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Sermon: "Jesus Wants Us to Straighten Up"

Sermon.08.25.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Jeremiah1.4-10; Psalm 71.1-6; Hebrews 12.18-29; Luke 13.10-17 Have you ever noticed how biblical accounts of God’s call typically meet with objection? Think of Moses’ words: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt?” And again, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” And again: “But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you.’” And at last, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you ha

Sermon: "Peace, Not as the World Gives"

Sermon.08.18.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Jeremiah 23.23-29; Psalm 82; Hebrews 11.29-12.2; Luke 12.49-56 It strikes me that our gospel reading presents us with a contradiction. Let’s back up a bit and examine it. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matt. 5.9; NRSV) and “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also” (Matthew 5.38-39; NRSV). But in today’s gospel lesson, Jesus says, "I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled

Sermon: "Longing for the Things of God – Heavenly Treasure"

Sermon.08.11.19 St. Paul’s – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Genesis 15.1-6; Psalm 33.12-22; Hebrews 11.1-3, 8-16; Luke 12.32-40 Longing for the Things of God – Heavenly Treasure Our readings have a lot to say about fear, faith, and preparation as they relate to the promises of God. In Genesis 15, we read, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great” (Vs. 1; NRSV). God invited Abram outside, to look at the stars, and promised Abram his descendants would be as the number of the stars. Note that Abram “believed the Lord [trusted God, placed his faith in God]; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Vs. 6; NRSV). Nonetheless, Abram still had questions about th

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