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Sermon: Reading Scripture as Epiphany

Sermon.01.27.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Nehemiah 8.1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; I Corinthians 12.12-31a; Luke 4.14-21 Thus far we have looked at three epiphanies: the visit of the Magi, Jesus’ baptism accompanied by a voice from heaven, and the miracle of turning water into wine. Today we consider epiphany which comes through reading scripture. First, we have the story of Ezra reading from God’s Law, the Torah. In 586 BC the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem: they took everyone who was anyone into captivity to eliminate any prospects of revolt. Approximately 50 years later, the Babylonians were conquered by Cyrus the Great, the King of Persia. Cyrus issued a decree permitting

Sermon: Of Weddings, Wine, Delight, the Glory of God, and Belief

Sermon.01.20.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Isaiah 62.1-5; Psalm 36.5-10; I Corinthians 12.1-11; John 2.1-11 Today is the second Sunday of the Epiphany Season. Let’s revisit the definition of “epiphany”: first, Epiphany is a church festival observed on January 6th “in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles”; second, epiphany means “an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being’; and third, “an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epiphany). It is reasonable to expect the readings for each Sunday of Epiphany to provide us with some manifestation, di

Sermon: The Waters and the Voice of God

Sermon.01.13.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Isaiah 43.1-7; Psalm 29; Acts 8.14-17; Luke 3.15-17, 21-22 Today is the Celebration of the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Water and the voice of God occupy a prominent place in our service today. In Isaiah we read God’s comforting words to Jacob and Israel during their captivity: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…” (Isaiah 43.1b-2a; NRSV). In Old Testament passages, references to the waters often convey a sense of peril and chaos. We see this connotation in the creation story (“In the beginning when God created the heavens and th

Sermon: Homage to Our King

Sermon.01.06.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Isaiah 60.1-6; Psalm 72.1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3.1.12; Matthew 2.1-12 The Journey Of The Magi – T. S. Elliot A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year For a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter.' And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow. There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet. Then the camel men cursing and grumbling and running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the c

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