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Sermon: “Oh Lord, It’s Hard to Be Humble”

Sermon.10.27.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Joel 2.23-32; Psalm 65; 2 Timothy 4.6-8, 16-18; Luke 18.9-14 Parables possess power! Their punchline is meant to disrupt our comfortable world view, to change our perspective. So how does the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector speak to us? Luke tells us, “Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt” (Luke 18.9; NRSV). We do not know Jesus’ intended audience – it was, and it remains, a rather common practice to address one’s comments to one audience while fully intending them for another. Jesus may have told the parable to his disciples while knowi

Sermon: “Will Faith Be Found on Earth?”

Sermon.10.20.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Jeremiah 31.27-34; Palm 119.97-104; 2 Timothy 3.14-4.5; Luke 18.1-8 For the past several weeks, we have been accompanying Jesus and the apostles on their journey up to Jerusalem. As they have traveled, Jesus has continued to teach the apostles. I encourage you to, at some time, sit down with the gospel of Luke and read from this point on to the crucifixion while studying Jesus’ interaction with the apostles. In chapter 11, they asked Jesus to teach them to pray; in chapter 17 Jesus told them “occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come!” Jesus then told them they must be prepared to forgive the

Sermon: “Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude”

Sermon.10.13.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Jeremiah 29.1, 4-7; Psalm 66.1-11; 2 Timothy 2.8-15; Luke 17.11-19 How does one cultivate an attitude of gratitude? Most of us find ourselves in circumstances that do not readily promote an attitude of gratitude. If one is on a limited budget, it seems as if something is always happening to put further strain on one’s finances – sickness, car repairs, the traffic ticket you receive while hurrying to work when late, an unanticipated visit to the vet, etc. Midst of all these pressures, how does one cultivate a sense of gratitude? Today’s lectionary readings offer a few hints. A couple of weeks ago, we noticed how the Babylonian ca

Sermon: "Laments, Curses, Forgiveness, and Grace"

Sermon.10.06.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Lamentations 1.1-6; Psalm 137; 2 Timothy 1.1-14; Luke 17.5-10 Today’s lectionary readings cover the range of human experience and emotion. One could probably preach a whole series of sermons on these passages, but let’s attempt to see how these readings fit together and inform each other – let’s look for the big picture. Over the past few weeks our Old Testament readings have focused on Jeremiah – this week is no exception for Jeremiah is very likely the author of Lamentations. As you may recall, the Babylonians have invaded Israel and Judah; Jerusalem has been sacked – it lies in ruin and desolation. Lamentations 1.1-6 expresses

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