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Sermon: “Who Will You Imitate?”

Sermon.01.26.20 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Isaiah 9.1-4; Psalm 27.1, 4-13; 1 Corinthians 1.10-18; Matthew 4.12-23 Last Sunday we wrestled with the question Jesus addressed to two of John the Baptist’s disciples who were following Jesus: “What are you looking for?” We also noted Isaiah’s proclamation that God’s servant would be a light to the nations and John the Baptist’s testimony that “he came as a witness to testify to the light” for “the true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1.6-9; NRSV). This light is God’s manifestation, revelation, or appearance into our world in a new form – an epiphany. Remember Jesus’ words, “I am the light of t

Sermon: “What Are You Looking For?”

Sermon.01.19.20 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Isaiah 49.1-7; Psalm 40.1-12; 1 Corinthians 1.1-9; John 1.29-42 Our readings for today have a lot to say about light coming into the worlde! The reading from Isaiah fascinates me, for after reading “And the Lord said to me, ‘You are my servant Israel, in whom I will be glorified” we encounter words of dismay, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord, and my reward with my God” (Isaiah 49.3-4; NRSV). God might call us, might choose us and empower us, but that does not mean we will never experience feelings of inadequacy, futility and defeat! As I have previously

Sermon: “How Do You Experience the Voice of God?”

Sermon.01.12.20 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Isaiah 42.1-9; Psalm 29; Acts 10.34-43; Matthew 3.13-17 I always enjoy looking for connections among the lectionary readings. Today’s readings have two connections: the voice of the Lord upon the waters and the significance of righteousness. Let’s begin God’s voice upon the waters. The psalmist proclaims: “The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is upon the mighty waters” (Psalm 29.3; BCP). This may call to mind the Blessing Over the Water in the baptismal service: We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through it you led

Sermon: "Epiphany as Movement from Darkness to Light"

Sermon.01.05.20 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry V. Ort Jeremiah 31.7-14; Psalm 84; Ephesians 1.3-6, 15-19a; Matthew 2.13-15, 19-23 We have celebrated Christmas and the New Year! Considering recent events, I suspect that many of us are wondering what the New Year and the new decade will bring. In addition to climate change and the border situation, we have seen a significant increase in hate crimes directed toward Jewish, Muslim, and Latino communities. Last week a deranged person wounded five in a machete attack during a Hasidic service in Monsey, New York. Such attacks are fueled by extremist rhetoric from the Alt-right. Meanwhile, it becomes increasingly harder to distinguish b

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