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Sermon: “Longing for Hope”

Sermon.04.26.20 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Acts 2.14a, 36-41; Psalm 116.1-3, 10-17; 1 Peter 1.17-23; Luke 24.13-35 Last Sunday we focused on our longing for evidence. We considered Thomas’ assertion: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe” (John 20.25b; NRSV). I ended the sermon as follows, “Our quest for evidence, I believe, expresses something even more fundamental – a longing for hope. In these times, and in all times, let us be prepared to share the hope that is within us!” Considerable evidence suggests survival is imperiled in the absence of hope. Viktor Frankl, a Jewi

Sermon: “Longing for Evidence”

Sermon.04.19.20 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Acts 2.14a, 22-32; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1.3-9; John 20.19-31 Have you ever found yourself longing for evidence? I suspect most Christians long for the certainty which evidence provides. John Updike’s short story, Pigeon Feathers, provides a wonderful example of such yearning. David, a fourteen-year-old boy, is wrestling with matters of faith, the nature of the soul, and his own immortality. It is night-time -- dark. David has not yet dropped off to sleep. Updike writes: David prayed to be reassured. Though the experiment frightened him, he lifted his hands high into the darkness above his face and begged Christ to touch them. Not ha

Sermon: “A Study in Contrasts”

Sermon.04.05.20 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Matthew 21.1-11; Psalm 118.1-2, 19-29//Isaiah 50.4-9a; Psalm 31.9-16; Philippians 2.5-11; Matthew 26.14 – 27.66 Palm Sunday is a profound study in stark contrasts. The service begins with Jesus’ triumphal procession into Jerusalem. The crowds had spread their cloaks and palm branches on the road. “The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’” (Matthew 21.9; NRSV). In today’s terms, we would say the people rolled out the red carpet. Even so, many in Jerusalem did not recognized Jesus as King, fo

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