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Sermon: "Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World"

Sermon.07.26.20.Proper12A St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Genesis 29.15-28; Psalm 105.1-11, 45b; Romans 8.26-39; Matthew 13.31-33, 44-52 Today’s gospel reading omits verses 34 – 43. Actually, we covered verses 36 – 43 last week – Jesus’ interpretation of the parable of the weeds. But what about verses 34 – 35? What has been omitted? One reads, “Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: ‘I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world’” (NRSV). It may be a bit of an exaggeration to claim Jesus told the c

Sermon: "God’s Forbearance"

Sermon.07.19.20.Proper11A St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Genesis 28.10-19a; Psalm 139.1-11, 22-23; Romans 8.12-25; Matthew 13.24-30, 36-43 Last Sunday we focused on the Parable of the Sower. I quoted Barbara Brown Taylor’s interpretation: The focus is not on us and our shortfalls but on the generosity of our maker, the prolific sower who does not obsess about the condition of the fields, who is not stingy with the seed but who casts it everywhere, on good soil and bad, who is not cautious or judgmental or even very practical, but who seems willing to keep reaching into his seed bag for all eternity, covering the whole creation with the fertile seed of his truth. We further no

Sermon: "Sowing Profligately While Singing “Hallelujah”"

Sermon.07.12.20 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Genesis 25.19-34; Psalm 119.105-112; Romans 8.1-11; Matthew 13.1-9, 18-23 Last Sunday we considered Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11.28-30; NRSV). We noted this invitation is to be understood in a comparative sense – Jesus’ yoke is lighter than the yoke of the Law or the yoke rabbis or Pharisees would lay upon the people, for Jesus’ yoke is the yoke of love. We are to learn tha

Sermon: "My Yoke Is Gentle and My Burden is Light"

Sermon.07.05.20 St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Genesis 24.34-38, 42-4 9, 58-67; Psalm 45.11-18; Romans 7.15-25a; Matthew 11.16-19, 25-30 In the verses preceding today’s gospel reading, John the Baptist while imprisoned, having heard of Jesus teaching and activities, sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if he were the Messiah. As you may recall, Jesus did not give him a straightforward yes or no answer – he instructed his disciples to go and tell John what they heard and saw, how the blind see, “the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them” (Matthew 11.2-5; NRSV). Jesus then added, “Blessed is anyone who

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