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Sermon: "Are You Hungry?"

Sermon.12.24.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Isaiah 9.2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2.11-14; Luke 2.1-20 We long for Christmas to be a joyful and a happy time, but for many of us it is not always so. Yes, we experience good times, but let’s face it, life is messy. Our good times are interspersed with broken relationships, disappointments, tragedy, sickness, death, divorce and grief. We carry these things into Christmas. For some of us, myself included, Christmas brings mixed feelings. Yes, I feel the sense of hope and joy, I love watching children joyously anticipate and celebrate Christmas, I recollect good times, but other painful memories come to mind. Many of us seek wholeness

Sermon: "Finding Beauty"

Sermon 12.22.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Isaiah 7.10-16; Psalm 80.1-7, 16-18; Romans 1.1-7; Matthew 1.18 In many respects, it has been an ugly week; we have watched two political parties vilify each other and have observed the impeachment of Donald Trump. We have heard the impeachment proceedings compared to Jesus’ trial and crucifixion and to the day of infamy which was Pearl Harbor. It is rare that political parties lack the ability to spin the narrative. One can only hope that all parties will commit to seeking truth and justice. Our reading from Isaiah confronts us with another tense political situation. King Pekah of Israel and King Rezin of Aram have set out to at

Sermon: "Lord, Give Me Patience! Now!"

Sermon.12.15.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Isaiah 35.1-10; Psalm 146.4-9; James 5.7-10; Matthew 11.2-11 In my younger days, my personality was far more type A. I was impatient. I wanted to be in control; I wanted things to happen on my schedule. If we were on a trip, I had the stops and the mileage all scheduled in my mind, and woe be it to anything that interfered. I was much like one of the two vultures sitting on a tree limb overlooking the desert. One turns to the other and says, “Patience my ass! I am going to kill something!” I recently read of people’s reaction when a transatlantic flight was delayed an hour. Many were upset; they knew they were going to miss their

Sermon: "Bear Fruit Worthy of Repentance"

Sermon.12.08.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Isaiah 11.1-10; Psalm 72.1-7, 18-19; Romans 15.4-13; Matthew 3.1-12 Matthew portrays John the Baptist as the return of Elijah who also wore clothing made of camel hair and ate honey and locusts. John must have been a fiery preacher, for people journeyed into the wilderness to hear what he had to say. He did not mince words: When the Pharisees and the Sadducees came seeking baptism, he said, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath which is to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3.7-8; NRSV). In calling them a brood of vipers, John recognized the Pharisees and the Sadducees as poisoning God’s communi

Sermon: “Living Lives of Holy Expectation"

Sermon.12.01.19 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Isaiah 2.1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13.11-14; Matthew 24.36-44 As a child, it seemed like Christmas would never come! Two of our aunts – school teachers --always asked what we wanted for Christmas. My three sisters and I would spend considerable time thinking about our list. We always knew we would never get everything on our Christmas list, so we had to choose carefully. We would usually receive our request, if it were reasonable, along with a good book. I passed my gift of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories on to my children and grandchildren. I still wish I had the four-engine metal airplane I received one Christmas. I have no idea

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