is calling him, but we

Sermon: Epiphanies

Sermon.01.07.18 St. Paul’s – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Genesis 1.1-5; Psalm 29; Acts 19.1-7; Mark 1.4-11 Yesterday was Epiphany – the last day of Christmas. If you have not done so already, you may now throw out the Christmas tree, but hopefully you left it up through Epiphany. Epiphany occurs on January 6th, the 12th day of Christmas, and the baptism of Jesus is celebrated on the Sunday thereafter. In the Eastern Church, Epiphany emphasizes Jesus’ baptism; in the Western Church we emphasize the visit of the Magi. In that epiphany means “manifestation,” “revelation,” or “appearance,” both events qualify. Other instances of epiphany include the miracle of turning water into wine. In the early h

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