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Sermon: "Carrying Our Cross"

Sermon.08.30.20.Proper17A St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Exodus 3.1-15; Psalm 105.1-6, 23-26, 45c; Romans 12.9-21; Matthew 16.21-28 Last Sunday we noted Jesus’ question addressed to the disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Upon hearing their answers, Jesus asked, “But who do you say that I am?” We noted Peter’s response, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus was pleased with Peter’s answer, for he said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Johan! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will g

Sermon: "Who Do You Say that I Am? Identity or Allegiance?"

Sermon.08.23.20.Proper16A St. Paul’s Episcopal – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Exodus 1.8 – 2.10; psalm 124; Romans 12.1-8; Matthew 16.13-20 Last Sunday we contrasted the offense taken by the scribes and Pharisees over the issue of washing one’s hands before eating with the faith of a Canaanite woman whose daughter was tormented by a demon. This Sunday we wrestle with questions concerning Jesus’ identity, but in retrospect, last Sunday’s sermon also raised questions concerning Jesus’ identity – is he someone with whom we take offense or someone in whom we have faith and place our trust? After his interaction with the Canaanite woman, Matthew recounts how Jesus cured many people such that the mute

Sermon: "Offence or Faith?"

Sermon.08.16.20.Proper15A St. Paul’s – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Genesis 45.1-15; Psalm 133; Romans 11.1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15:10-28 Today’s gospel sets forth an interesting contrast. In the first few verses of Matthew 15, the scribes and the Pharisees, the social elite of the Israelites, come to Jesus and ask: “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat?” (Matthew 15.1-2; NRSV). Jesus meets their question with a question: “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ But you say that whoe

Sermon: "Wrestling with God"

Sermon.08.02.20 St. Paul’s Episcopal Church – Brookings Fr. Larry Ort Genesis 32.22-31; Psalm 17,1-7, 16; Romans 9.1-5; Matthew 14.13-21 Over the past few Sundays, we have looked at several of Jesus’ parables. The parable of the sower reflects God’s profligate sowing of the word of the kingdom of heaven and love; the parable of the good seed and the bad seed reflects God’s forbearance; and the parables from last Sunday reflect different aspects of the nature of God’s kingdom. We also noted Jesus use of parables to introduce the kingdom of heaven in a way which confronted people with an existential decision – an either/or, willfully following the lies of the world or choosing to become part o

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