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Sermon: Radical

Sermon.04.29.18 St. Paul’s – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Acts 8.26-40; Psalm 22.24-30; 1 John 4.7-21; John 15.1-8 Did you know that Jesus expects you to be a radical? As I have said before, Jesus came making radical claims, bearing a radical message, and calling us to a radical action. Radical means “of, relating to, or proceeding from a root;” in this case the root is God’s love. We see this in the lectionary readings for today. Let’s begin with one of Jesus’ radical claims: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower” (John 15. 1; NRSV). Why was this a radical statement? The Hebrew scriptures contain several references to Israel as the vine or the vineyard; perhaps the most noted is I

Sermon: Caring for Creation

Sermon.04.22.18 St. Paul’s – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Genesis 1.1-31; Psalm 33.1-9; Romans 1.18-23; John 1.1-14 Earth Day and Creation Care As we read Genesis 1, you may have noticed how often the text said, “And God saw that is was good.” There are seven such pronouncements. On the first day of creation, after having created light, “God saw that the light was good.” The phrase is missing from the second day account when God created the dome called sky in the midst of the waters. On the third day, the phrase appears twice: first, in response to the appearance of dry land and seas, and second, in response to the creation of flora. On the fourth day, the phrase is used to assess the creation of

Sermon: I Need God's Help

Sermon.04.15.18 St. Paul’s – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Acts 3.12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3.1-7, 16-24; Luke 24.36b-48 Our reading from 1 John begins, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are” (3.1; NRSV). But just before writing this, John the Elder wrote, “And now, little children, abide in him. So that when he is revealed we may have a confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming” (1 John 2.28; NRSV). We also encounter this idea of not being put to shame in Romans 9.30-33 where Paul observes that Gentiles who did not strive for righteousness through the works of the law have nonetheless received righteousness through

Sermon: Unity

Sermon.04.08.18 St. Paul’s – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Acts 4.32-35; Psalm 133; 1 John 1.1-2.2; John 20.19-31 The psalmist says, “Oh, how good and pleasant it is, when brethren live together in unity!” The Hebrew na’im, translated as ‘pleasant’ also connotes ‘lovely, good, attractive, friendly, joyous” (deClaisse-Wolford, Nancy. http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2381). The psalmist tells us it is like fine oil that runs down upon the head, upon the beard, but not just any beard -- upon the beard of Aaron. Here the psalmist is recalling Moses’ anointing of Aaron, his brother, as the Lord commanded, to be High Priest (Leviticus 8.10-12). The psalmist also compares li

Sermon: Let Us Rejoice!

Easter Sunday Sermon.04.01.18 St. Paul’s – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Acts 10:34-43; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; John 20:1-18 Happy Easter! We sing with the psalmist: “On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118.24, BCP). In the Easter Vigil, we read several passages which portrayed some of the mighty acts of God in “salvation history.” Our readings ended with Matthew’s account of the resurrection. Matthew tells us that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb as dawn was breaking. A great earthquake occurred; an angel rolled back the stone and sat on it. The angel then told Mary Magdalene and Mary not to be afraid, that he knew they

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