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Sermon: Earth Day

Sermon.04.28.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Acts 5.27-32; Psalm 118.14-29; Revelation 1.4-8; John 20.19-31 Earth Day, first observed in 1970, is celebrated on April 22; churches are encouraged to promote creation care on the Sunday closest to April 22. As that was Easter Sunday, we are celebrating Earth Day today. The past 49 years has seen many accomplishments, but the situation is dire. I hate to think what we might have been experienced aside from our past commitment. Let’s begin by noting a few things from the reading. In today’s gospel reading, the resurrected Jesus appeared to the disciples, said “Peace be with you,” then showed them his hands and side. The disciples

Sermon: The Significance of Easter

Easter Sunday Sermon.04.21.19 St. Paul’s – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Acts 10:34-43; 1 Corinthians 15:19-26; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; John 20:1-18 (BCP, p. 222) Collect: Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord's resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. In the Easter Vigil, we read several passages which portrayed some of the mighty acts of God and revealed various aspects of God’s divine plan. Most of these a

Sermon: “They Know Not What They Do”

Sermon.04.14.19.Palm.Sunday St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Luke 19.28-40; Psalm 118.1-2, 19-29 // Isaiah 50.4-9a; Psalm 31.9-16; Philippians 2.5-11; Luke 22.14-23.56 The real sermon for today is the passion story. I suspect you might have heard something new in this story, something that had previously escaped your attention. If so, would anyone like to briefly share your thoughts? (Allow a couple of people to share, then proceed with the homily.) For many years I have been struck by Jesus’ words on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23.34; NRSV). I have long marveled at this spirit of forgiveness. If I were on the cross, would I

Sermon: Approaching the Cross

Sermon.04.07.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Isaiah 43.16-21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3.4b-14; John 12.1-8 As we make our way through Lent, the cross is drawing nearer. Today’s scriptures convey this sense of movement. Isaiah reports the Lord’s admonition, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (43.18-19; NRSV). Something new is coming! The psalm reflects gratitude for the past (“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed”) and a sense of hope and expectation for the future (“Those who sowed w

Sermon: A Truly Loving God

Sermon.03.31.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Joshua 5.9-12; psalm 32; 2 Corinthians 5.16-21; Luke 15.1-3, 11b-32 Today’s gospel reading is truly gospel, for it gives us a vision of a loving God who is always ready and waiting for our return. Yet much of Christendom, across the centuries, has preached and continues to preach a very different understanding of God. Consider these words from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” a sermon delivered by Jonathan Edwards, a Congregationalist minister in 1741: There is nothing that keeps wicked Men at any one Moment, out of Hell, but the meer Pleasure of GOD. By the meer Pleasure of God, I mean his sovereign Pleasure, his arbitrar

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