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Christ Coming

Advent 1B-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Happy New Year! Drop the balloons. Shout hooray. Cue the music. Today is the start of the new year in worship. We move from the end to beginning again. Yet, somehow today feels less like a party. Like when you can’t pay the electric bill. We flip on the lights […]

Gospel Medicine

Christ the King Sunday Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago In a far-away land that “is somehow not so far away,” one night a truth fell from the stars. And as it fell, it broke into two pieces—one piece blazed off through the sky and the other fell straight to the ground. One day a man stumbled upon […]

God’s Wisdom in Foolish Times

Proper 27A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Intern Justin Perkins, preacher “Keep awake,” Christ tells us in Matthew’s Gospel. “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” How did those words sit with you this morning? Almost to the very moment Jesus speaks this phrase, it seems, religious authorities, in concert with the […]

Just Breathe

All Saints-A20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Ok breathe. Take a breath. Blessed are you, Jesus said. Beloved, remember each day begins in love. Jesus sermon on the mount seems tailor made for me this week, in these restless and fitful days of pandemic, social upheaval, and the looming presidential election. Blessed are you. Just breathe. The […]

There is a Storm Today

Proper 25A-20-Reformation Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago It’s Reformation Sunday 2020. The church is decked out in red. A Mighty Fortress is our featured hymn. But there is no timpani drum, no brass band, no trumpet this year. The church is mostly empty this morning. Like you, I’m at home, as is the lector, and assisting minister. […]

Come You That Are Thirsty Now

Proper 23A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “The Lord changed his mind” (Exodus 32:14). It might be the most surprising sentence in scripture. God changed his mind. God the all-knowing, the all-powerful, the eternal, flew off the handle. God decided to wipe out the children of Abraham and Sarah where they camped at the foot of Mt. […]

The View from Mt. Nebo

Proper 22A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago Mt. Sinai was wrapped in smoke. Thunder and lightning and a thick cloud covered the mountain. A blast of a trumpet so loud it made all the people tremble. (Exodus 19:16). The people were afraid and stood at a distance when God handed down the Ten Commandments to Moses. They […]

Say Yes. Live Yes

Proper 21A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago I said yes but I meant no. It was years ago at camp. Sky Ranch is a high-altitude Lutheran bible camp. In the mid-1970’s, the nearest pop machine was at the ranger station in Pingree Park, a mile and a half hike away. A kid named Evan asked me to […]

No Fair!

Proper 20A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago “So, the last will be first and the first last” (Matthew 20:16). These words of Jesus spark either outrage or rejoicing depending upon your place in line. I know I’ve had both reactions. From the end of the line, the back of the bus, the wrong side of the tracks, […]

Good News

Proper 18A-20 Immanuel Lutheran, Chicago God said to Moses, “…I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt…I am the Lord.” (Exodus 12:12) Whether or not the gospel sounds like good news depends on your point of view. It certainly did not […]